Before You Head to the Airport

Flying with food allergies? Learn how to select an airline and lower your risk of exposure to allergens on the flight.

Flying presents unique circumstances for people with food allergies. Of course, there's getting your medications through airport security and choosing meals and snacks onboard. But your food allergy may even affect your pick of airline.

Don’t leave things up in the air when flying with food allergies. Take these steps from the moment you start planning your flight.

  • Before booking your flight, read the airline’s allergy policy. Many airlines post their policy on their website. Find it by searching for terms such as “allergies” or “peanuts.”
  • Check the airline’s snack offerings. People with a peanut or tree nut allergy may want to choose an airline that does not serve complimentary peanut or tree nut snacks with the beverage service. (Some airlines will serve a replacement, such as pretzels, upon advance request.) This will greatly decrease your risk of exposure to these allergens during the flight.
  • However, keep in mind that airlines cannot guarantee you a peanut- or tree-nut-free flight. They cannot monitor or control the behavior of other passengers.
  • When booking your flight, notify the reservation agent of your food allergy. If you book online, there may be a space on the reservation form to include this information. You can back up this communication with a phone call to the airline. Request that your information be forwarded to other personnel such as the gate agent, catering/food service and flight crew.
  • Because some airlines are cleaned at the end of each day, consider scheduling early-morning flights. This will lower the chance that your seat contains crumbs or food residue.
  • Bring your own safe food to eat while traveling, or buy packaged foods inside the airport where you can read food labels. Check with the airline to see if there are any restrictions on which types of food you are allowed to bring on board or to your destination.

You should also visit this blog post to look at some of the different domestic and international airlines and their policies regarding food allergies.


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