In October, Southwest Airlines® stopped allowing passengers with peanut allergy to pre-board flights. Pre-boarding allows those with a peanut allergy to wipe down the surfaces and seating around them.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), the parent organization of Kids with Food Allergies (KFA), immediately voiced opposition to this boarding policy change and began contacting the Department of Transportation (DOT) and other administration officials.
On Nov. 16, AAFA joined other food allergy advocates in filing a formal complaint against Southwest to DOT. The complaint alleges that Southwest is in violation of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) which protects the rights of passengers with disabilities. Severe food allergy is a disability under the ACAA and airlines are required to offer pre-boarding to passengers with a disability.
On Dec. 1, Southwest responded to our complaint and is planning to restore pre-boarding to people with severe nut allergy on Dec. 15th. While AAFA is pleased that Southwest reversed its policy, our work is not done. Southwest continues to single-out nut allergy and does not seem to understand that the ACAA protects passengers with all severe food allergies.
Stay tuned for further updates on this issue! Please comment below or contact us if you continue to experience pre-boarding issues on Southwest with peanut, tree nut, or any other food allergies.