June 2nd, 2010
02:52 PM ET

Peanuts may be banned on planes

By Elizabeth Landau
CNN.com Health Writer/Producer

Here's some news for anyone who suffers from peanut allergies, and for parents of allergic children: The Department of Transportation is considering taking action to make airplanes more accessible to people allergic to peanuts.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) says it is considering the following options:

"1) banning the serving of peanuts and
all peanut products by both U.S. and international carriers on flights covered by DOT’s disability rule;
2) banning the serving of peanuts and all peanut products on all such flights where a passenger with a peanut allergy is on board and has requested a peanut-free flight in advance; or
3) requiring a peanut-free buffer zone in the immediate area of a passenger with a medically documented severe allergy to peanuts if passenger has requested a peanut-free flight in advance."

These considerations are open for public comment at regulationroom.org. They are part of a larger set of proposals concerning airline passenger protections. Read more here

Already certain carriers, such as US Airways and Air Tran, have chosen to be peanut-free, and others such as Delta will create a buffer zone of several rows around the allergic passenger in which peanuts are not served. But there are plenty of carriers that serve peanuts freely, and do not have such policies.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

soundoff (307 Responses)
  1. Sike4444

    According to Wikipedia and several other sources: "In America, about 100 people per year die from peanut allergies."
    I think we have blown this WAY out of proportion. 100 people die from this? Can't we worry about something else?
    Sick and tired of everything being "banned" from this country. Surprised the ACLU hasn't gotten involved in this and is demanding the removal of nuts everywhere because it violates someones rights. All this crap is costing us time and money and it pointless. If someone is that allergic then nothing will ultimately stop them from coming into contact with peanuts, parts of peanuts, oil from peanuts, smell of peanuts or god forbid...peanut oil on the hand of someone they touch.

    June 3, 2010 at 19:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jim

      "Wikipedia" is not a "source" - puh-leeez!

      April 21, 2011 at 03:19 | Report abuse |
    • Nigel McKenna

      Because now we have 1 out of every 10 children have a peanut allergy. Do not fly Delta if you have a disability/peanut allergy. They only willing to create a buffer zone of three rows, not willing to serve nut-free snacks. No choice but to book alternative flight rather than face medical emergency at 30,000 feet.

      June 16, 2011 at 17:07 | Report abuse |
  2. pdxskywalker

    Peanut allergy is not just any other allergies that cause minor skin rashes or nasal congestion. It could be fatal!
    It causes anaphylaxis which constricts airways, swelling of your throat that makes it difficult to breathe, loss of consciousness.
    The patients don't even need to have physical contact w/ peanuts to show the symtoms. My 5 year old nephew had a few trips to ER becauase someone across the table was eating peanut sandwich and used a silverware that had been served w/ peanuts and not cleaned thoroughly. He could have been suffocated.

    June 3, 2010 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Corvus1

    All these people howling about having their peanuts taken away must have been spoiled little demons as children. I can't think of any other reason for someone to think their "right" to eat nuts on a flight is more important than someone else's right to live.

    June 3, 2010 at 22:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. HI

    Seriously people you cant sacrifice a couple hours of not eating peanuts to make sure someones life isnt in danger!!!!! Stop being so selfish!!

    June 3, 2010 at 22:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Lexx

    Simple solution: Why not have allergic people wear filtered masks? Same for anyone exhibiting signs of a cold/flu.

    June 3, 2010 at 22:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Yael

    Yes, the peanut protein can go airborne. To the doubtful person that posted that comment below -please check your facts. My child's allergy is airborne too. What you breathe in goes in your blood stream. duh! Ever heard the term "traces of"? When peanuts are roasted, the protein attaches it self to the inside of the shell. It's called peanut dust. It is on most peanut products and in most peanut items, cookies, granola... If you think of 100 bags opening at once in an airplane cabin -where do you think that strong smell comes from? My daughter can suffocate in 5 minutes from airborne peanuts. I hope D.O.T. does take this seriously. Not all allergies are created equal but in my child's case she does have a Disability and is protected at her school with the Federal Disability Code #504. 4% of kids under the age of 10 have the same allergy. Can we hold the nuts until there is a vaccine or cure? In the meantime please try to understand somethings going on in our environment and deadly allergies are rising every year.

