Food allergies are a pain. Just ask the poor kid on a Singapore Airlines flight who vomited and suffered from swollen eyes after fellow passengers munched on peanuts served onboard. And it’s not like the toddler even ate any of it — he apparently merely inhaled the airborne peanut particles. Thankfully, the three-year-old boy recovered after his parents gave him anti-allergy medication (we shudder to think about what would’ve happened if there was no medicine at hand).
Singapore Airlines is currently reviewing the serving of peanuts on its flights after this incident. After all, being allergic to peanuts is very common in the world of food allergies.
But strangely enough, you can be allergic to peanuts and yet be completely fine chomping on other nut varieties — peanuts, which grow underground, are not the same as tree nuts such as almonds and cashews. So now you know. Here’s a quick look at the peanut-free snacks offered by our national carrier and other airlines.
1. Singapore Airlines
Peanut-free snacks served: Chocolates like Kit Kat and Tim Tam, dried fruit including mangoes and cranberries, potato chips and pretzels.
Stuff to note: Ask for peanut-free snacks and meals 48 hours before departure. A colleague who suffers from severe nut allergies tells us that asking for a nut-free meal isn’t the same as declaring a nut allergy. When she travels on SIA, her nut allergy is noted as part of her passenger profile and the flight crew creates a “two-person radius peanut-free zone” around her. This means that every two passengers in front of, behind, next to, and across from her aren’t served peanuts. From her experience, the nut-safe circle of travellers gets a “warm ham and cheese sandwich or croissant”. Wait, doesn’t that sound way better than peanuts?
2. British Airways
Peanut-free snacks served: Potato chips, chocolates, scones, and sandwiches.
Stuff to note: Ask for nut-free snacks and meals 24 hours before departure.
Peanut-free snacks served: Instant egg (pre-packaged hard-boiled egg), dried fruits like mandarin orange and peach, cup noodles. FYI: While these snacks don’t contain peanuts, they may have been handled in factories that also process peanuts.
Stuff to note: Ask for nut-free snacks and meals 72 hours before departure.
Airlines with stricter peanut bans
• Air New Zealand
The Kiwi carrier does not serve any peanuts or peanut derivatives. However, its website states that it "cannot guarantee there are no trace elements of peanuts" in its food. It does, however, serve other nut varieties in its meals and as snacks on Business Class flights.
The Aussie airline has reportedly stopped serving peanuts on all its flights and airport lounges since 2007.
Peanuts on planes: yay or nay? Cast your vote here!