Just returned from a vacation in Colorado. Flew United which we never had a problem with in the past.
However, we were told that they are now regularly serving more and more items with tree nuts. On our early morning flights, the breakfast snack included a hot egg and ham sandwich as well as a cereal mix packet that included almonds. In addition, they served a snack pack towards end of the flight that also included almonds. Supposedly only 2-3 almonds/pack. On the way home, someone dropped a cereal pack and out popped 2-3 almonds, a cheerio, and a few other things that I didn't recognize. I didn't want to even touch a pack so I am not sure what else the mix contained. I was assured it did not contain peanuts. I was assured by numerous United staff members that United has not served peanuts in at least a few years.
We thought that the flight was going to be peanut and nutfree based on previous conversations, and one as we entered the plane to Denver.
My son has reacted to peanuts and never been exposed to nuts. We have been directed to assume he is also allergic to tree nuts - due to likely cross contamination if not sensitive to the actually nut.
We learned that we should have requested to speak specifically to the PURSER, not any other flight attendent or staff. It is the purser that is responsible for making decisions about food service and seating to accomodate any issues.
The outbound flight I raced up to the flight attendents as my husband alerted me to the fact that they were handing out snacks with nuts. I begged them to stop serving the snack. It was the end of the flight anyway! I made no headway until the purser came over. She was helpful and stopped the service, then chatted with me for quite a while. She informed me that she is seeing more nuts in food service these days, but not peanuts. And that they cannot always just eliminate the snack because of an issue like ours...However, she strongly recommended ordering a peanut/nutfree meal so it would show up on the print out she receives and will alert the purser. Then upon entering the plane ask for the purser, explain the situation and ask if there is anything that can be done to minimize or eliminate the offending part of the snack or meal.
This actually worked well for me on the return flight. Since my son did not have an issue on the first flight - with the service of the cereal mix packet...we agreed to serve that, but to eliminate the snack pack later in the flight.
It is clear though that it really depends upon who the purser is...the person on the homebound flight was extremely accomodating and was not concerned about eliminating the snack. On the outbound flight, at least some of the attendents were concerned and a bit agitated about eliminating the service. Perhaps because they had already started to serve or were concerned...
On Aug 15, 2002
I printed out your information about the purser, and I will put it in my file of things to bring on the flight next week. Thanks for supplying that information! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
On Aug 21, 2002
What do they do if the snack is really like a small meal? Our snack was a cheese sandwich, fritos, and plain M and M`s, all on a tray. I had very strong objections to the plain M and M`s, to me they seem a riskier "may contain" than almonds. (not that I would feed either one to my daughter, but that the bags opening all at once worried me). Anyhow, I was tempted to ask the flight attendant not to serve the M and M`s, but it was inside the tray with everything else. I didn`t think they would be willing to take it off of each tray when they passed out the tray with the sandwich and the fritos. Besides, since I had been told United was definitely peanut free, I was not on my guard to check out the snack, and by the time I saw it, half the plane had been served. My seven year old pa daughter commented that now she could not order anything to drink because the flight attendant had cleaned up all the trays, probably touched some M and M`s, who knows if she washed her hands, and my daughter did not want to drink from a contaminated cup. I was furious that the airlines is so thoughtless. Later we went to the bathroom, and the flight attendant touched my daughter`s hand to look at her medicalert bracelet, so we had to scrub. It isn`t enough to turn down the snack, you have to worry about them touching your kid!