What’s the deal with airline peanuts? They seem to be considered the paragon snack for a flight. You hear “in-flight snack,” and you think of tree nuts; that’s just how it’s always been. Although most airlines are substituting nuts with pretzels in recent years, there are still some companies behind on the trend. The controversy continues to grow over whether airlines should stop serving nuts all together due to the increasing number of patrons with allergies. It’s not just the complimentary bag of peanuts, either. If you’re taking a trip to the British Isles, you’ll likely be flying overnight and will be served dinner. Plenty of meals may include some kind of nut.
No matter what people think, food allergies are a “growing” trend. However, food allergies are nothing to laugh at. Many children are being diagnosed with food allergies. According to Foodallergy.org, food allergies among children have increased 50% from 1997 to 2011.
Preparing to deal with your allergy on a plane is just step one of many. Arriving to your flight and realizing they’re serving what you’re allergic to may come as a disappointment, but it gives you an idea of the amount of awareness you’ll need when you’re traveling (especially internationally).
If you enjoy traveling but are timid due to your allergy, have no fear. Here are some helpful tips our allergic employees have taken that can get you back into your comfort zone. These tips are good to keep in mind if you’re traveling with any kind of allergy (gluten allergies are also common), not just an allergy to nuts.
TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH A FOOD ALLERGY
- Carry your Epi-Pen – it seems obvious, but it’s important to mention.
- Contact your allergist for a note to provide to the airlines to not distribute tree nuts or specific foods you may be allergic to. (You’ll remain completely anonymous.)
- Contact the resort/hotel you are staying in and speak with the hotel manager or managers involved with food preparation. This is an extra precaution, but you can never be too careful.
- If traveling internationally and there is a language barrier, download a translation app on your phone. It’s quick, easy and free. If you’re in a restaurant you can type it in and show them your phone. If you’re feeling cultured, you can learn a few phrases. It’s not required but never a bad idea to learn a few phrases just to ensure your server knows to handle with care.
- Last but not least: Never assume.
It’s never fine to just assume things will be okay. If you fail to prepare, then be prepared to fail. In the case of food allergies, lack of preparation can lead to a fatal situation.