    June 3, 2010 at 23:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Question for "Lou"

    So planes are not public property? Can't anyone not on the "no fly list" purchase a ticket?

    "Do you call ahead to the restaurant and tell them don't cook with peanuts today because you will be dining? Get over yourself." Yah with two kids and a wife with the Peanut allergy you bet I do-its cheaper than the emergency room.

    BTW, I also liked the guy who quoted star trek "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few". You should move out of your parents basement!

    June 3, 2010 at 23:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Peanut allergy child

    Seriously – some of the comments make me sick. Those who have NO compassion for people/children with a deadly peanut allergy are the most insensitive people. So by being allergic to wool and the smell of perfume make you break out in hives all over and then shortly after close up your throat to where you turn blue and can't breathe? Ummmm doubt it. It amazes me that people who have no idea on how deadly this is, take it so lightly.

    Before my child had a reaction and was diagnosed with a peanut allergy, I was kind of insensitive like "oh, that's really too bad for you to have a child like that." But it happened to my son and made me think twice about how this is affecting my child for the rest of his life. It was very humbling. My child has a very severe peanut allergy and I take every precaution (epi pen(s) at all times, benadryl, etc) to make sure he does not have a reaction. But being 30,000 feet above ground if your child has a deadly reaction is a parents worst nightmare. It's a little different than being in a car or bus where there is open space (not confined on a plane) and can get to a hospital in 5-10 minutes. As parents to an allergy child you DO everything possible to keep them safe and if that means telling the airline to make an announcement then do it. Even tell them before hand that you have a child that's highly allergic to peanuts. I understand they can't prevent people from bringing peanut/nuts onboard but if they make an announcement there is a severely allergic child on the plane you would hope, the other people on the plane would have a little compassion and not eat their peanuts for 3+ hours.\

    Not sure why the peanut allergy is booming all of the sudden but it is and we do have to deal with it. For those that want to increase your knowledge about peanut allergy, please see visit those websites that have been posted. You might think a little differently.

    June 4, 2010 at 00:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. JT

    A lot of people are saying "why should a whole flight sacrifice there luxury for one person's allergy"? I dont think anybody is going to die from lack of peanuts so why even risk threatening someone elses safety for your own cravings? Its just selfish to even tell somebody else to "suck it up" or "grow up" because everybody has a right to a safe and comfortable means of transportation and by not serving peanuts, this can insure that those with those kinds of food allergy's can be at ease.

    June 4, 2010 at 06:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Heather

    Wow, there are a lot of mean people out there, telling others that they should deal with their allergies, stay at home, take another form of transport (Amtrak is hardly an option for most people in this country), etc. It's cruel, really, that we're not more caring about others.

    June 4, 2010 at 07:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. MLO

    Ditto to objection to Nancy's life altering emergency. As a cancer survivor, I'm subject to second hand smoke routinely. Am I whining? No, I deal and try to avoid it. I don't except any special accommodation or federal regulation. Take a bus. Stay at home. Take on global warming or something that affects everyone and not just you. You and your son must acclimate to life, not the other way around. Keep the kid off the plane or small spaces where you consider it life threatening.

    June 4, 2010 at 08:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Erik

    Take responsibility for your personal condition. Wear a surgical mask and politely ask for concessions on a case-by-case basis where required.

    Demanding that everyone else concede to your personal needs is selfish and annoying to everyone else. This is a problem with American society in general. Just because you want something a certain way does not mean you deserve something a certain way.

    June 4, 2010 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Corvus1

    Wow. God forbid you peanut chompers take time out from shoveling your oh-so-precious snacks into your flabby, gaping maws and think about someone else for a change.

