Flying with Delta this month


Hi, new member posting.

I read this section last weekend, but had no time to post then. It had never occured to me before this that peanut residue in the plane could cause a problem to a PA person! I have a lot to learn.

I am a single mom with triplets, 4 years old. I have already booked a flight with Delta (supersaver) to fly to visit my very sick brother at the end of August. Now I need to try to get the flight to hold all nuts. Can anyone direct me to the prtocol for requesting that an alreay booked flight be restricted to no nuts?

Two years ago, had I read the warnings here, I would have been (more of a ) nervous wreck travelling with the children. We took a trip half-way 'round the world with the children, then just 2 yrs. Out bound, we were on the same jumbo jet for thirty hours (yes, 30.) We did disbark for about a half hour in Tokyo and the plane was "cleaned" but we got right back on, same seats, one over-looked cheerio still on the floor. (Don't think that airline clean is the same as your everyday kitchen clean!)

Shortly before that trip, my daughter had been diagnosed with asthma, and peanut allergy (and a few others, but it was the peanut thing that was scary.) We got no warnings from the pedi or the allergist about re-circulated air or the possiblity that a contact residue could cause problems. I called the airline (Northwest, most of the way) several times to ask that no peanuts be served us. I asked at the check-in, asked the flight attendants, etc. All the same, peanut packs were tossed to us all, and the kids were served PB and J!

Northwest was NOT a good line to fly at that time, and certainly not with three two yo's. The flight crew were clueless at best and openly hostile on the return flight. (BTW, Benadryl may cause problems for small children and I recommend that if you plan to use it, you try it out at home a few times first!)

The good news is that my daughter did not show any signs of distress on the flight (other than out-of-her-mind terror and sleeplessness, as did the other two.) But then I didn't expect any sign of anaphlaxis. I was watching her for signs of raspy breathing and lung distress. She did need her respirator and albuterol (for the asthma) when we finally touched down and for a few nights thereafter, but was fine with prevents after that.

On Aug 19, 2002

I have twin 5 yr. old boys. One is allergic to peanuts. We stopped flying Delta when he was diagnosed, because the only accomodation they were willing to make was to provide a peanut free zone - a few seats rows in front of us and a few behind.

I recently flew to Denver on United which is normally peanut/nutfree and suddenly found that they now serve a mix with almonds at breakfast and for snack later. American is now too.

Anyway, it seems that the only chance anyone has of removing peanuts or nuts from flights now is to speak to the "purser" when you enter the plane. This person is responsible for passenger safety and unusual accomodations, is what my understanding is from a conversation with the purser on the United flight. On our homebound flight the purser was very gracious and readily agreed to eliminate the almond snack. Perhaps you will have a similar situation on Delta.

Seems like nobody but the purser can or will make any accomodations. My doctor also recommended having my son wear an air filter mask, like the kind you can get at the hardware store. It fit one of my sons ok and he liked it. Naturally the one with the allergy did not want to wear it because it was too big for him and pushed up into his eyes. It may be worth seeing if you can get a few small size ones from the hospital. It will at least minimize the chance of an airborne reaction if a lot of peanut packets are opened at once. This is the first time we brought masks, but we always wipe down the seats,etc, and I put a plastic bag in the seat pouch so my son doesn't touch any old snack or anything left in the pouch by accident.

I can't believe you are a single mom with triplets!!! That must be very challenging despite how wonderful they must be!

Good luck and good health on your trip!

On Aug 20, 2002

Thanks, kstreeter. That's brillant, about the masks idea. I have a few on hand and we can try them out before hand. Good thing my little PA girl is the more patient one. I will look to talk w the "purser." I'll ask at the check-in if I can speak to her or him before boarding. I have a plastic lined seat cover and will look for something to drape over the seat back, too.

I am trying to spend a few minutes to contact Delta today. At the very least, the more letters, requests and information that we can give the airlines, the more likely that they will put accomodations in place.

(Thanks for the encouragement. coming from a twin mom means a lot, too. As you can imagine there is never a moment free to sit in shock or worry. We just do what has to be done. I have to say that I am really the lucky one. The children can be challenging, but the joys so out-weigh the work.)

