JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – American Airlines is making changes for people who suffer from peanut and tree-nut allergies.
They will be able to board early to wipe down their seats to avoid potential exposure to allergens.
The airline says starting on Dec. 12, customers can ask at the gate if they would like to board early. They will not need to show proof of allergy.
American Airlines joins Delta who already allows pre-boarding for passengers with a nut allergy.
Last year, a woman whose son has a life-threatening allergy and Food Allergy Research & Education filed a complaint against American.
American Airlines is one of several airlines that no longer hands out peanuts on the plane but they can’t control what snacks passengers may bring on the plane with them. The new policy is an extra measure to protect those people with nut allergies.
"Any customer who feels she or he needs to wipe down surfaces as a precaution may do so at any time during the boarding process -- we are simply offering the ability to board early for those who specially request it," American said in a statement.
No word on whether Southwest or United will change their policies.
About 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies.
News4Jax spoke to several travelers at the Jacksonville International Airport who said they think the new policy will help ease concerns for those who suffer from any nut allergies.
“I think any policy that helps speed along the process and make sure that there aren’t any issues once people are already on the plane and trying to get to their destination is definitely a good policy,” Nick Lulli said.
Ardijana Haxha, who was traveling with her daughter, said she thinks the new policy will help ease concerns for parents flying with a child allergic to nuts.
“Anything could happen at any given time, and when you have a small child, it’s dangerous compared to an adult having an allergic reaction," Haxha said. "But I think that’s awesome, that helps.”
It is unclear if you need to bring your own supplies to clean the area around your seat if you pre-board. Other airlines, like Delta, that do allow pre-boarding, require passengers to bring their own cleaning supplies.