Although they stopped serving peanuts in-flight, American Airlines is offering its customers with nut allergies an opportunity that will be the envy of everyone in Boarding Group 1. The major U.S. airline will begin letting passengers with nut allergies board early, beginning next month.
According to an American Airlines filing with the U.S. Transportation Department, as of December 12 passengers with peanut and tree nut allergies have the option of boarding early so they can wipe down their seats, tray tables, arm rests, and areas of any allergens. This change has been a long time coming, as various people and groups have made complaints against the airline over the potential allergen issue and its modest efforts to provide for passenger safety.
The original complaint against the airline was launched by Food Allergy Research & Education in 2017. They claimed that AA was “prohibiting passengers with food allergies from exercising their rights under the Air Carrier Access Act to declare their disability and pre-board the aircraft.”
An American Airlines representative told The Daily Meal that any customers with a nut allergy who would like to board early may ask to do so at the gate. “Though we do not serve peanuts in flight, we can't guarantee our customers won't be exposed to peanuts or other tree nuts during their trip. We strongly encourage those with allergies to take all necessary medical precautions before flying,” the spokesperson said.
"You may ask why there is a lag time between announcement and implementation date. That is because we need to communicate the update with team members across our system of 350+ airports and our crew members to make sure everyone understands and moves forward the same way. And no, our passengers don’t need to show proof to request to board early to wipe down surfaces as a precaution due to their nut allergy."
Whether or not you’re sanitizing for possible contaminants, you should definitely bring wipes or some Purell in case you encounter one of the 15 dirtiest places on an airplane.