On Aug 20, 2002

I just got the e-mail reply from Delta. It looks like they have not changed their policies re PA allergic accomodation since others have posted here earlier this yr. They do not promise a peanut free flight - but will, if contacted and requested, keep peanuts away from the "immediate area" of the PA passenger. Heh. Her brothers and I can do as much. They will allow early boarding to prepare the seat area. At least I have it in writing. (I think an earlier poster had trouble getting in early to wipe the seat, etc.)

On Aug 21, 2002

I emailed Delta in detail about a year ago asking exactly how big is this peanut free zone. It is apparently up to the flight crew. All that Delta will guarantee is the row in front of and behind the pa passenger.

On Aug 30, 2002

Thank Goodness I found this sight! I have within the last year been diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy. Each and everytime my family cries for my life. Being 23, this has been devastating to my life. No more bars with my friends, no more eating out,no moregrocery stores, and no more fun! My trips to the ER and the ICU have taken over my life. I have been working very hard to stabilize my life. My friend who has been there for me throughout all of this has been kind enough to take me on a trip to West Palm Beach, FL. He booked the flights on Delta. I cried when I talked to the lady at Delta. When she told me they could not guarentee me a peanut free flight, I heard in my head "Your life is not worth it..Peanuts are more important, sure you may DIE, but someone might get upset without there little snack". The mask had occurred me, but of course my allergist said not to go. I cried yet again. I plan on going and making a plea to the purser and if that doesn;t work to the passengers! I will wear a mask and have my EPI pens on my belt. Is there someone in the air who can intubate? Does Delta keep a ventilator handy? I sent them an email making a final plea before I fly out on Sept. 8th. Delta's new motto should be " ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK". Thank you for reading, I am just not sure what to do next!?! Kimberly

On Aug 30, 2002

A ventilator will not solve the problem, because if your reaction is severe enough that you need to be intubated, there is a good chance your blood pressure will be dropping and a ventilator won`t take care of that. If you are thinking ventilator, you are considering a really severe reaction. If you actually think that is a possibility, are you sure you want to take the risk?????

On Aug 31, 2002

Just a comment - As I understand it NO airline can guarentee a "peanut free" flight. The airline cannot control what the passsengers will bring on with them - even if they are willing to make a gate announcement making it known that consuming peanut products on this flight could be dangerous to another passenger, folks are still able to do as they please. Peanuts are a legal substance.

What the airlines can do is guarentee a "peanut free snack" or "peanut free meal". Since the airline supplies this food, they have the control. This is normally a workable alternative for a peanut allergic person since it avoids the entire plane chomping down on dusty peanuts in unison. Obviously the risk is not gone, but it is greatly reduced.

I know that this sounds like a nit picky terminology thing, but asking an airline to guareentee a peanut free flight would literally require a peanut seach at the gate - which no one is going to do. When you call airlines in making your reservations using the term "peanut free in flight food service / peanut free snack / peanut free meal" may save you some minunderstanding about what exactly will be provided.

On Aug 31, 2002

Delta doesn`t give a "peanut free meal" or "peanut free snack" on request. They only give a "peanut free zone". Yes, it is possible that people in the "peanut free zone" will have brought their own peanuts on board, but Delta will refrain from serving peanuts to the zone, and will serve peanuts to all the other passengers.

On Aug 31, 2002

My point about the guarenteed peanut free flight was more generic then the Delta zone discussion.

As I said, it is a terminology thing, but asking an airline for a peanut free flight vs peanut free snack, meal, zone or whatever is very likely to get negative answer. They cannot guarentee what they can't control.

This could be an important point for folks to understand, so that requests and questions can be phrased so that we get the best information and accomidation.

Sounds to me like Delta's zone is not a good option and sticking with a carrier that serves peanut free snack/meal is a better choice.

