Woman wearing mask in airport

What Happens When A Plane Passenger Has A Severe Food Allergy

By Mina Elwell


Airline guidelines about protecting passengers with serious allergies are vague and often left up to the discretion of the flight crew, who may not know much about allergy safety.
According to allergist Dr. Martin Smith, "Another passenger eating a Snickers bar, or even a peanut butter sandwich, poses no significant risk to the other passenger."
In general, doctors agree that a passenger in a different row eating peanuts before boarding is unlikely to cause a serious allergic reaction during the flight.
Announcements about allergies aren't guaranteed. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there are no official rules on how airlines should handle a severe allergy.
If a passenger does experience anaphylaxis, the airline crew may not be equipped to help. If you have a severe allergy, pack your own epinephrine autoinjector in your carry-on.
Before flying, research the airline's official policy on allergies, check out the special meal options, and reach out with any other special requests so that the staff is prepared.