Over the last few months, Creative Nature have been busy running a campaign about safe and inclusive airline travel for those with allergies. In this guest blog, they are sharing more about the changes they would like to see being made to ensure allergy-friendly air travel.
Enhancing Airline Travel for Allergy Sufferers: A Call for Inclusive Changes
Guest blog by the team at Creative Nature
Airline travel has opened up new horizons for global exploration, yet the journey for those with allergies often comes with hurdles that dampen the excitement. Despite notable strides, there’s a pressing need for a more comprehensive approach to ensure safe and inclusive air travel for individuals with allergies.
The Current Situation
While some strides have been taken by airlines to cater to allergic passengers, there remain crucial gaps demanding attention. Allergen-free meal options are offered, but contamination risks during preparation persist, and coverage for all allergens is lacking. Inconsistent pre-boarding and in-flight announcements leave travellers uncertain about allergen exposure. Another concern arises from fellow passengers who might disregard nut-free guidelines. Even with announcements, nothing prevents them from consuming their own nut-based snacks.
At Creative Nature, we’re committed to the safety of all flyers. Airlines must step up to ensure the well-being of every passenger. Our mission includes fostering safe eating habits in-flight and educating fellow travellers about the gravity of avoiding nuts during air travel.
Educating Airline Crew
A pivotal move toward improving allergy-friendly air travel revolves around proper training for airline staff. Education on allergen awareness, emergency protocols, and use of allergy-related medical tools like epinephrine auto-injectors, is paramount for flight attendants and ground crew. Standardised training across airlines, regularly updated to align with medical guidelines, could prove life-saving.
Open and consistent communication is fundamental to addressing allergy-related concerns. Airlines should introduce uniform pre-boarding announcements to alert passengers about allergens, coupled with guidance on minimising risk. In-flight announcements should reinforce this information and provide instructions for allergy-related emergencies. Moreover, airlines could establish dedicated website sections outlining allergy policies, accommodations, and steps passengers can take to ensure their safety.
If a passenger onboard has a nut allergy, a strict ‘no-nut consumption’ policy should be enforced, not just a suggestion to ‘refrain.’ Enhanced clarity is needed before boarding, potentially including a notation on tickets for nut-free flights and a plea to avoid bringing nut-based products onboard.
Improving Allergen-Free Dining Choices
Although some airlines offer allergen-free meals, there’s room for advancement in terms of variety, availability, and preparation methods. Collaborating with allergen experts and nutritionists, airlines can craft extensive menus catering to diverse allergies. Emphasis must be placed on averting cross-contact during meal preparation and service by using separate utensils and designated preparation areas.
Expanding provision of allergen-safe snacks across airlines is crucial. This shift would ensure uniform food options for all passengers, eliminating life-threatening situations. Our contribution comes in the form of a range of allergen-free snacks designed to cater to the needs of all flyers.
Designating allergy-friendly seating zones on aircraft could offer a safer haven for allergic passengers. Stringent cleaning practices in these areas would minimise allergen exposure risk, while distancing from allergen-prone zones would be ensured. Allergic passengers could request seating in these specialised zones during booking, providing an added layer of protection.
Founder of Creative Nature, Julianne Ponan MBE says, “My stance on this issue is clear. Merely touching a surface contaminated with the allergen or inhaling it from someone eating nuts in close proximity could trigger an anaphylactic shock, causing me to stop breathing and potentially die. Passengers should be informed not to consume nuts on board, and if they refuse to comply, the nuts should be confiscated. I want to persuade airlines to treat passengers with allergies equally and provide them with the same level of consideration as other passengers receive. Why should people with allergies be denied the right to fly or go un-accommodated?”
As our world grows more interconnected, fostering an inclusive airline travel experience is imperative for allergy sufferers. Despite progress, a comprehensive overhaul is necessary to ensure the safety and comfort of these travellers. Through rigorous staff training, transparent communication, improved allergen-free dining choices, and dedicated allergy-friendly seating, we can reshape air travel into an empowering journey for everyone, allergies notwithstanding. Advocating for these changes collectively can transform airline travel into an accessible and delightful adventure for all.
Get involved in the campaign to improve airline travel for those with allergies
What have your experiences with air travel been as an allergy parent, or with allergies yourself? Head over to the Creative Nature Instagram or Facebook pages to share your experiences and keep up to date with their campaign.
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