    June 4, 2010 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Karen Saucedo

    Yael, "Can we hold the nuts until there's a vaccine or a cure?"
    I'll respond to that: No. We can't. We cannot put life on hold for a small minority of people. There are small groups about everything imaginable. If we put something on hold for one, we must do the same for the next group. Might I remind you that cancer kills hundreds of thousands each year and we know that chemicals are among the causes and yet we still use pesticides, cleaning products, plastics, and fuel, most, if not all, ultimately tied to petroleum. There is not going to be a hold on petroleum. So, I'll have my peanuts, thank you.

    June 4, 2010 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Scott

    There have been a lot of comments similar to:

    – "by not serving peanuts, this can insure that those with those kinds of food allergy's can be at ease."

    – "God forbid you peanut chompers take time out from shoveling your oh-so-precious snacks into your flabby, gaping maws and think about someone else for a change."

    I think this is misreading the intent of those who are being considered "anti-allergy sufferers."

    I don't think that there is a single person here that would care about a peanut one way or the other if they stepped on a flight and it was announced that there was someone with a life-threatening allergy on-board and that no one should eat/open any form of peanuts (including candy bars, trail mix, etc.). For that one time flight, the rest of the passengers would gladly "suck it up".

    The point is that an outright ban for what impacts a very small number of people is asking every other passenger to "suck it up" every single flight. That's inconceivable. It has nothing to do with the snacks themselves, but instead with the idea of imposing a ban that serves no puprose the majority of the time.

    I'd actually be in favor of airlines choosing not to serve peanuts on their own, but that only minimizes risk and does not eliminate it.

    As such, if it's truly that dangerous to fly, then perhaps that's not the best option, even if it would be the most convenient.

    June 4, 2010 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Love Victorious

    Peanut allergy is among the most severe, and it generally persists into adulthood, along with shellfish allergies. Other allergies are less common in adulthood. This is not about crazy kids and parents. It is about a changing disease landscape that we do not yet fully understand. Just because you aren’t allergic now does not mean that you might not suffer an anaphylactic reaction later. The first reaction is always unexpected. It has come to the point that peanuts just do not belong in public places. They certainly do not belong in mid-air in a closed cabin flying over an ocean, where help could never be within reach.

    Really, how hard is it for you critics to get off your ideological horses and just eat something else, to preserve someone’s life? A little civic-mindedness, here, please!

    June 4, 2010 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Lynne

    Those of you claiming that allergies other than peanut allergies are not deadly, or "not as deadly" or are otherwise not in the same category in terms of seriousness are only weakening your own case, you know. Making false claims like that is giving your opponents extra ammunition. Peanut allergies are not the only ones that cause anaphylaxis, and they are certainly not the only allergies on record that have killed people.

    Taking the next step and brushing off other people's descriptions of their non-peanut allergies gives you the appearance of exactly the kind of over-dramatizing center-of-the-universe self-absorbed sort that those opponents initially suspected you of being. If you don't take them seriously, when you know all too well what anaphylactic allergies do, how can you possibly expect to be taken seriously by someone whose only experience of allergies is their co-worker's seasonal hay-fever?

    June 4, 2010 at 15:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Corvus1

    "I don't think that there is a single person here that would care about a peanut one way or the other if they stepped on a flight and it was announced that there was someone with a life-threatening allergy on-board and that no one should eat/open any form of peanuts (including candy bars, trail mix, etc.)."

    Then you're not reading all the comments on here.

    If airlines ban peanuts it's an inconvenience for the rest of us and nothing more. If they don't, it's a matter of life and death for some. And I don't believe in the "majority rules" mentality that some are expressing. Every life is precious, not just those of the majority.

