Flying Airberlin with a peanut allergy

Flying Airberlin with a peanut allergy

Flying Airberlin with a peanut allergy

Flying Airberlin with a peanut allergy was one of those experiences where you realize regulations for food allergies are few and far between. We booked the flight with Airberlin because it was super cheap, at a good time, and it was only an hour long. After we had booked, I went to look for their allergy policy. Currently, there is no policy online. So the next best thing means, I would need to ask if they had any procedure in place when on board.

The first question when I got on the plane was: are peanuts even served or sold? Airberlin does not serve any free snacks. However, they do sell food, including a plethora of peanut snacks! From straight up peanuts to Snickers – you are in luck if you want a nutty snack and out of luck if you have a peanut allergy.

Flying Airberlin with a peanut allergy

EEEK! So many peanuts! (Here’s a game… how many nut products can you spot?)

Next, do they have any procedures in place for food allergies? I asked the flight attendant about their peanut policy and what they can do for a peanut allergy person. The answer was far from comforting. The flight attendant had no idea if there was a plan in place, nor did her supervisor. They understood that this was problematic, but there was nothing they could do. As for all the peanuts, they also said that there was nothing they could do and would continue to sell them, but perhaps not sell the nuts to the people in the rows bordering my seat? In the end, nothing was done to prevent peanuts from being consumed or sold on the plane.

No clue what to do with a peanut Allergy

I felt a little sorry for the flight attendant and her supervisor because they honestly had no idea how to handle a peanut allergy. It was a little bit of a deer in the headlights moment for them. They were friendly and open to hearing my thoughts on the whole peanuts on planes situation, but I feel like that may have been a fleeting moment.

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This goes to show that some airlines are totally on it when it comes to peanuts (shout out to Easyjet) and some are not.

When having this discussion the man sitting behind me chimed in with the classic awkward allergy joke, which I did not fully understand because it was in German, but was something along the lines of thank goodness I left my nuts at home *cue sarcastic knee slap. As much as I can take or leave, more leave, allergy humour, this opens the door for discussion and is the perfect opportunity to educate your neighbours on food allergies. Then they can act as an allergy champion and help ensure no one around you consumes or buys nuts.

Even though Airberlin had no idea what to do with a peanut allergy at least a few people left the flight with a new understanding of food allergies.

Flying Airberlin with a peanut allergy
View Comments (6)
  • You are a brave girl! When I encounter situations where risk of exposure is high, my next line of inquiry is about procedures if we have an anaphylactic reaction – especially over water. Do you? We carry 6 epi-pens but this really might buy 90-120 mins of protection. While flying over water, what do they do? I make sure that the airline knows ahead of time of the remote possibility that a diverted route would be required for a medical emergency. I make sure to alert the crew and captain again at boarding. We have this issue in April on Emirates Airline. Have you flown on Emirates? Really appreciate that you are blogging about your travels and attempts to eat out. You are a terrific educator!

    • Hi Christine,
      I am actually going to be posting about Emirates next week. I’ve flown with them several times, however never have I said anything about my allergies. I have unfortunately read two stories about how they handled food allergies by kicking the passenger off the plane. Instead I always take anti-histamines and my inhaler before boarding (ask your doc about this) and carry two EpiPens. I have not seen peanuts served on the plane and all the most of the food they serve has the ingredients listed.
      Have you contacted Emirates?
      – Kortney

      • K – thanks for replying!

        Would you be able to share the “safe” restaurants you visited in Dubai? We are going there 4/12 – 23.

        I called Emirates but you never know if you get the right person. they don’t accommodate in any way – I paid for reserved seating so that we got specific seats (last row, backing up to bathroom, farthest from food prep areas). They said I can bring own food for my son (he’s 11 and he’s the allergic one – had 5 anaphylactic reactions in his short lifetime). They said they’d make emergency stop if he has a reaction but don’t know how that will play out on a 14 hr flight. Best I can do is keep him from touching too many things and bring our own food. Plan to bring a sheet to put over any upholstery or carpet to stake out a safer space for him. Do you have any other ideas?


        • Hi Chris,

          We stay at the Meridien Dubai Airport Hotel because it has a ton of restaurants that are all really good with food allergies. I’ve eaten at Mahec the Indian restaurant (!!! so exciting because this is one cuisine I am afraid to eat most of the time), M’s Bistro, Sukhothai, and Casa Mia. I also ate at Eataly in the Dubai Mall. Here’s a post about my time in Dubai.

          The one warning I have is check the ingredient lists, both on the original packaging and on the new labelling. A lot of products have a sticker with new ingredient lists (they get this when imported) and I had the experience where the two labels had different ingredients listed (one with an allergen the other without). There is a Waitrose at the Dubai mall, which has well defined labels if you decide to go grocery shopping.

          Regarding flying, I always have a hoodie and a scarf when I travel. The hoodie to protect from the chair, but a blanket would probably work better. And the scarf is used to breathe into – I also carry medical masks, but have not needed to use them. You may also want to consider gloves, the first time I thought about this was when they served sesame on the plane.

          I hope you have a great time in Dubai. I’d love to hear about it when you get back 😀


          • Kortney – thank you for the tips!

            Do you know how you would handle an emergency on the plane or in Dubai? We are flying Chicago-Dubai nonstop on emirates. Have you ever looked into how an airline responds and how long it could take to get into an ambulance?

            And in Dubai, what’s the equivalent of 911 in the US? Do you have any recommendation for Best hospital for anaphylaxis or American tourists?

            would you always call ahead to restaurants? Even the ones you listed?

            Finally, do you use your cell phone there and if so do you buy a local SIM card to do that? Any tips for that are welcomed ! I need a phone for calling restaurants and in case of emergency!

            Thank you!

          • Hi Christine,

            I have not inquired into what would happen if I had an anaphylactic reaction on a plane. You may want to try No Nut Traveler for more info on that.

            The emergency number is 999. Here is a link of hospitals and more emergency numbers: Dubai Emerg & Hospitals. . The hotel we stay at has a hospital across the road, so I always feel safe that it’s around, but I can’t recommend any hospitals.

            I always call a restaurant ahead of time, in case they have changed policies/chefs/ingredients. It is also good to prepare them for your visit – many times they talk to the staff ahead of time so everyone is on the same page.

            I don’t have a cell phone when there (I have a super cheap plan). I do buy Skype credit and as long as there is wifi you can call using Skype – this is what I did when I was in Australia.

            Happy Travels,
            Kortney 😀

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