Flying with anaphylaxis? You must be Nuts!


Its holiday time again for most of us, when travelling is at the forethought of our minds.  When many people travel all they need to worry about is packing a case and booking a seat.

When I  go away I have to check out the hotels, and request extra baggage to enable us to take additional food items (gluten and dairy free) which cannot be purchased in the area we are staying in. Fortunately we are not allergic, but for those people who suffer extreme allergic reactions to peanuts and tree nuts (anaphylaxis)  the anxiety of travelling can be very stressful.

This morning I came across a social media post in regard to a passenger travelling on a flight  and although the lady had done her research before flying it seems that policies can to change dependent on who you speak with, staff and their knowledge of company policy, and the updates which are distributed.

Sat on a flight waiting to take off. Steward has just told me that new nut guidelines are now in (she saw the memo for the first time today). Apparently if someone insists on buying peanuts then they HAVE legally to sell them. They were very apologetic and said didn’t understand the new rules. They said they will still make an announcement asking people not to eat them

Below is the Airline’s online policy.

nuts monarch

So should airlines be able to ban travellers from eating specific foods? Is it a passengers right to eat peanuts or nuts during a flight?

Last year MP Ian Paisley Jnr debated in the House of Commons to call for the government to act to force airlines to issue standardised warnings on all domestic flights and those arriving and leaving Britain. Ian conducted a report on 36 air carriers that fly to the United Kingdom and their policies on food allergies and announcements. Was there one consistent approach? No, there were 36 different approaches. To be fair, some airlines are doing their best, but a consistent, universal approach would actually be welcomed by the airlines as a beneficial starting point.

In an article from the Daily mail it was stated ‘Due to concerns over allergies, many airlines have long since stopped serving packets of peanuts on board. These include United, EasyJet, British Airways and even American Airlines’ (although some airline still serve tree nuts!) Even so it still seems there is no real clarity as to what the stance is with many airlines and it can be just dependent on the staff on board on the day!

British Airway’s Policy

‘When boarding the aircraft you must inform Cabin Crew of your severe peanut or tree nut allergy. If you request it, Cabin Crew will make an announcement so that other passengers are aware of your allergy. Cabin Crew will also suspend the serving of loose nut snacks in your cabin of travel’

Easy Jet’s Policy

It would seem that Easy Jet have a stringent policy another post stated

Just arrived home yesterday on Easy Jet flight who actually confiscated a family’s Nutella which they had brought on and opened despite the announcement. Air steward binned it in a sealed bag!’

  • This will notify our cabin crew in advance of your flight however PLEASE NOTE that this is not a substitute for also informing the cabin manager once you come on board.
    Please be aware that we do sell peanut products on board, so if you do suffer from anaphylaxis, please notify the cabin crew when boarding the flight.
  • We will do all we can to help you by making announcements and stopping the sale of nut products on board however we cannot guarantee a 100% nut free environment.

Airlines on their safety rules state ‘any passenger who puts another passenger or crew member at risk can be arrested that would be putting another passenger at risk!!’ Should this statement be taken literally and be used for to cover anaphylaxis?

So when you get on your next flight and hear the announcement ‘not to open or eat any nut products’ during your flight – don’t roll your eyes or sigh! But think about how you would feel if it was your child, partner, relative, would you put them at risk? Nuts are not a human right they are a food item which can be eaten at another time!

Have a safe and relaxing holiday, and keep everyone safe!

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