On Sep 1, 2002

If I were you, I would call Delta Customer Service Manager or BETTER YET the president of the company...tell him that your friend surprised you with this wonderful ticket and when you called to find out if it would be safe for you to fly on Delta - you learned it would not be safe. Ask if it would be possible to transfer the ticket to American, United, or USAIR or some other airline that does not serve peanuts.

It is not worth the risk for you. It sounds like you are very sensitive and need to take extra care. It will look bad for DELTA too if you have a serious reaction. So be sure to clearly state how severe your reaction can be! You are doing DELTA a favor by recognizing that it poses a significant risk to your health to fly on an airline that serves peanuts!!! If the person you speak to has enough authority, they will realize that and accomodate your request.

My son had one airborne reaction passing a nut vendor outdoors, so we are not comfortable flying airlines that serve peanuts in the main cabin.

I think that if you talk to the right person and can get across what a difficult and potentially devastating situation this could be, you may be able to get the airlines to swap tickets. Otherwise, you may at least be able to have them re-issue the ticket in your friend's name so it can be used at a later date and the money won't be lost.

This may be difficult to do, but once you start talking to someone, it will probably come pouring out. If you are too afraid to call then try a FAX, but I think that a phone call will be more effective. You can probably get the phone # and fax # off the Delta web site or straight from information.

I have also read on this board that being upset can accentuate a reaction. Since you seem so upset at this time, it might be another reason to avoid a flight that serves peanuts.

Take care of yourself! Kathy

[This message has been edited by kstreeter (edited September 01, 2002).]

On Sep 3, 2002

Good news. I recently called the Delta customer service number and was very pleased with their response. There will be no peanuts served aboard! They will serve cinnamon grahams instead. I was also able to get early boarding to make sure the area is wiped down and prepared. The flights before mine could very well serve peanuts, so I will still be wearing a mask adn gloves. Thank you for your suggestions, I was sick to think I would not be sunning on a beach in a week!! Kimberly kelley

On Nov 26, 2002

I was just wondering how your flight went after all the promises that Delta made to you. We are planning a trip to Florida in March and Delta (unfortunately) has the cheapest fares by far compared to the competition. I guess I am just looking for some reassurance that Delta will make efforts to not serve a peanut snack if asked ahead of time.

On Nov 27, 2002

Here is the response I received from Delta today...

Thank you for your e-mail to Delta Air Lines.

We will do everything possible to accommodate passengers with such an allergy, but we cannot guarantee a peanut-free flight. When Delta is notified that an individual with a peanut allergy will be traveling, our cabin service representatives are contacted and advised to board extra pretzels. Our flight attendants are also informed to serve pretzels instead of peanuts in the immediate area surrounding the customer's seat. Additionally, gate agents are alerted in the event the passenger wishes to preboard and cleanse the immediate seating area.

We appreciate your interest in Delta Air Lines.


Casey Taylor Online Customer Care [url=""][/url]

On Dec 6, 2002

We fly Delta tomorrow... I will let you all know how it goes, but so far I am wildly unimpressed by Delta (except their lawyers, of course, who have taught all custoomer service reps to parrot the phrase "We cannot guarantee a peanut-free flight" in response to every question on the subject!)

We chose Delta over United for our Orlando flights because they were vastly less expensive & they were at convenient times. My husband made the reservations & didn't think to ask fir details when they initially said they would make every accommodation possible. When I followed up w/ a call to find out what exactly that meant, I found out it meant *nothing*... if the person *next* to us wants peanuts then, by golly, that person gets peanuts! The entire conversation was just bizarre, with the customer service person assuring me that she had nothing against us & that she was very sorry my child had this allergy, etc. Whatever. Like I care. I just want them to keep peanuts away from us.

I can only hope that our kids have such a great time visiting The Mouse that this will all be worth it!


On Dec 17, 2002

My family just flew on delta to myrtle beach - I did all the necessary work - on the phone to get a peanut free zone - 2-3 rows in front and in back of my 2 year old son. Well come to find out we were on a delta connection flight run by asa - atlantic southeast and they don't serve peanut products any more - we had a wonderful experience - I still suggest checking the snacks - they were snyders of hanover pretzels and biscoff individually wrapped cookies.

