Food Allergy Policies for the Major United States Airlines
Updated: Oct 5, 2020
Nearly 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies*. While you are in the protected environment of your home you can control the food you prepare, but what about when you are confined in an airplane where you can’t control the environment or the food others bring onboard? For many with severe food allergies, especially nut allergies, that is a big concern.
So how do the major U.S. airlines accommodate those with nut/food allergies? Here are the policies directly from each of their websites. Note that these policies are subject to change by the airline at any time. For the most up-to-date policy, please visit the airline’s website or contact the airline directly.
Alaska Airlines 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. For full details: https://www.alaskaair.com/content/travel-info/accessible-services/specialservices-other
Allegiant Airlines 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. Allegiant also transports service animals, emotional support animals and pets in the cabin. It is each passenger’s responsibility to consult with healthcare professionals to understand the risks of onboard exposure to allergens and carry any necessary medication, such as an EpiPen®. Allergic passengers are welcome to pre-board to clean their immediate seating area. And upon request, we will attempt to reseat allergic passengers to minimize exposure. For full details: https://www.allegiantair.com/passengers-special-needs
American Airlines 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. For full details: https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/experience/dining/special-meals-and-nut-allergies.jsp
Delta Airlines When you notify us that you have a peanut or nut allergy, we’ll refrain from serving peanuts and peanut products onboard your flight. Instead, we’ll offer additional non-peanut snack items to everyone. If you would like additional time during the boarding process to clean your seat area, please let the gate agent know that you would like to pre-board. You’re welcome to board early and clean your seat area in case of traces of nuts, but you must bring your own cleaning materials. We also recommend that if you have a significant allergic reaction, you bring appropriate medications on board (e.g. EpiPen®). Though we always aim to work with you to make your flight safe and comfortable, we cannot guarantee a peanut- or nut-free flight or prohibit other customers from carrying nut products aboard. If you need to make us aware of a nut allergy for an upcoming flight, please visit My Trips to fill out the Accessibility Service Request form or call Delta reservations at 404-209-3434. For full details: https://www.delta.com/us/en/accessible-travel-services/dietary-needs-and-allergies
Frontier Airlines Due to the presence of food allergens in the snacks served, Frontier Airlines cannot guarantee an allergen-free environment on its flights. We also cannot prevent passengers from bringing products containing nuts or other allergens (e.g. service animals) onboard our flights. Attempting to do this would create a false sense of security for passengers with severe allergies. We encourage customers to review any health concerns with their physicians prior to flying. For full details: https://www.flyfrontier.com/travel/travel-info/special-services/
Hawaiian Airlines If you have a nut or other severe allergy, we want you to understand the risks of air travel. We are never able to create an allergen-free environment. Any meals or snacks served onboard may contain nuts, and passengers seated near you may carry on nuts and consume them onboard. We do not make announcements or alter in-flight food and beverage service to accommodate guests with allergies. We encourage you to review any health concerns with your physician prior to travel. Please advise the gate agent if you would like to pre-board to sanitize your immediate seating area. Meals and snacks may contain allergens such as nuts and peanuts. We do not offer special allergen-free items. If you have a food allergy, please carry suitable food with you onto the aircraft. For full details: http://hawaiianair.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/3119/~/allergies
JetBlue 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 complimentary snack choices. JetBlue does not provide a formal announcement on board the aircraft or in the gate area regarding the restrictive consumption of nuts. For full details: https://www.jetblue.com/at-the-airport/accessibility-assistance/medical-conditions/
Spirit Airlines For those with peanut allergies: we do sell peanuts. We cannot guarantee guests will not be exposed to peanuts during the flight and strongly encourage guests 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. For full details: https://customersupport.spirit.com/hc/en-us/articles/202097886-What-food-and-drinks-does-Spirit-offer-on-the-plane-
Southwest Airlines As of August 1, 2018, Southwest no longer serves peanuts onboard our flights. Instead, depending on the length of the flight, we offer pretzels and a few other complimentary snacks. It’s important to note that many of the snacks we serve may be packaged in the same facility as peanuts. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that they don’t contain peanut particles or oil. Additionally, we recognize that Southwest cannot prevent other Customers from bringing peanuts or products containing peanuts onboard our flights. Southwest cannot give assurances that remnants of peanuts and/or peanut dust/oil will not remain on the aircraft floor, seats, or tray tables. Customers with food allergies and intolerances are encouraged to read the labels of all snacks before consuming. Southwest is unable to provide snacks that will accommodate every individual Customer’s preferences and dietary needs. Customers may wish to bring their own snacks with them. For full details: https://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/unique-travel-needs/customers-with-disabilities-pol.html
United Airlines United is committed to the safety of its customers, including customers with major food allergies. United does not serve pre-packaged peanuts on our flights. However, we prepare and serve meals and snacks utilizing a variety of other ingredients including major food allergens. Due to the presence of food allergens in the processing environment and in meals and snacks served, United cannot guarantee an allergen-free meal or environment on its flights. Further, it is not possible to prevent customers from bringing food items on board that contain major food allergens including peanuts. If you have concerns about a severe food allergy, please notify a flight attendant on board the aircraft. In some cases, we may be able to pass along your request to other customers seated nearby to refrain from opening and eating any allergen-containing products they may have brought on board. For operational reasons, we cannot remove any onboard products based on individual customer requests, and we do not offer allergen-free buffer zones on our aircraft. Since we cannot guarantee allergen-free flights, we encourage customers to review any health concerns with their physicians prior to flying. For full details: https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/specialneeds/needs/food-allergies.aspx
For more information about traveling with food allergies, check out The No Nut Traveler.
Remember it is your responsibility to inform your travel agent and the airline if you have an allergy or some other major medical condition so they can plan your trip accordingly.
*Source: Food Allergy Research & Education https://www.foodallergy.org/life-with-food-allergies/food-allergy-101/facts-and-statistics
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