The name of this post is actually a misnomer. I don't really know anything about flying with food allergies.
In fact, yesterday, I realized that I really don't know anything about flying OR food allergies at all.
And, if you want to tell me that peanuts aren't offered on any flights any more, slow your roll. Four flights this weekend. Four offers of peanuts. Eight flights last month - six offers of peanuts. I'm not making this stuff up for my amusement.
I've flown a lot. Coincidently, I think I've encountered every weird/odd/annoying problem you could imagine while flying. Missed flight? Lost luggage? Spilled drink, crying baby, surly flight attendants? Man changing a child's diaper on the fold-down tray? Broken shoe as you're running for your flight? Running through the entire airport carrying 50 pounds of luggage?
Pshaw. Done it all.
More than a few times, I have heard flight attendants announce that, due to peanut allergic individuals on board, they would not be serving peanuts on the flight, and if we had them in our possession, could we please refrain from eating them.
I thought myself, "Wow. That's awfully nice. If I ever fly with my food allergic kids, I will have to make that request."
Well, I'm flying with my kids in two months, so I thought that I would go ahead and call the airline, to see how I could go about getting this set up. I'm not stupid – I knew that making this request would not be the only thing I would have to do. After all, you can make announcements as much as you want, but people don't have to follow them. I had already planned to bring bleach wipes, to wipe down the arm rest, tray table, and anything else I could see. I had planned to bring a fitted sheet to fit over the seat for my child to sit on.
The announcement would just be icing on the cake, I thought. After all, there are four of us flying. One of us will have to sit by his or herself, and the odds are, it would be the child with the peanut allergies. I planned to very nicely ask those in this row not to eat the peanut snacks, and plannedto bring multiple snacks on board to swap, share, and enjoy.
I did not anticipate making this request of the airline would be such a big deal.
The name of the airline doesn't matter. It could be any one of the many airlines. I have to say, that although I know it was an out of the ordinary request, my heart is hurting just a little bit for people who cannot manage to think of another person safety. For the social media representative to tell me that it was too complicated of a request, and something that they would not be able to handle, kind of threw me for a loop a little bit.
Don't get me wrong – I know that my kids food allergy is my issue, and my kids issue. It is not the issue of the general public. I've always instructed that my food allergic kids advocate for themselves. I've always told them that the world will not keep them safe, that it is up to them.
Right now, as minor children, it is up to me.
I've taught them to read labels. I've taught them to dispense Benadryl, to auto inject an EpiPen, to always keep one with them. I taught them to wear medic alert bracelets, never to eat food that they are unsure of, and to always speak up at restaurants. Ask, ask, ask, I've always said. Most people are good. Most people are kind. Most people don't want to see you have a reaction, most people don't want to stab you with an epi pen.
I always ask about food allergies. Most of the people in my life do as well. I love them for it, for it shows a level of kindness and consideration and affection for my kids.
I just wish that businesses, especially businesses that just took a very large chunk of money to transport four people across the country, had the same level of consideration.
I still plan to ask at the gate. I still plan to talk to the flight attendants, talk to the seat companions, talk and talk and talk. It's my kids first flight - I want it to be a very good experience, one that they will remember forever - and not for the wrong reasons.
I know some of you will disagree with me. Someone is sure to comment and tell me to get over myself, it's not a big deal, stop trying to get everyone to follow your steps and commands.
On this, I won't.