On Dec 17, 2002

We will be flying Delta this month and my husband called (he is a Platinum Medallion Frequent Flyer) to discuss our PA son. The women told him that Delta does not serve peanuts on board. However, I DO NOT BELIEVE this!! I think we've proved that alone on this board, so I guess I'll continue to have him be a pest about this and see if we can get a safe zone. I don't know why it is so hard to just serve something else like pretzels.

On Dec 19, 2002

I have had several emails with Delta about this very topic. Calling is pointless, as whoever you get on the phone will tell you whatever he/she wants to tell you; it doesn`t mean it is true. Here is their policy per their email (the most recent email is first, so the sequence is actually backwards---it is easiest to scroll to the bottom to read my first email, and then scroll up):

"----- Original Message ----- From: Customer Care To: ------- Sent: Saturday, July 07, 2001 10:04 AM Subject: Re: Re: Other - Current or Future (KMM1573182C0KM)

Dear ------,

Thank you for your message via Delta's Web site. We are grateful for your taking the time to share your concerns with us.

The exact number of rows that will not be served peanut products on your flight cannot be determined prior to the departure. Generally the the rows immediately infront of and behind the passenger are not served peanut products. While we try to accommodate all of our passengers, please understand that we cannot guarantee a peanut-free environment, as other passengers can bring peanut products onboard. It will be necessary for you to contact Delta's Reservations Department at 800-221-1212 at least 48 hours prior to the departure of your flight so necessary arrangements can be made.

We appreciate your interest in Delta Air Lines.

Sincerely, Robert Colbert Online Customer Care [url=""][/url]

Original Message Follows: ------------------------ Dear Mr. Smith, I appreciate your prompt response. However, from your response I have no idea what you consider to be the "immediate area" of the passenger. Are you talking two rows or ten rows? I need to know Delta`s specific policy. Most airlines currently remove all peanuts from the aircraft if there is a peanut allergic passenger, but state that they are unable to guarantee that another passenger will not bring peanuts on board. Is this Delta`s policy also? I need a more clear answer. I`m sure the flight crew when we fly will not be pleased if they have to make an emergency landing if my daughter has a reaction to 200 passengers eating peanuts. Thank you. ------

----- Original Message ----- From: Customer Care To: ------ Sent: Friday, July 06, 2001 7:00 PM Subject: Re: Other - Current or Future (KMM1572046C0KM)

Dear ------,

Thank you for contacting Delta Air Lines.

We thank you for taking the time to inform us of your concerns. In such a situation, we ask that you inform us of your needed consideration at least 48 hours in advance of your scheduled flight. This will allow us to make arrangements with the flight crew so that peanuts are not served in the immediate area of the passenger. Even though we make considerations in this matter, we are unable to guarantee a peanut-free flight.

Sincerely, James Smith Online Customer Care [url=""][/url]

Original Message Follows: ------------------------ Name: ------- SkyMiles Number:

Comment: My daughter and I will be flying in a few months. My daughter has a severe airborne peanut allergy. What is your policy on peanut free flights? Northwest, Alaska, Southwest will all make a flight peanut free on request. What is Delta`s policy?"

(end of emails)

As you can see, Delta hedged and hedged on this, and when I finally pinned them down, the peanut free zone is only one row in front and one row in back. With recirculated air, I think this is worthless. Why anyone with a pa child would fly Delta to save money is beyond me. We wanted to go to a small town in Idaho last summer, and Delta was the only airline that did the route. We didn`t go. One episode of anaphylaxis in my daughter`s life is enough for me; I don`t need to see another, and certainly not to save money.

On Dec 20, 2002

We are back from our Florida trip & I must say that our Delta (Delta Express, actually) flight was *fabulous*. The snack they serve is a chex mix kind of thing that has a 'may contain' warning, but no nuts listed in the actual ingredients. Not that anyone could *tell* me that, mind you. We boarded early to wash down the tray table, etc., & mentioned the peanut thing to the first attendant we encountered. She assured us there were no peanuts served. I was delighted & mentioned it in passing to the attendant who was near our seat. She looked at me like I had 2 heads & said, 'Of course we serve peanuts... they're in the mix.' Turns out she was wrong, but I think the lack of knowledge on the subject was typical for Delta... we kept getting conflicting info over the phone as well.