    June 4, 2010 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. kija594

    You people are seriously retarded. If you haven't noticed the pretzels and biscoff cookies also have labels on the back of the bags stating they were manufactured in a factory that produces peanuts. Why don't we ban all food on a airplane because someone might be allergic to something in the food. If you can't eat peanuts, why should I be affected by you. As a pilot, I would eat 10-15 packets of peanuts a day with a coke when I was flying the airplane on a 16 hour duty day with 7-10 flights on reduced rest as my only meal because we don't get any breaks. But, now all I get is stale pretzels because of you. Why don't you do something and support the changes in the duty day requirements for pilots. That is a real safety problem, not peanuts. The FAA just did a study and found that 70-80 percent of pilots fly fatigued because of these antiquated laws, (written in the 1930s) that still govern our duty day and rest requirements. If you are truly concened with safety on airplanes you should focus on the laws that govern the safety of those flying your aircraft instead of worring about peanuts.

    June 4, 2010 at 21:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Cori

    I have that peanut allergy. I am also allergic to all other nuts, legumes like soy–I so look forward to menopause without the option of soy–and I have a sensitivity to wheat, sesame seeds, cats, dogs, grasses, the list is quite long. My worst allergy is to peanuts. If I could get on a plane and know that I would get off it and be healthy, it would make my life much easier. I don't really stress my allergy to restaurants...I avoid asian food, indian foods, the home of the Whopper...etc. These things I can do. I cannot always drive (as some of you suggest) to my destination, for, like you, I have limited time off from work, and cannot take up the majority on travel when I'd like to visit. I do premedicate with benadryl. I haven't had to use an epi pen, but I suspect one day I shall, since every accidental exposure has been worse than the last. It just buys time till you get to the ER. Which, by-the-way, would require an emergency landing, and a whole lot of inconvenience to the whole cabin. I wish people would be a little compassionate. It is not a hardship to go without eating for an hour or two...but then, most of you eating your peanuts cannot go without going to the bathroom for an hour's flight, either, another mystery to me.

    June 4, 2010 at 21:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. momtoallergicchild

    We have a daughter who is HIGHLY allergic to peanuts. Within seconds of consuming, she is having trouble breathing. I think it would be a very wise choice given how many people are allergic to peanuts. Personally, some of the comments left on this article have given me chills. The general public does not understand HOW life threatening something as small as a PEANUT can be to someone. If you saw a child (or adult) have a true reaction to one, you would change your mind. It is VERY SCARY. And what if it were YOUR child?

    June 5, 2010 at 13:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Andrea

    Clearly few people who read this article have had to hold their one-year old child in their arms racing toward the hospital while the paramedics try to keep his airways open. This is not a matter of getting the sniffles, or wheezing a bit, or even a stomach upset. This is deathly serious. And yet so many people are willing to risk the life of my child. Personally, if I thought that my behavior might be the direct cause of someone's child going into anaphylactic shock and dying, I would have the sense and compassion to change my behavior.

    This is no different to installing ramps for people in wheelchairs. It is an accommodation to make sure that people with a disability can function in society. I don't believe there is anyone who would suffer trauma from not being able to eat peanuts for a few hours. Would you really want to risk my kid's life for that privilege?

    The medical reality is that some people are extremely allergic to peanut protein. When 200 people in a flying tube open packets of peanuts at the same time, these proteins fly into the air and are recirculated in the A/C system. It's also worth noting that if anyone has a reaction that requires use of an epi-pen, that airplane WILL have to divert to the nearest airport to get medical attention for the passenger. I'm guessing that will upset a few people who actually want to get somewhere.

    June 6, 2010 at 21:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Christie

    My oldest son has a peanut allergy. When we flew we chose AirTran because they don't serve nuts but rather cookies. We flew first flight of the morning and wiped down his seat when we boarded to be sure it would be free of any residue from others. I don't worry about what other people bring on because the number of people who will carry on peanuts is likely slim. They also sell snacks that contain peanuts, but at $3 a small bag, who in their right mind would buy them. The smaller number of peanuts on the plane means a smaller risk of reaction.
    If we chose to fly another airline, and every passenger on board opened a pack of peanuts, yes, they would be in the air and on the people next to us, there would be traces on the seats and in the bathrooms and everywhere else. There would be a strong possibility that he would react.
    Tell me this, would you rather get a packet of pretzels or cookies verses a packet of peanuts, or would you rather get the peanuts and have to make an emergency landing and/or be delayed because someone had a reaction that needed immediate medical attention? Even with medication, after administering an Epi pen the directions are to go straight to the ER for further treatment and monitoring. Even if this doesn't happen on your plane, what about the flight before you? An emergency landing for that plane means a plane that will be late getting to the airport for you. All for what? A pack of peanuts? *sigh*

