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Traveling with a peanut allergy

New Arrival

I'm severely allergic to peanuts but I love SWA! What can I do to make sure it's safe to fly? Any tips?

11 REPLIES 11
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Re: Traveling with a peanut allergy

Active Member

When booking your flight, please book by phone and advise the customer service agent of your peanut allergy. There are specific procedures set in place to make the flight enjoyable for everyone, but it is important to inform the customer service agent while booking so they are given enough time in advance to accomodate you.

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Re: Traveling with a peanut allergy

Retired Community Manager
Solution

Hi FlyGirl,

 

Thank you for bringing your question to the Community. We want every Customer to have a safe and enjoyable flight. Because it is nearly impossible for those who have an allergy to peanut dust to avoid triggering a reaction if peanut dust is in the air, Southwest Airlines is unable to guarantee a peanut-free or allergen-free flight.

 

We do have procedures in place to assist our Customers with severe allergies to peanut dust and will make every attempt not to serve packaged peanuts on the aircraft when our Customers alert us of their allergy to peanut dust.

 

For more information about your options when traveling with a peanut dust allergy, click here

 

Lindsey

Community Moderator

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Re: Traveling with a peanut allergy

New Arrival

Lindsay,

 

I am replying to your response since you are an employee of SWA. I found out last year that I have a peanut allergy and have flow my flights this year as a passenger with a peanut allergy. I was surprised, however, at the low level of attempts to accomodate and even pushback I have gotten from flight attendants. I think that the company needs to address this issue and heighten their protocol.

 

What I am requesting is that it be announced that there is a passanger with a peanut allergy if people could attempt to refrain from consuming/opening any. "This is a peanut free flight, if you could please refrain from opening any for the duration of the flight." I have actually had this statement made on previous SWA flights, which is why I was so surprised to find out it wasn't protocol.

 

On the first flight I took it was never announced, and I could tell someone had been eating peanuts around me because I started to get itchy and rashy, which are my first unset symptoms. To avoid this, on the second flight I requested that they make an announcement.  The flight attendant with an attitude stated "Just so you know, I don't have to do this."  I understand and know now that it is not normal procedure, but when I'm requesting your assistance so I don't have an awful reaction on your flight where my life is in your hands, and all I'm asking is for you to make a quick announcement (Not even enforce! I'm not saying tell people they can't have it or to put it away if they bring it out a personal item, but to request that they kindly refrain from such products at the beginning of the flight) I shouldn't be met with rudeness and lack of courtesy. I genuinely believe most passengers would oblidge. And flights experiences for people with peanut allergies could easily be made better.

 

Allergies are a very personal experience. I personally have 8 food related ones, of which only peanuts is one of the "Big 8". I cannot eat any of the snacks you passout or drink your juices, all of which is fine and my allergies to deal with throughout my life. Every person is different, with their allergens and reactions. I think your policy shows a disconnect with the allergen community.  If better awareness could be accomplished I'm sure it would be greatly appreciated. If I need to share this in another forum please let me know.

 

Thank you

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Re: Traveling with a peanut allergy

New Arrival


 

"Allergies are a very personal experience. I personally have 8 food related ones, of which only peanuts is one of the "Big 8". I cannot eat any of the snacks you passout or drink your juices, all of which is fine and my allergies to deal with throughout my life. Every person is different, with their allergens and reactions. I think your policy shows a disconnect with the allergen community.  If better awareness could be accomplished I'm sure it would be greatly appreciated. If I need to share this in another forum please let me know."

 

Thank you

 

The "Allergen Community?" A lot of people have allergies to different things. Part of living with it is preparing oneself ahead of time. Not everything in life can be controlled.  My brother has been allergic to bees since childhood. Years of shots weekly did not render him immune.  He carries an EpiPen at all times. Bees are everywhere. No, they are generally not in the closed quarters of a fuselage for a flight of several hours, but they are a risk. Other people have shellfish allergies. Or Celiac disease. Southwest does attempt to accomodate people but there are only so many measures that can be taken.  If someone is the exception to the rule, then they should not expect everyone else to conform to their needs- they need to take measures proactively.


