Many of my followers remember the petition I did a few years ago that I sent to Southwest urging them to remove peanuts from their flights. If you signed it, thank you so much, because people like us made the Southwest decision happen. However, yesterday I heard some unsettling news. In the midst of Southwest finally no longer serving peanuts, Delta is now bringing theirs back!
This act by Delta I took 100% as an offensive attack on the food allergy community. It’s obvious that peanut allergies are more dangerous than ever and more common than ever, so this decision really seems unethical. I hope they receive a ton of backlash and decide to retract this decision. Here is a recent article on it.
I expelled a lot of energy writing them as soon as I heard the news, to let them know how I’m perceiving this new action as a peanut allergic individual. I urge anyone in the allergy community to write them as well! There’s no reason to bring peanuts back on all Delta flights, or any nut for that matter! Additionally, I’ve expressed tremendous thanks to Southwest numerous times already and urge everyone to THANK them for their action if you haven’t already, and acknowledge they are getting a lot of negative feedback but that the action is deeply appreciated.
I’ve read many online comments in response to Southwest’s new policy saying things like, “well now I can’t eat my favorite snack” or “I can’t eat the pretzels because they contain gluten and I have an intolerance” and the reality is most individuals allergic to peanuts (or with any severe food allergy!!) can’t ever partake in ANY snacks or meals offered on the flight. A lot of the time, there’s a limited variety in terms of safe snacks and hardly ever safe hot meals at the airport. Even the new pretzels being offered are made in a shared facility with peanuts! So it’s not that I want to eat those, it’s just it is less harmful to be around than peanut dust on every surface and in the recycled air.
The short amount of time others are inconvenienced is nothing compared to the inconvenience of living with a life threatening allergy, and that is the message I want to spread and get across. I work hard to have empathy and try to meet others where they’re coming from and acknowledge that everyone has their hardships and not have a pity party, and hearing these impulsive comments without thinking can be tough. Passengers can still eat peanuts on the flight, which is why I wear a mask to help protect myself from the particles in the air, from a reaction. I usually let the few rows around me know about my allergy and politely ask they refrain from eating peanut products on my own (without the permission of the airline). If I can’t get up the courage to do so, sometimes I won’t, or if I’m with my husband and feeling nervous about it he will do that part for me.
I used to not incorporate the mask into my routine because I was too embarrassed and didn’t want to feel different or draw more attention to myself. I don’t know if it would save my life, but I figure it filters out some particles and can’t hurt, and have become more comfortable wearing it in situations where it may help. It also eases some of the anxiety around travel and uncertain environments, the first time I was able to fall asleep on a plane was with the mask on.
A few hours before I learned this news about Delta bringing back peanuts, I booked a Southwest flight with my mom and we had a great conversation with the customer service agent about peanut allergies. It was nice that he understood and felt the decision by Southwest was impactful, and that people can go without peanuts for part of their day to eliminate a potentially life threatening reaction for them during that one moment of their day. He said, “you can’t make everyone happy, and it’s not about happiness, it’s about safety.” That was great to hear, because that’s ultimately what I wish people would focus on and understand. The goal is for people to be able to travel, and travel safely, right?
So then why if there is even a 1% chance that someone may have a severe reaction and die on a flight due to a preference, something completely avoidable, do people take that chance? I appreciate the airlines for this step in the right direction, but the fact is, it isn’t the ideal situation, but it’s a great improvement.
Unfortunately, I have an upcoming Delta flight this September and am not sure what this means for me, I’m assuming I will treat it as I did with Southwest before, but I am saddened they have made this decision to revert back.
You can write Delta here.
You can comment on this Southwest post, on their FB, or call and thank them at tel: 1-800-435-9792!