    June 6, 2010 at 23:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. It's not the Allergy, it's Anaphylaxis

    Personally, I've eaten the packet of peanuts many times in the past while on many flights, and thought to myself immediately afterward, "Why did they even bother? They could have given me a picture of a packet of peanuts to look at and it would have stifled my hunger as much as this paltry bribe to keep me from complaining about the fact that I CAN NO LONGER FEEL MY LEGS AFTER @) HOURS ON THE TARMAC!"

    I applaud the folks here who have correctly pointed out that everyone is over-reacting to the mere matter (sorry, it doesn't even qualify as an inconvenience) of not getting a rather small, unsatisfying packet of peanuts. And that's the point, right? It's not about the peanuts. ALL of them, EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM, are bigots of some kind or another, in some way or another, and they're just trying to be consistent with their prejudices. They employ, probably on a daily basis, the "no special treatment in a Capitalist society" argument to dilute the fact that they are bigots (and, sometimes, to hide the fact that they've gotten nothing but special treatment their entire lives through accident of birth). They are simply cheerleaders for an ideology, and they rah-rah on every subject that they can–lacking the knowledge to tackle the real topics–no matter how misplaced their enthusiasm.

    More disturbing is the fact that these people are unaware (or maybe they are happy about it, given the tenor of their language, who knows...) that people have indeed died on (isolated, hermetically-sealed) aircraft from exposure to peanuts.

    To the nay-sayers, if what you're truly barking (mad) about here is that you don't want this restriction to be a "gateway" to other (frivolous) restrictions certain to come at the demands of other groups of minorities, take heart in this: anaphylaxis due to food allergies is a scientifically demonstrable fact, if you believe in that sort of thing; there is proof that it exists, and it has happened, historically. Peanuts don't offend us, they could kill us.

    So, if showing even a scrape of concern for other human beings is a stretch for you, well, then, try this: Stop at one of the ubiquitous bar-restaurants in the terminal, have a nice, fat, juicy burger with some fries, and wash it down with a couple of alcoholic drinks. You're very likely not even to notice your "rights" being trampled at 30,000 feet. I speak from experience.

    P.S.: Equality of human beings is also a scientifically demonstrable fact, so, I guess you lose...maybe you should all start your own "nutty" airline. This is America, land of opportunity, after all!

    June 7, 2010 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. cab67

    I want to second the response to the "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" argument in this case. No one needs peanuts. The needs of the many may outweigh the needs of the few, but the wants of many may not.

    June 7, 2010 at 15:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. stitcherlady

    I agree with Annie. I have had to take emergency flights with only a very few hours notice, once directly from work. Had I eaten my favorite snack of peanut butter cheese crackers there could have been crumbs/dust on my clothing and oils on my skin. Without the slightest nibble of a peanut during flight I could have been responsible for the death of a child. What would the solution be? The total ban of peanuts, period?
    I am extremely allergic to cigarette smoke, to the point that speaking with a chain smoker in a large building can make my throat close up. When I fly I take my chances. MY risk.
    My family will be flying this summer, the total time from the time we leave our house to the time our last flight arrives is 20 hours. Since I refuse to purchase food at the airport or on a plane I bring my own snacks and first two meals, food is provided on the international flight. I don't care to bring candy and fruit is messy/smelly. This thread prompted me to look at the labels of what I'm bringing and 95% either contain peanuts, peanut products (oil), or have been made in a "facility where peanuts are used". Who will provide my family with "safe" food? BTW, one member of my family has been told by his doctor to eat peanut butter every day due to a medical condition I won't get into here. Does that mean that he should be banned as well?
    Even if peanuts were banned in airplanes AND airports, and all planes and their filters sanitized passengers would have to be screened (how??) for any traces of peanut dust/oil to make flight safe for those with severe allergies. I have compassion for the allergic but reality also sets in.
    I also have dogs and a cat and all of us will love on them on our way out the door to the airport.

