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Would You Pretend to Have a Nut Allergy to Board Early?

Would You Pretend to Have a Nut Allergy to Board Early?
Jennifer Billock

American Airlines has made a change in its process for boarding passengers with allergies. Before they didn’t get special treatment — but now passengers who have a peanut allergy are allowed to preboard so they can wipe down their seats with sanitizing wipes. Only one problem: How will it be policed?

The Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) group recently filed a complaint against American Airlines, noting that the airline doesn’t allow passengers with allergies to preboard in order to wipe down their seats. FARE said this puts the airline directly in opposition to the Air Carrier Access Act.

According to the complaint, reported by Loyalty Lobby, “FARE contends that American has an explicit and publicly-stated policy prohibiting passengers from preboarding to wipe down surfaces. FARE alleges that this policy not only discriminates against passengers with allergies, but is also misleading because it implies that passengers have no federally protected right to preboard on the basis of allergy. Specifically, FARE cites 14 CFR 382.93, which provides that carriers must ‘offer preboarding to passengers with a disability who self-identify at the gate as needing additional time or assistance to board, stow accessibility equipment, or be seated.’ FARE concludes that American’s policy violates the ACAA and section 382.93.”

American Airlines responded to the complaint, saying that moving forward, the airline will “allow passengers with peanut and tree nut allergies to preboard in order to wipe down seating areas.”

Basically, that means that anyone can claim they have an allergy and preboard the plane if they’re carrying sanitizing wipes.


[Image Source: Shutterstock]donuts,

View Comments (7)


  1. mathfool

    May 24, 2019 at 6:52 am

    Doesn’t sound true to me. The ABC story only interviewed 2 renters and 1 attorney. The attorney didn’t sound reputable at all.

  2. miami888

    May 24, 2019 at 7:08 am

    This type of behavior is making Americans (US residents) look like horrible people.

  3. Dubai Stu

    May 24, 2019 at 7:14 am

    It will absolutely be abused. We will have the same person with their support cat, weak bladder, peanut allergy, and claustrophobia (which needs a first class seat as an accommodation).

  4. DCAFly

    May 24, 2019 at 9:45 am

    I’m confused. There was a big hullabaloo over this on the AA threads a while back. Did the policy never get implemented?

  5. alangore


    May 24, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    Do you also get to prevent anyone else on the plane from having nuts if they want them?

  6. Gizzabreak

    May 25, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Sounds like a reasonable concession … just like the allergy sufferers get when they ride the metro/subway/tube etc. Considering the nooks, crannies, seams etc (nut fragment and residue traps) that adorn soft upholstery, might is not be more clinically sensible to have a small section of the aircraft seating in formed, seamless, stainless steel (metro/subway/tube seating equivalent) for those who declare allergies requiring sterile seating (and surroundings)?

  7. The Pompous Man

    May 26, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    I would do it.

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