Dua Lipa Calls out United Airlines for Not Accommodating Sister’s Nut Allergy

Jul 25, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Pop singer Dua Lipa called out United Airlines in a tweet Wednesday because the airline did not accommodate her sister who has a severe nut allergy.

Lipa says she informed a flight attendant that her sister had a severe allergy, and he replied there was nothing the cabin crew could do, encouraging her to use an EpiPen — a medical device used to slow the effects of anaphylactic shock — if she had an attack.

United’s online allergy policy states that it does not serve pre-packaged peanuts onboard, but “due to the presence of food allergens in the processing environment and in meals and snacks served, United cannot guarantee an allergen-free meal or environment on its flights.”

“If you have concerns about a severe food allergy, please notify a flight attendant on board the aircraft,” United’s allergy policy goes on to say. “In some cases, we may be able to pass along your request to other customers seated nearby to refrain from opening and eating any allergen-containing products they may have brought on board.”

TPG reached out to United for more information, but the airline referred us to its Twitter response to Lipa’s tweet. “Passenger safety is our top priority,” United’s tweet says. “We can’t guarantee an allergen-free environment but we work to address allergy concerns onboard ie we don’t serve pre-packaged peanuts. We want to address your concerns so let’s connect when you land. We’ll contact our in-flight crew too.”

Nut allergies are a recurring point of contention for US airlines. Most US carriers stopped serving peanuts on board, with Southwest being the most recent to ditch the potentially harmful snacks earlier in July. (A recent high-profile case of a 9-year-old boy suffering a severe reaction to peanuts served on board, despite his parents warning the cabin crew, might have played a role.)

Most US airlines will try to accommodate passengers with severe food allergies, which are now recognized as federally protected disabilities, especially if the passenger calls 24 hours in advance. But each airline’s policy is different. The US Department of Transportation lists each airline’s nut policy here.

There is a chance, however, that if a flyer does report a severe food allergy in advance, the pilot will refuse to board that passenger. That is completely legal and at the pilot’s discretion because it is a potential safety issue.

Featured image by Kevin Kane/Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.