    June 8, 2010 at 21:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. It's not the Allergy, it's Anaphylaxis

    Stitcherlady: Are you serious?

    "I am extremely allergic to cigarette smoke, to the point that speaking with a chain smoker in a large building can make my throat close up. When I fly I take my chances. MY risk."

    What risk? I guess you haven't flown in a while; smoking was indeed banned on airplanes many, many years ago, and, I believe, banned from all interior public places, like airports. Since check-in time is at least an hour, or even 2 hours, you've got quite a nice buffer between yourself and your allergens. The matter at hand deals merely with the air-tight environment of the plane. You could eat all the peanuts you want in the waiting area, and then do the world a courtesy–regardless of allergens–and go to the bathroom to wash your hands, and maybe even swish around some mouthwash, just in the interest of cleanliness, and you'd satisfy the anaphylactic. If you're having trouble finding "safe" food at the grocery store, try moving out of the junk food aisle and into the produce aisle. Your heart will be glad that you did. Thanks for your contribution on this matter. I never thought that illogical thinking could actually help.

    You talk about reality, but all you've done is deliver a string of hypothetical (and, I suspect, partially FALSE) and exaggerated situations. The true issue here doesn't seem to be whether banning peanuts is realistic, but whether asking people to show a minimal level of consideration for other people is realistic.

    June 10, 2010 at 09:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Amelia

    Come on, people, we are talking about KIDS here. Seriously. Little kids. All those of you saying "you have no right to change my lifestyle" or whatever, get a grip and grow up. How big a deal is it to change the snack to pretzels or something else? Is that REALLY such a huge incovenience to you? Really? It could happen to your kid. There are many, many more kids with peanut allergies these days, mine included. Even if the airborne doesn't cause anaphylaxis (and it HAS happened, with many customers eating peanuts at the same time on a plane), it could cause bad hives, itching, and misery for a young child. Are you really so callous to that? Sure, we carry epi-pens, but injecting a needle deep into a child's muscle for ten seconds is no small thing. And then if that doesn't work, you have an on-flight emergency. I can't believe what jerks people are about this issue. It would be so easy for you to have a different snack. And peanut allergy is MUCH more dangerous than other food allergies, more likely to cause anaphylaxis. Imagine that happening to a young child you love. And if appealing to your basic human decency doesn't work, how about this? An emergency landing because a child has gone into anaphylactic shock on the plane would be MUCH more inconvenient to you! Good grief, people, stop being so freaking selfish!

    June 10, 2010 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Ellen C. Itakeaction

    I just don't get it why other passengers care so much about having chips or pretzels or crackers or a million other options. I do get it that the peanut growers don't want to lose sales to airlines. Look at the rise in peanut allergy visits to emergency rooms, the number of Epi-Pens sold and the volume of this request. We're talking about people from an immediate threat. It's real. It kills far quicker than cigarettes that were thankfully banned years ago. Imagine how unhappy a peanut eating passenger would be if their snack forced an emergency landing?!

    This shouldn't be so difficult!

