Every family loves to take vacations in the summer. Whether your destination of choice is the beach, the mountains, or Disneyland, it’s probably a pretty safe bet that your family is gearing up for a little traveling this year. Not all vacation destinations are accessible by car, though--often, an airplane ticket is required to get to where you really want to go. For most families, flying isn’t a problem. But for families who have to deal with food allergies, attempting to fly somewhere on vacation creates a whole host of problems that people without allergies have never considered. Here are the three things you need to know about flying with food allergies.
1. It’s harder than you think.
Food allergies shouldn’t stop a child from taking a vacation to Disney--yet, all too often, they do. Consider the story of Luca Ingrassia, a 10-year-old who “suffered a near-fatal allergy attack after consuming one cashew on an airplane.” Yahoo News reports Ingrassia experiencing anaphylaxis (a severely dangerous allergic reaction) after eating a cashew. Thanks to quick-thinking fellow passengers, Ingrassia survived, but his mother criticized American Airlines for not having any Epi-pens in their medical kit and for refusing to remove nuts from the snack menu on the Ingrassia family’s connecting flight (the manager told Ms. Ingrassia not serving nuts would be an “infringement on the rights of other passengers”).
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident--reports of people having allergic reactions on airplanes and not receiving necessary assistance are becoming all too common. Why is it so difficult for people with food allergies to fly? First of all, nuts are a common snack served by multiple airlines. Second, many of these airlines have refused to stop serving nuts and refused to make an announcement telling other passengers to be aware when someone with a nut allergy is on the plane. There are many documented cases of airlines not understanding the importance of a food allergy and, furthermore, not trying to understand. In many cases, it seems people with food allergies are being bullied by airlines.
This leads people with food allergies to spend extensive time preparing before they ever get to the airport. They follow steps such as reading the allergy policies of various airlines, researching what snacks are served by specific airlines, and notifying airline personnel that someone with an allergy will be on board. Some families even specifically book very early morning flights; since many airplanes are cleaned at the end of the day, booking an early flight will help lessen the chance of encountering dangerous crumbs.
With all of these obstacles, it’s no wonder people with food allergies are hesitant to fly. But there are solutions, and that’s what we’re going to discuss next.
2. Southwest Airlines can help.
Southwest Airlines has a better track record than most airlines when it comes to helping passengers with allergies. Although Southwest makes a disclaimer up front, they can’t completely guarantee an allergen-free flight because peanut dust could still be in the air. But Southwest is willing to work with their customers to create an environment that is as safe as possible, and they have many procedures in place that other airlines do not.
For instance, according to Southwest’s website, customers can “proactively notify Southwest Airlines of any specific disability-related needs during and after booking on Southwest.com.” Furthermore, passengers with peanut allergies are asked to come to the gate an hour before boarding and request a “peanut dust allergy form.” Once filled out, this form will be handed off to a flight attendant, and Southwest will remove all peanut snacks from circulation during the flight. Unlike American Airlines (remember Luca Ingrassia’s story?), Southwest even makes provision for connecting flights. Notify the agent you have a connecting flight, and you will be given two peanut allergy forms, one for each flight.
Of course, this system isn’t completely perfect; Southwest can’t stop other passengers from bringing peanuts on board, and they can’t magically dissolve all the peanut dust in the air. And for someone who is allergic to a food other than peanuts, such meticulous procedures may not be in place. But Southwest certainly strives to provide a safer environment than the majority of other airlines.
3. Our snack bites are the perfect carry-on.
Families with food allergies have become used to taking their own snacks on board the plane--but often, these snacks are bland and boring. Googling a list of safe and portable snacks brings up examples such as fruits, vegetables, and plain noodles. If you have kids, you know they won’t be especially excited about these options.
Our snack bites are ideal plane snacks for three reasons: first of all, they’re safe. Our natural ingredients are guaranteed to never have allergen traces. We know an airplane is just about the worst place to try something new and find out you’re allergic, but when you take Forgetful Chef snacks with you, you don’t have to worry--they’re safe and packed with nutrients.
Our snack bites are also portable. They can slip into a pocket or backpack and be carried on-flight for easy access whenever you get hungry. Many people with food allergies think it’s too much of a hassle to pack their own safe food from home, so they simply go hungry on board the plane--but this isn’t a good solution either. Forgetful Chef snack bites are easy to grab-and-go. And if you’re trying to save time by not checking any bags, no problem--our snack bites can fit in your carry-on.
And finally, our snack bites are delicious--which is the component missing in most safe airplane snacks. Forgetful Chef snacks come in flavors such as chocolate blueberry, raspberry chia, and cran-orange. They’re so delicious, they could even help you make friends on board--so bring some extras to share with seatmates! With Forgetful Chef snack bites, you’ll never again have to worry about being safe on flights--because you know we’ve got your back.