Anyway, as far as I can tell, Delta Express flights always serve this mix (It was even labeled 'Delta Express Mix') & my kid had no problem whatsoever. Just wanted to pass it on.


On Jan 2, 2003

My husband's cousin works for Delta (as an aircraft scheduler) and he sent us their policy for dealing with PA:

Delta Airlines: Alternative snacks are provided and served in the area around the person with anaphylaxis. They cannot guarantee total peanut free meals and advise customers to bring own food onboard. They notify the gate agents to pre-board the passenger allowing them to cleanse the immediate seat area before other passengers board. Special meals are also offered to comply with passenger special needs. Pretzels have replaced nuts in the main cabin.

Hope that helps a bit. Seems the good news is no peanut snacks on board. We're still fighting Qantas on that one...

On Jan 19, 2003

Thanks for all the recent info on Delta airlines. My parents surprised us with a trip to Disney World this March and they didn't even think about our 5 year old son's peanut allergy. I have already done the preliminary calling and emailing and have received different replies. Is there any airline that is completely peanut free??? I don't understand why this is so difficult! Anyway, thank you for all of the tips!!

On Jan 22, 2003

I've been looking into flights from Boston to Alabama and wanted to fly Delta because they have full size jet service into Huntsville (I'm nervous about those little planes). E-mailed Delta and got this response this morning. It made me feel sick just reading it, but I digress. Maybe given what helenmc posted, their policy is a little more workable? Hard to know what to think, I guess. I'm looking into some other airlines and will post what I find out too. I'll never understand the need to have peanuts on planes thing. [img][/img]

Anyway, the Delta e-mail:

"Delta provides a peanut-free buffer zone aboard our aircraft for susceptible passengers who request such an accommodation. This move reflects both our commitment to providing a safe traveling environment for the individual and our obligation of complying with federally mandated regulation.

The "peanut-free" zone would consist of the passenger's row and both those immediately in front and behind. Other than these areas, peanuts will continue to be offered on our flights.

It will be necessary for you to contact Delta's Reservations Department at 800-221-1212 to have your son's reservation documented that he is allergic to peanuts.

We appreciate your interest in Delta Air Lines.

Sincerely, L. Langford Online Customer Care"

On Jan 23, 2003


USAir serves no peanuts, but does serve cashews in first class. Does this work for your locale? We fly them all the time with zero problems.

On Jan 23, 2003

United also does NOT serve snack bags of peanuts, which would be helpful with airborne PA. Any TNA (tree nut) to deal with too? On United though you do have to be careful as to other snacks served: M&M's in boxed meals, snack bags of tree nuts, some other "may contain" foods.

Delta doesn't fool any one of us with their "peanut free zone." They are doing the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM to comply with federal regulations & ADA rules. Our family absolutely will not fly them. Their actual WHOGAS ("who gives a ****") attitude about PA really peeves us.

Fly UAL or USAir if you possibly can. Just realize that NO US airline is "PEANUT FREE" but rather only "PEANUT SNACK FREE."


On Jan 25, 2003

We flew Delta a few weeks ago and my PA son was treated like a KING. We got moved to the first row of the shuttle and they told us that they had just vaccummed and washed the area down. The allowed us to board the plane first and gave our children airplane cookies as a snack. They also did not serve anything on board but pretzels. However, I have to add that my husband is a Platinum Medallion with Delta so that may be why they handled our allergy situation so nicely.

On Jan 26, 2003


Originally posted by robinlp: [b]We flew Delta a few weeks ago and my PA son was treated like a KING. . . . However, I have to add that my husband is a Platinum Medallion with Delta so that may be why they handled our allergy situation so nicely.[/b]

Bingo. So glad Delta puts more value on the life of the Frequent Flyer child.