    June 12, 2010 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. stitcherlady

    It's not the Allergy, it's Anaphylaxis
    I don't think I was plain enough about my smoke reaction. Many chain smokers still breathe out smoke (maybe you can't see it but I still react to it) more than an hour after their last cigarette. Many airports still have smoking lounges or outside areas where the addicted can get a quick smoke before boarding.
    My comment about possibly having peanut "dust" was directed at the statement that people who have consumed peanut products could have minute residue on their clothing AND NOT KNOW OR BE ABLE TO SEE IT. I do wash my hands, both before and after eating and brush my teeth as well but I don't recall saying that I had planned to go around licking people, just that I was concerned that without even realizing it many passengers could be putting those with severe allergies at risk.
    If you had actually paid attention to my post you might have read that I do not take candy on the trip and the only reason I was not bringing fruit was that it was messy. Since the banning of liquids, gels, and ice packs carry-on foods have been limited to things that keep well at room temperature for hours – 1 1/2 hour trip to airport, 3 hr advance arrival for international flight, 2 hr initial flight = 6 1/2 hours that MOST foods should not be kept at room temp. I would loike to take a nice roast beef or ham sandwich with some hard boiled eggs but all these need to be chilled. I don't buy my family's food in the junk food aisle, last time I shopped granola and trail mix were sold in the health food section, as are my all natural peanut butter cheese crackers.
    Why would you think that the poor child with a peanut allergy would only react on the plane and would not have just as severe reaction to a peanut product eaten by someone in the waiting area? They must also wait for their flight and might actually be sitting facing someone who brought a peanut product to eat.
    Perhaps if the airlines would email all passengers as soon in advance as possible that there would be a passenger with a severe allergy on the flight the other passengers could take moderate precautions. My post was not meant to say that if given some advance notice I would not try to be careful, as I believe most passengers would. I was just trying to say, like others have said, that it is not realistic to believe that all traces of peanuts can be removed from the plane and passengers even if they do not eat peanuts on the flight.

    June 12, 2010 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. debbi

    i really am tired of trying to get my point across to ANYONE that this allergy can kill you. this is not to be taken lightly-a few years ago i was flying with my family back from cabo san lucas to denver and i could smell the nuts being served 15 rows ahead of me. i told frontier airline how allergic i was yet they still went ahead and served the nuts. unless you have a limb missing or a disability that one can actually see people don't seem to get it. i hope they ban nuts – and do it soon.

    June 14, 2010 at 11:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Janie

    I usually don't get THIS angry with people. I just can't believe all of the ignorant people out there! I have had food allergies since I was born. II have gone into anaphalactic shock many times. Please people can you tell me why it is so important for you to eat peanuts and tree nuts on planes. Rights? Ummm...excuse me but I am thinking that you eating peanuts on a flight would not help you to survive the flight. Why do you need them? All of us ARE taking responsibility of our lives! I really think that if you were suddenly to become allergic to peanuts, and you would die if you were in contact with them (and no they do not have to be ingested to die from them) you would not want to stop flying. What if you were to go to Hawaii or overseas? i guess that you would drive there? If you are that ignorant to food allergies I wonder what else you are thinking. It is very scary. Of course the food allergies are scary, but YOU scare me even more. The poor parents who have children and babies with food allergies have no hope with people like you out there. Peanuts and tree nut allergies are becoming more and more common. There are other allergies out there, and of course we can't be protected from everything. But if peanuts and tree nut allergies are so common now, why can't you stay away from eating them on a plane. We are not telling you not to eat them in your home or never eat them. You obviously have no heart and no care for people. I am so sorry to the parents that have to listen to your nonsense. I am an adult now and I have somehow survived so far, but with people like you out there it is a real miracle! Oh and I will definitely never fly American Airlines!

    June 14, 2010 at 19:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Erin

    As a mother of a 3 y.o. with a severe allergy, this is a concern to me. Society does not understand that if you can smell peanuts, the nut molecules are airborne. Peanuts are one of the few allergies that can cause a SERIOUS reaction. Comparing it to cats is comical. We are not talking about getting a little stuffy or itchy; we are talking about dying. You are wrongly mistaken if you think that this is a small issue. You are also mistaken if you think that parents like me enjoy the fact that we always have to be on alert. Being that an airplane is a confined place with recirculated air, we have not flown since my daughter was diagnosed. She is a regular 3 y.o. that happens to be allergic to several foods. I apologize if this inconveniences anyone else. My main priority as a parent is keeping my child safe. I would love to get on an airplane and take a trip to Disney World one day. Right now that's not a possibility. 1 epi pen offers about 15 minutes of relief. Definitely not enough time for a pilot to land and seek medical attention. Would you rather give up your little bag of nuts, or risk having to make an unscheduled stop~ or worse knowing for the rest of your life that you were so selfish that it could cost my baby her life.

