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Monday, February 3, 2014

"More Than An Inconvenience" - The Fear of Flying With Life-Threatening Peanut Allergies

I consider myself to be one of the LUCKY peanut allergy moms.  My son is anaphylactic to nuts by ingestion only.  So far.  And my family travels regularly, as I have been a flight attendant with Delta Air Lines for over 20+ years.  However, we don't leave home without benadryl or epipens for that 'just in case' time. 

For anyone living with airborne allergies, their day to day living stress can be understandably multiplied. FORGET about flying.  As an allergy mom and advocate, Amy Wicker, author of the Allergy Safe Travel website, has stepped up her focus on educating airlines in hopes of gaining increased clarity on their allergy policies.

On January 28, 2014, she met with nearly 30 airline officials to present More Than An Inconvenience.  This heartfelt, educational 5 minute video illuminates the difficulties and seriousness for those flying with severe peanut allergies.  Her goal is creating a SAFER travel environment for ALL.  

I don't know what the end result will be, but I commend her for her efforts in an area where others have given up.  I don't believe there is any way for airlines to ever guarantee a NUT-FREE flight.  Even if airlines themselves go NUT-FREE, the employees can not police what others bring on the planes and eat.  However, the more we can educate the public, airline personnel and fellow travelers, the safer travel can be for everyone.  

I completely understand the fear of flying 30,000 feet in the air with life-threatening allergies.  For those flying with food allergies, I have a few suggestions.

EDUCATE YOURSELF ON YOUR PREFERRED AIRLINE'S PEANUT ALLERGY POLICY.  Make a copy and carry it with you when flying.  

Delta Air Lines Peanut Policy from S.A.F.E.
Delta Air Lines - Scroll down to 'special concerns', and then 'peanut allergies'.

Peanut Allergies - Effective on flights operating June 1, 2012 and beyond, when you notify us that you have a peanut allergy, we’ll refrain from serving peanuts and peanut products onboard your flight. We'll also advise cabin service to board additional non-peanut snacks, which will allow our flight attendants to serve these snack items to everyone within this area. Gate agents will be notified in case you'd like to pre-board and cleanse the immediate seating area. We'll do everything we can, but unfortunately we still can't guarantee that the flight will be completely peanut-free.

BE PREPARED AND BE PRO-ACTIVE - Flying with Dietary Restriction Tips

BE AN ADVOCATE - This video can impact many, not JUST the airlines.  It's a great educational tool for teachers, nurses, community centers... there are endless opportunities for learning here.  

Do your part to share this video with anyone you know.

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