We were interested to see that BBC Rip Off Britain’s most recent feature about holidays highlighted travelling with food allergy. The programme raised that airlines can vary widely in the policies they adopt and how they implement them when addressing the needs of customers with allergies, specifically regarding examples from parents and carers of children with peanut and treenut allergies.
We would like to see more airlines adopt a culture of allergy awareness and education. We support the view that there should be greater consistency across and within the airline industry to help all people at risk of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) feel safer whilst travelling. Although airlines tend to focus on the possible risk from peanuts and treenuts – an issue we recognise generates strong views – other types of allergens must not be neglected.
Examples of how this might look in practice include:
- Making an allergy policy freely accessible to passengers before making a booking which clearly explains what steps they need to take and what the airline expects to know to safely accommodate their needs.
- Allowing people with food allergy, or their parents and carers, to board flights early in order clean their seating area using alcohol wipes to decrease the risk of allergic reactions due to inadvertent skin contact with food particles or spills.
- Allowing people with food allergy, or their parents and carers, to bring their own food on the flight and making passengers aware in advance of any restrictions regarding the types of food they can bring on board.
- Making an announcement on the flight to other passengers encouraging them to be allergy aware and requesting them to not open or eat peanut or treenut snacks.
- Ensuring that loose peanut or treenut snacks are not sold or served as complimentary snacks on flights where there is a person with peanut or treenut allergy on board to decrease the risk of exposure.
- Ensuring that all cabin crew are trained in first aid, especially how to recognise the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, how to provide emergency treatment and how to reduce risks on board.
No airline could guarantee a truly allergen free environment for a person at risk of severe allergic reactions, but there should be greater consistency in the policies that are adopted across the airline industry to reduce risks.
We will continue to engage with the airline industry about key issues affecting people at risk of severe allergic reactions. Our aim is to create a safe environment for all people with allergies by working with and educating the travel industry; focusing on medical facts, food labelling, risk reduction and allergen management.
Every person is different, so if you have concerns about travelling we would encourage you to speak to your GP or allergy specialist who can advise you what to do to minimise risks.
We also provide medically informed advice and information via our clinical panel to help educate and empower people living with allergies to be aware of risks to their safety when travelling and the precautions they can take to feel reassured and safe.
We have a whole host of information available on our website including…
- Travelling advice and tips
- Airline Meals
- Peanut Snacks
- Booking Your Flight
- The Day of Your Flight
- Translation Cards
If you have any concerns or further questions, please contact our helpline team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01252 542 029.