    June 14, 2010 at 22:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Theresa Anderson

    Our family just made the trek this spring from Michigan to Florida to take our 5 year old son to Disney! Many of the comments here just show the nature of how misunderstood the severity of Food Allergy, including the AP articlethat mentions "What's next banning peanuts from ballparks!" You are not 30,000 feet in the air. Those of you should honestly take a moment to do a small amount of research, FAAN's websit or FAI. It is the uncertainty that we deal with on a daily basis when or if a reaction will occur, and at 30,000 feet there is really nothing you can do if the epi-pens do not help, not to mention the small amount of time you have to get to a hospital. Maybe the airlines should take this into consideration 5 people drove to Florida in our case, 5 airline tickets were not purchased due to a peanut allergy! 12 million Americans have food allergy and that is just Americans, the math is pretty simple......I don't get angry with negative comments anymore, just sad at the lack of compassion towards another human being

    June 15, 2010 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Monica

    wow. there are more important things in the world then peanuts. i honestly see no point in arguing over this. it won't change anything. if it's just to get a point across, why waste your time? humans are stubborn and i doubt anyone on this list is changing their minds just because you write a five paragraph essay about you opinions.

    June 15, 2010 at 15:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. peanuthead

    Is eating peanuts on a plane really that important to everyone? Really? Its a constitutionally protected right? And can we lay off this woman, she just wanted to switch seats. If you are allergic to cats and the person next to you has a cat – you would ask to move too. I was recently asked to move so a non-english speaking family of refugees could sit together (on American, thank you). I didnt lose my mind, I just moved. And, newsflash, travelling with kids is no picnic for the parents or the kids either. We would all LOVE to be on a "family" plane. Peace.

    June 23, 2010 at 14:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Nowhining

    Why don't the airlines offer allergen-free flights twice a month? That way all the people with severe allergies could fly wherever and the rest can have all the peanuts they want. May be a little inconvenient, but it's fair.

    July 9, 2010 at 00:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. kathy

    i can see both side of the issues.

    1. i dont like my rights restricted for so few that have this problem.
    3. but really, i can live withoug peanuts (or any nuts) for the length of even a long plane ride.

    and in the nancy's case. if i had been sitting next to her and she explained the situation.
    i personally with have no problem. i would of shrugged my shoulders and said no problem, and put the nuts away.

    September 28, 2010 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Megan

    I grew up with Peanut allergies and NO special accommodations were ever made for me (I am now 45). It is up to the allergic person (or parent) to avoid the potential allergens and not inconvenience a non-allergic majority. It's ridiculous my that my nephew cannot take a Peanut-butter sandwich in his lunch because ONE child in the whole elementary school has a peanut allergy. Generations of allergic kids have survived in the past. Why this sudden need for accommodation?

    November 8, 2010 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. TMS

    I have an allergy to cold temperatures – it is rare and sounds like a joke, but it is a real condition. When my skin is exposed to cold (or even just cool) air, I break out in hives all over, including my face and lips, which becomes distorted and swollen, and it can affect my breathing and become life-threatening if I get swelling inside my throat/esophagus. I deal with it by carrying Benadryl with me and always something to cover up with if my skin gets exposed to cold air. I have been in public places where the indoor temperatures are cold enough to cause me to break out (either the heat is not high enough, or the a/c is turned way down). It would be ridiculous for me to expect everyone to change the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher wherever I go.

    February 21, 2011 at 16:53 | Report abuse | Reply
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