Flying Brussels Airlines with a peanut allergy really depends on where you are flying. This summer, I flew from Berlin to Brussels and then Brussels to Toronto with Brussels Airlines. The European flight and the transatlantic flight had very different experiences for food allergies.
Flying Brussels Airlines with a Peanut Allergy within Europe
The first flight within Europe had food for purchase with one of the items being Peanut M&Ms. The Brussels Airlines website shows what foods are being sold on the flight and from the language of their allergy policy, they will not stop selling items to accommodate an allergy.
To lower any risk of contact with my allergens, I took the first flight out that day. Early flights (before 9am) are safer because people tend to sleep more than they want to eat. If you fly around a meal time your chances of encountering an allergen is higher. As always, I made sure to double clean all the surfaces.
Transatlantic flight with Brussels Airlines
The long-haul flight was different since they provide you with food. There were no peanuts served; however, they are not an allergen-free airline. They admitted to serving nuts on the plane (maybe in business class) and served food containing other top allergens like fish, egg, dairy, soy, and wheat.
The most nerve wrecking part of flying overseas for me is when they hand out the pre-meal snack. This is rarely peanuts nowadays, but I have seen sesame pretzels, almonds, mixed tree nuts and other things like crackers. When they start handing them out, I get really nervous – since who knows what the little packets of savoury snacks will contain. This time around they were a mixed snack of pretzels and crackers that contained poppy seeds. And so is the life of someone with multiple food allergies, more often than not the snack will have an allergen, this flight it was poppy seeds.
A gluten-free meal on Brussels Airlines
Out of curiosity, I pre-ordered a gluten-free meal to see what they would serve and how they catered to dietary restrictions. Since I write about airlines and travelling with food allergies, I felt it was important to know this side of the air travel. If you can believe it, the regular meal had the ingredients listed, but the gluten-free one did not. They did list the bread ingredients however the pudding, salad and main meal remained a mystery. It looked like the GF meal was also dairy free, but contained soy. This goes to show how important it is to bring your own food because the ingredients are not guaranteed to be listed, and you never know what ‘may contain’ statements you will come across.
I did not eat the meal, nor did I plant too. I usually offer anyone around me the chance at a second meal, this time my husband ate the special meal. I also take pictures of my neighbour’s meal (and snacks) if my husband isn’t eating. I ate my own food on this flight.
The warm snack that was served near the end of the flight was a quiche for the GF option and focaccia for everyone else. This time ingredients were listed.
A quick wrap up
Overall I think the airline has a lot of room to grow concerning having a better allergy policy, but I do appreciate their honesty about having nuts on the plane. Knowing this can help you decide if you feel comfortable flying with them.
Have you flown with Brussels Airlines? Leave a review on Allergy Travels to help other travellers make more informed choices when booking their next trip.
Kortney is your typical atopic triad who manages asthma, eczema and multiple food allergies. Kortney is a co-creator of the online community Allergy Travels and co-host of The Itch Podcast. She wants to spread joy in a community that can easily see the hard side of life with atopic disease and believes that you can have a full life with food allergies, it may just be lived a little differently!