1. Travel
Send to a Friend via Email

Discuss in my forum

Can You Find a Nut-Free Flight?

By

Question: Can You Find a Nut-Free Flight?
Answer:

Probably not. While airlines recognize that nut allergies are a serious, sometimes life-threatening medical problem, they are typically unwilling to assume the risk associated with guaranteeing that their flights are nut-free, even if no nuts are served during flights. The reason? First, airlines do not want to investigate every source of in-flight food to make sure that nut oils and pieces are not mentioned on ingredient lists. Second, and more importantly, screening every passenger for nut dust and nut products would be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming. Thus, the burden of dealing with potential allergic reactions falls on the individual passenger.

Flying With Nut Allergies

Many allergy experts suggest flying first thing in the morning if at all possible. In today's hectic air travel world, most airplanes are only cleaned once daily, typically at the end of the day. Flying early increases the chances that you'll be sitting in a freshly-cleaned airplane.

If you have a nut allergy, contact your airline and ask if a buffer zone can be established around your seat. Several U.S. air carriers offer the option of a buffer zone of three rows of seats in front of you and three rows behind, and they will serve nut-free snacks inside this buffer zone. Giving your airline plenty of advance notice will help ensure that enough nut-free snacks are loaded on your flight.

Be sure to bring along emergency medical supplies so that you can deal with an allergic reaction. If your nut allergy routinely provokes extreme, life-threatening reactions, you may wish to consider alternative modes of transportation rather than face the possibility of a medical emergency at 30,000 feet.

Airline-Specific Nut Allergy Information

As of November 2009, the following North American airlines have placed nut allergy information on their websites:

  • American Airlines does not serve nuts, but will not guarantee a nut-free flight. American does not provide information about nut-free buffer zones on its website.


  • Air Canada does not serve nuts, but will not guarantee a nut-free flight. Air Canada does not provide information about nut-free buffer zones on its website.


  • Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air do not provide information about their snacks. They will not guarantee a nut-free flight. Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air do not provide information about nut-free buffer zones on their websites.


  • AirTran Airways does not provide any information on nut allergy policies on its website.


  • Continental Airlines does not serve nuts in-flight, but will not guarantee a nut-free flight. Continental does not provide information about nut-free buffer zones on its website.


  • Delta Air Lines will not serve peanuts or peanut products on your flight, provided you notify the airline in advance. According to Delta's website, you can also ask to pre-board so that you can clean your seat before the flight.


  • JetBlue does not serve nuts, but will not guarantee a nut-free flight. JetBlue does not offer any buffer zone information on its website, but does say that you can request an in-flight announcement about your allergy.


  • Southwest will load nut-free snacks for your flight if you notify them in advance. You will need to check in at least one hour before your departure time. Southwest cannot guarantee a nut-free flight and does not offer information about buffer zones on its website.


  • United Airlines does not serve nuts, but cannot guarantee a nut-free flight. United does not offer any information about buffer zones on its website.


  • US Airways serves nuts and will not guarantee a nut-free flight. The airline does not offer buffer zone information on its website.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.