Airline Peanuts; They’re Back

By Heather Legg

Apparently with the acquisition of Northwest Airlines by Delta, there are some changes in the inflight snack service. Whereas Northwest was peanut free for years, the peanut snack is being reintroduced through Delta.

Of course, this is not good for business with those allergic to peanut allergies. Some families are canceling flights with Northwest and booking on one of the airlines that serves no peanuts. The fear is that you are stuck if a reaction does take place. you can’t to an emergency room or have the prompt medical attention you may need if you suffer from peanut allergies. Peanuts are also one of the foods that can cause airborne allergic reactions due to dust and remnant oils.

Of course, on any flight there is the risk of someone eating peanuts, perhaps they were consumed during the previous flight of maybe someone a row up brought some for an onboard snack. But when they are served, the amount, thus the risk is higher.

Here is a piece of Northwest’s guidelines and tips for people with peanut allergies (www.nwa.com/travel/tips/allergy.html) :

Effective February 1, 2009, peanuts will be served onboard flights operated by Northwest and Delta. Products containing tree nuts may also be served on such flights. The tree nuts and other products served onboard, including meals, snack boxes and snack mixes, may be processed or packaged in factories that produce peanut or other nut products.

Peanut/Tree Nut Policy:

• Northwest and Delta cannot guarantee a peanut/nut free environment. Peanuts, products made from peanut oil, and other nuts may possibly be served onboard or brought onboard by any passenger.
• Peanut or tree nut remnants, peanut dust or peanut oil may be on the aircraft floor, seats, or tray tables from previous flights.
• Northwest and Delta will also serve tree nuts and products processed or packaged in peanut factories on its flights.
Northwest and Delta do not:
• Remove peanut or tree nut products from aircraft.
• Perform any special cleaning to remove peanut or tree nut residue.

Northwest will not make an announcement requesting passengers not to open peanut products onboard and Northwest will not prevent any passenger from bringing peanuts, products made from peanut oil, or other nuts on board. Northwest will advise In-flight Services who will implement a three (3) row buffer zone around the customers’ seating area and refrain from serving peanuts in that area.

We suggest the following precautions for customers with peanut/tree nut allergies when flying on Northwest:

• Upon arriving at the airport, advise the gate agent working your flight (including connecting flights) about your peanut/tree nut allergies.
• Consider taking the aircraft’s first flight of the day whenever possible, as aircraft receive a more thorough cleaning overnight than they do during the day.
• Consider the possibility of exposure, particularly when accepting any in-flight snack or meal. You are encouraged to bring your own food with you.
• Take all necessary medical precautions to prepare for exposure. Many customers carry epinephrine (Epi-pens) or other suitable anaphylaxis treatment prescribed by their physician that can be self-administered. Customers may wear face masks or use respirators (note: there are special procedures for respirators, including advance notice).

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