Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Peanuts on Planes

A few months ago, I took a much needed vacation with my girlfriends to collectively celebrate our 40th birthdays. Our travel plans required airline transportation, and while I was overjoyed with ability to “get away”, I still could not get away from thoughts of my daughter and her nut allergies.

During the course of my flight to my vacation destination, I just kept thinking “How will she ever do this?” as the flight attendant went aisle by aisle passing out peanuts and pretzels. On my return flight home with a different airline, snacks were not provided of any kind, but there was a passenger across the aisle from me that pulled out her own little lunch, which appeared to me to be a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Sigh. “I’m never taking her on a plane,” I said to myself at that moment. Road trips are just as fun, right?

I know there are other families that do travel on airlines with food allergies. Some have great success stories. Others have horror stories. For me, I guess I fall on the conservative side. I would rather not take the risk. Why add stress to an activity intended to remove stress from your life?

BUT CHECK THIS OUT … The United States Department of Transportation has recently proposed new wide-ranging consumer protections for air travelers, Including Peanut-Free Airlines!

Can it possible be that someone is finally, actually getting it? Of course, the proposal is controversial, and of course, may not amount to anything in the end. But I am very encouraged by the fact that it is even being discussed. And if a ban does in fact become enforced, I offer my apologies to the peanut farmers of America. I know this has a negative impact on your livelihood, but it obviously has an overwhelmingly positive impact on my daughter’s life. In my world, “living” (as in not dying) trumps “earning a living” every single time.

The public is currently invited to comment on this issue at the Regulation Room. In the meantime, if you or your family MUST travel on an airplane and food allergies are a concern, FAAN has some great information and advice about how to do so safely. Happy trails to you, one and all!