Just when the airlines are starting to get onboard with food allergy safety, there is still a threat in the cabin - other passengers. I flew Delta recently and want to share my experience. I must have peanut allergy on my profile from previous trips I took with my daughter. This time I was flying solo from Boston to Denver with a switch in Minneapolis. When I was checking in online I noticed my ticket said "peanut allergy" next to special requests. I didn't think to change it.
Once on my first flight, I was curious if any accommodations would be made. Was I in a peanut free buffer zone? would something be announced? Sure enough, just after takeoff, the flight attendant stated "there is a peanut allergy onboard this flight. please refrain from eating food with peanuts." Music to my ears. Even though I am not really allergic, it just made me so happy that finally, after all these years of anxious travel, things are starting to change.
This was the scenario on all 4 flights I took on that trip. Delta was consistent in its message and protection of its passenger(s). What differed, however, were the responses from the general plane population. I was looking around and trying to see if anyone was visibly put out. I didn't hear any groans or mumbles or snickers. Maybe people just don't bring peanut snacks on planes anymore, I naively considered!
The first flight emptied and I was standing behind a small group of adults who were laughing about how they had to sneak their pbj sandwiches, and phew, noone caught them. More jokes about peanut allergies. I almost said something but I also liked being anonymous. My fake allergy allowed me to be a fly on the wall. I let them go and tried to let it go.
On the next flight I sat behind a young family. They brought pb snacks for the flight (there goes my theory). The parents did refrain from giving them the pb, as they had other snacks. But the kids only wanted the pb of course. So the parents had to keep saying "I can't give you the peanut butter snack until we get off the plane." At first it annoyed me because she was so loud and I wondered if she was trying to make sure the allergic person could know her sacrifice. Then I sympathized with her because she was struggling with her own family's needs to protect someone she didn't even know. And to make it worse, I didn't even have a real peanut allergy. But it was too late in the game to tell her so I just cranked my headphones.
So what have I learned from this? Some airlines are improving. Some passengers are improving. I'll change my Delta profile. Maybe next time I will fly Southwest.