Airline Policies

Airline Policies

The first thing I do when considering a trip is check out the flights. Not only for pricing (I use Google flights and momondo pretty regularly), but for airlines. For their peanut & nut policy, specifically.

To someone without a fatal allergy, this might seem a little crazy. I mean, the amount of times I’ve chosen a more expensive airline because their peanut policy made me feel better is astounding. And to those on the outside looking in, the fact that I would even consider taking a more expensive flight is what’s astounding.

But to those of you that identify with my situation, you have likely done the same.

So to help consolidate that airline research into one place, I have scoured the depth of the internet (and made a few phone calls) and compiled an extensive US airline policy list right here for you… and me.

Alaska Airlines

Like most airlines, Alaska does not want to be held reliable for any allergic reaction had on board their aircraft. However, they do take many precautions to keep you safe – like wiping down your seating area.

Here is their guarantee:

We cannot prevent passengers from bringing products containing nuts or other allergens (e.g. service animals) onboard our flights. Some First Class meals and meals for purchase in the main cabin may contain nuts. Therefore, Alaska Airlines is unable to guarantee a nut- or allergen-free flight. Attempting to do this would create a false sense of security for passengers with severe allergies. We encourage passengers who are allergic to nuts to bring their own food items for travel. Passengers with severe allergies are also encouraged to consult with their doctor regarding the safety of air travel.

Please advise the gate agent if you would like to pre-board to cleanse your immediate seating area.

Allegiant Airlines

I have yet to fly with Allegiant, so I can’t personally vouch for their efforts, but according to their website, they seem to be very aware. In addition to not serving peanuts or nuts outright as a snack, they will allow their allergic passengers to pre-board in order to wipe down their seat and check their immediate area.

Here is their guarantee:

Allegiant recognizes some passengers suffer from mild to severe allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, or animal dander. Unfortunately, Allegiant is unable to guarantee an allergen-free flight.

Inflight food offerings may contain trace amounts of nut ingredients, or may have been processed in facilities that also process nuts. In addition, we are unable to prevent other passengers from bringing nuts and/or products containing nuts onboard our flights.

American Airlines

Man, I can’t remember the last time I flew American. Although the below guarantee looks intimidating, it’s quite accommodating for someone with only a peanut allergy. They don’t serve peanuts at all. But because I am also allergic to nuts, I choose to avoid.

Here is their guarantee:

Although we don’t serve peanuts, we do serve other nut products (such as warmed nuts) and there may be trace elements of unspecified nut ingredient, including peanut oils, in meals and snacks. Additionally, other customers can bring peanuts or other tree nuts on board.

We can’t accommodate requests to not serve certain foods, provide nut “buffer zones,” or allow you to board early to clean your area. Our planes are cleaned regularly, but can’t guarantee the removal of nut allergens on surfaces or in the air filters. Because of this, can’t guarantee you won’t be exposed to peanuts or other tree nuts during flight, and we strongly encourage those with allergies to take all necessary medical precautions before flying.

Delta Air Lines

Delta is extremely accommodating when it comes to disabilities and fatal food allergies. I’ve flown Delta a number of times over the years – both domestically and internationally – and have only had great experiences.

Here is their guarantee:

When you notify us that you have a peanut allergy, we’ll refrain from serving peanuts and peanut products onboard your flight. We’ll also advise cabin service to board additional non-peanut snacks, which will allow our flight attendants to serve these snack items to everyone within this area. Gate agents will be notified in case you’d like to pre-board and cleanse the immediate seating area. Unfortunately we still can’t guarantee that the flight will be completely peanut-free. Note that some snack products on board may be processed in plants which also process peanut products.

If you need to make us aware of a peanut allergy for an upcoming flight, please visit My Trips or call Delta reservations at 1-800-221-1212.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier doesn’t have a specific policy on their site for people like us, but if you call their helpdesk, they happily answer any questions. Mine was (obviously) regarding peanuts and nuts.

This is what they said:

Upon arrival to the flight, advise the stewardess of your peanut and nut allergy. Although they do not have control over other passengers, they will do their best to ask the passengers sitting around you to avoid consumption of your allergens. Additionally, they don’t serve any peanuts or mixed nuts. They do, however, serve almond m&ms.

Hawaiian Airlines

Flying with Hawaiian can be tricky. While they do what they can to accommodate us folks, they do serve meals with peanuts and nuts in them (they have a gourmet chef line). If I were you, I’d call before booking in order to make sure you feel safe while flying with this airline.

Here is their guarantee:

While we understand that some people are allergic to peanuts, nut products, animals or other items that may be on our flights or that passengers might bring onto our aircraft, we cannot guarantee allergen-free flights. Please consider the possibility of exposure on any aircraft, particularly when accepting in-flight meals or snacks. If you have an allergy, we strongly advise you to take all necessary medical precautions to prepare for the possibility of exposure.