 

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Re: Traveling with a peanut allergy

New Arrival

As the parent of a child with a deadly peanut allergy, I don't agree with what you are saying.  Yes, allergies are a "real world" problem, and my son, your brother, and millions of other people with severe allergies have to live each day protecting themselves from allergens that, quite literally, could end their lives.  If your brother is stung or someone eats shellfish or my son eats even the smallest trace of peanut or peanut butter, they could die.  People with celiac disease or less severe allergic reactions, while still dangerous for their health, do not worry about having immediate, fatal, anaphylactic reactions, nor do they experience a reaction unless they actually ingest gluten.

 

My issue with your argument and Southwest's policy is not that the airplane can or should be peanut-free.  I wouldn't ask them to try to ban all peanut products from coming on, because that's just not realisitic (I would argue, however, that if a few bees were knowingly let loose on an airplane with your brother, he, you and a lot of other people would have a problem with this).  Our issue is why does Southwest have to serve peanuts in the first place?  Pretzels are always an option when we tell them we can't have peanuts, so why  not just default to pretzels or some other snack in the first place.  They aren't handing out shrimp (which is a severe allergen for many people), so why hand out peanuts?  It isn't the only food that can be served, and there are other options that are less dangerous for most people.  Yes, people have celiac and can't eat pretzels, but people with Celiac also cannot become ill by smelling gluten and/or having pretzel dust flying around or on a seat.  People with peanut allergies can, and by serving peanuts, Southwest is not only risking a legal problem, but more importantly, they are knowingly putting people at risk just by serving peanuts on their flights.

 

This discussion easily could be a non-issue if another inexpensive snack were served.  Why peanuts??

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Re: Traveling with a peanut allergy

New Arrival

Chicago Midway to Minneapolis, Flight 1690 on May 25. . Waited at gate 2 hrs. Then family of 5 with 3 small children arrive claiming disability due to peanut allergy and moves to the front of the line. The southwest agent at the gate rudely told my 85 year old partially blind mother in law with an artificial knee to wait her turn. Not an isolated incident with the Midway staff. 

The question I have is: does a peanut allergy truly constitute a disability?

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Re: Traveling with a peanut allergy

New Arrival

I agree.   Few people appreciate the severity of the peanut dust allergy.   On our last trip we have been met with a condescending tone when the peanut dust allergy is mentioned.  

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Re: Traveling with a peanut allergy

Active Member

This is a big problem that SWA needs to address- even more of an issue than me with pet allergies- all those bogus emotional support animals are OUT OF CONTROL- I have to carry a Doctor prescription with me to make sure I can be safe in a plane- how crazy is that!

 

if you have a severe peanut allergy, you really can't risk flying SWA I don't think.

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Re: Traveling with a peanut allergy

New Arrival

If you don't have an Epipen or two, you should.  Failure to have one can be just as deadly as being bitten by a cobra or a coral snake.  I would be surprised if assistanting a passenger with their Rx medication is probably part of their training.  Please correct me if I'm wrong, someone.    I had an unknown trigger to my allergic asthma while I was in Indianapolis three years ago.  My lungs were never right while I was there and got worse as I got home in Henderson NV; home airport is LAS.  The nebulizer meds were not working and my Sp02 was hitting the danger zone of below 80% where organs start shutting down to preserve brain function.   I called 911 and ended up in the ER at a Henderson hospital.  I've been to Indinapolis before so it was nothing new.  Fortunately Henderson Fire Department keeps the actual medication in Epipens on their rig.  My Sp02 was back to 90% by the time the ER doctor got to me.

 

After that episode my allergist put me on Xolair.  This suppresses the body's IgE response to allergens.  This may be something you may wish to discuss with your medical provider team with.  It may make you more tolerant to peanuts.  I have to get Xolair shots every two weeks.  My lungs are probably the healthiest they've been in years and I have COPD (bronchiectasis) on top of my allergic asthma.  There's a blood test to see if you're a candidate for Xolair.  If your doctor or specialist doesn't know what Xolair is and how to get it authorized through your health insurance carrier, IMO, time to get new medical providers.  The drawback to Xolair is the medicine has to be mixed and it has to be administered at a treatment center that administers IV medications if it can't be done at your medical provider's or specialist's office.