American Airlines will Allow Early Boarding for Passengers with Nut Allergies, per Bloomberg, effective December 12, 2018. The pre-boarding is to allow these passengers to wipe down the seat area, cleansing it of any potential nut residue from previous passengers who could have eaten nuts in the area.
This is good news for those with severe nut and peanut allergies, the most severe of which result in anaphylactic shock and death, if not treated immediately with epinephrine. My husband recently went into anaphlaxis while we were in Copenhagen, due to an allergen (not nuts) that he is severely allergic to, and it was terrifying. Fortunately, Copenhagen is an ideal place if you have a medical emergency, and we're incredibly grateful to the doctors and nurses who treated him. Anyone inclined to begrudge early boarding to those with severe allergies probably hasn't witnessed someone nearly dying due to anaphylaxis.
Some of my clients have kids that have life-threatening peanut and nut allergies, so I'm happy with any news that can make their travels a bit more manageable. Currently Delta is the most allergy-friendly of U.S. airlines (see Best and Worst Airlines for Peanut and Nut Allergies), with a policy that not only allows pre-boarding for those with allergies (including pet and other allergies), but also promises not to serve peanuts and peanut products during your flight, and advises passengers to advise a Delta representative if they need to change seats due to an allergy or health need.
The American Airlines change, on the other hand, was prompted not by following Delta's lead or out of AA's inherent consideration for allergy sufferers, but instead in reaction to a DOT complaint filed back in January 2017 by FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), followed by a formal complaint in February 2017, that was prompted by a Washington State family being refused the opportunity to pre-board to wipe down seats due to the family's son having a life-threatening peanut allergy. American Airlines continued to deny allergic individuals the option to pre-board, and only as of 12/12/18, when the AA service manuals are updated, will the new pre-boarding policy for nut and peanut allergic passengers take effect.
Will you or someone you know be affected by the new American Airlines Pre-Boarding Option for Passengers with Nut or Peanut Allergies?
Become a TravelSort Client and Book 5-Star Hotels with Virtuoso or Four Seasons Preferred Partner Benefits