JetBlue Airlines

JetBlue is entirely nut free. So for someone like me, travelling JetBlue is a dream. Not only do they not serve nuts, they ask your surrounding passengers to avoid consumption in order to keep you/me safe.

Here is their guarantee:

Our customers that have allergies to nuts or animals should alert JetBlue crewmembers at the gate regarding the allergy accommodations needed.

If you have challenges with nut allergies, JetBlue’s policy is to discretely create a buffer zone for nut consumption one row in front of and one row behind the customer with the allergy. The customers in these rows will be asked to not consume any nuts during the flight. JetBlue does not currently offer any nuts in the snack choices.

JetBlue does not provide a formal announcement on board the aircraft or in the gate area regarding the restrictive consumption of nuts.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest does what they can to keep our gang safe. If you alert them of your allergy 48 hours before you board, they will do their best to ensure a clean, nut free flight by serving pretzels and cookies and wiping everything down.

Here is their guarantee:

Because it is nearly impossible for persons who have an allergy to peanut dust to avoid triggering a reaction if peanut dust is in the air, Southwest Airlines is unable to guarantee a peanut-free or allergen-free flight. We have procedures in place to assist our Customers with severe allergies to peanut dust and will make every attempt not to serve packaged peanuts on the aircraft when our Customers alert us of their allergy to peanut dust.

Spirit Airlines

Spirit airlines doesn’t provide food for their passengers unless purchased. That alone drastically reduces the risk for those of us severely allergic to peanuts.

They do, however, sell peanut M&M’s, peanuts mixed nuts, and almonds.

Here is their guarantee:

For those with peanut allergies: we do sell peanuts. We cannot guarantee customers will not be exposed to peanuts during the flight and strongly encourage customers to take all necessary medical precautions to prepare for the possibility of exposure. In an effort to ensure your well being, please alert our gate agents and flight attendants if you do have an allergy, and we will create a peanut-free buffer-zone for you which includes the row you’ll be seated in, the row in front of you, the row behind you and the corresponding rows on either side of the aisle as well.

Sun Country Airlines

Unfortunately, Sun Country doesn’t seem like the safest option when it comes to domestic flying (If you disagree – let me know in the comments!). I haven’t flown Sun Country before, I can’t vouch for their actions, but their written commitment isn’t exactly one to be desired if you suffer from a severe peanut or nut allergy.

Here is their guarantee:

Sun Country Airlines recognizes that some passengers are allergic to peanuts and other tree nuts. Sun Country may serve products containing peanuts and peanut products. Additionally, we may serve other nut products (such as walnuts on salads). There may be trace elements of unspecified nut ingredients, including peanut oils, in meals and snacks.

We do not have in place procedures that allow our flight crews not to serve these foods upon request of a passenger. We do not provide “buffer zones”. Our planes are cleaned regularly, but these cleanings are not designed to ensure the removal of nut allergens, nor are our air filtration systems designed to remove nut allergens. Additionally, other passengers may bring peanuts or tree nuts onboard.

United Airlines

Flying United is a good deal. They don’t serve peanuts to their cabin, and will inform other passengers of your allergy (upon request). As always, you should inform the airline before flying of your allergy – and tell the flight attendant when you board.

Here is their guarantee:

United is committed to the safety of its customers, including customers with peanut allergies. United does not serve pre-packaged peanuts on our flights. However, some foods we serve may include nuts or contain trace amounts of nut ingredients (including traces of peanuts), or may have been processed in facilities that handle nuts, including peanuts.

Virgin America Airlines

Virgin America is doing what it can to cater to us. Yay! They’ll make an onboard announcement in order to inform the entire flight. This will definitely help you feel safe and secure.

Here is their guarantee:

Guests with severe allergies are encouraged to contact Virgin America prior to travel to inform us at 1-877-FLY-VIRGIN (1-877-359-8474) or contact us directly on site. Once informed by a guest of a severe allergy to nuts, our in-flight teammates will make an announcement on-board requesting that other guests nearby refrain from opening packages or eating items containing nuts.

And that’s the exhaustive list.

My best suggestion – and what I always do – is to call the airline 48-24 hours before your flight in order to inform them/remind them of your allergy. Upon arrival to the airport I ask the check-in counter to write it into my ticket. Often, if you call ahead, the information will already be in there.

I also tell them as soon as I arrive to the gate. While there, I’ll ask if I can pre-board in order to clean my seat. They’re often very accommodating.

And finally, when I board my flights I always tell the flight attendant my seat number and the severity of my allergy. More times than not they offer to make an inflight announcement in order to inform fellow passengers.

Regardless of their official policy, airlines and their employees are very keen on accommodating people like us. If there is one thing I’ve learned from traveling, it’s that people are people. They care about your safety.

Put the info about your allergy out there. Your life is more important than anything – so inform everyone you can.