How to avoid nut and peanut induced allergic reactions on airplanes

Flying with a peanut allergy

A study was carried out to identify what can reduce the risk of having an allergic reaction on-board a plane.

There are few situations which are more stressful for people with peanut or tree nut allergies than flying on an airplane.

Airline policy for people with allergies differs between airlines and countries. Some airlines stop serving nuts and peanuts, some make an announcement requesting other passengers refrain from eating peanut and tree nut products, creating nut free buffer zones and allowing pre-boarding. Some airlines make no allowances for people with allergies.

An online survey was completed by visitors of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis alliance (FAAA). The survey looked at people who had flown with an allergy and what factors may reduce the risk of an allergic reaction.

3273 people completed the survey from 11 countries and 40 airlines. 349 of those people reported an in-flight allergic reaction.



From the results, the researchers have found 8 potentially risk-reducing behaviours:

  1. Requesting any accommodation;
  2. Requesting a peanut/tree nut free buffer zone;
  3. Requesting an announcement that passengers not eat any peanut/tree nut containing foods;
  4. Requesting a peanut/tree nut free meal;
  5. Wiping their tray table;
  6. Bringing their own food from home;
  7. Avoiding use of the airline provided pillow and
  8. Avoiding use of the airline provided blanket.

The study showed that most travellers brought their own food and nearly all brought their own adrenaline.

The study also showed that, although the adrenaline was easily available, it was used in very few of the reported reactions with most of the reactions being treated with anti-histamine. Only half of the reactions were reported to flight crew, and this was associated with higher odds that adrenaline would be given.

These findings could provide a starting point for airlines to develop practical, risk reducing policies for those with allergies.

For more information how how to stay safe when travelling with allergies, check out our blog here:



Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Allergy Lifestyle Limited (t/a) Allergy Lifestyle) uses reasonable endeavours to check the accuracy of information provided however no warranty is given that they are error-free. Always seek the advice of an allergy specialist and follow your anaphylaxis emergency care plan.

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