Although I don’t personally have food allergies, my daughter — the inspiration for SnackSafely.com — is allergic to peanuts and eggs. Given our family history of over 20 years coping with food allergies, we are always on the lookout for potential cross-contact.
Which brings me to my “Friendly Skies” encounter. Returning to the East Coast aboard a United flight yesterday, I had just settled into my seat and was just about to stuff my headphones into the seat pocket when I noticed this:
What you see is a half-eaten Snickers bar (“Packed with peanuts, Snickers really satisfies”) and a napkin likely used to wipe the mouth of the prior passenger. To make matters worse, the nougat was spread across the interior of the pocket in a sticky mess.
Aside from being grossed out, I was thankful it was me who found it and not some middle schooler with a peanut allergy.
I cleaned out the pocket with wipes and notified the flight attendant that it needed to be sanitized once we landed.
It’s important to note that post-COVID-19 epidemic, flights are turned around faster upon landing leaving less time for sanitation, so passengers need to be extra vigilant.
There are two important takeaways from this all-too-personal story. First, you never know when and how you might be exposed to your allergen of concern when flying, so ALWAYS TAKE TWO EPINEPHRINE AUTO-INJECTORS on board and don’t hesitate to use them if necessary.
The second is to be sure to preboard so you can inspect and wipe down your seating area whether you have a food allergy or care for a passenger who does. If you see a potential tragedy-in-waiting like this one, demand to be reseated elsewhere.
Has something similar happened to you? Sound off in the comment section below.