Peanuts Still Fly in the Face of Airplane Snack Wars

But the allergic should take note: No airline can guarantee a peanut-free environment for the simple reason that none will act as Peanut Police -– none will prevent passengers from bringing peanuts onboard. And so many do (confession time: I have to admit that one company's Hot & Sweet peanut snack mix is mighty tasty). And snack packs aren't the only products that can be loaded or laced with peanuts: You can find them in candy bars, muffins, cereals, egg rolls, even chili.

Face it. Banning peanuts on planes is simply impossible. We can't even get the bulk of the aircraft passengers to turn off their cell phones.

For allergy sufferers, information is power, and there's a lot out there. Just Google "peanut + allergy" and you'll find more than 700,000 entries, not to mention numerous worldwide news accounts of the phenomena (I just read one over the weekend from Iran's Tehran Times).

Deciding for Yourself

Ultimately, this is one of those situations where fliers will simply have to take responsibility: Can you or your loved one fly in a peanut environment? Only you and your doctor can answer that question.

But there's no reason to fight about this. A peanut allergy is hardly a moral issue, or even a political one.

Besides, as we all know, there's always something to worry about; one of my commenters noted that he was allergic to pretzels!

Allergy sufferers have my sympathy. But my focus remains on the huge challenges facing the airline industry and how they're meeting those challenges, for now anyway, with terrific new airfare sales -- that most of us who can would do well to take advantage of.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Rick Seaney is one of the country's leading experts on airfare, giving interviews and analysis to news organizations, including ABC News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Associated Press and Bloomberg. His Web site FareCompare.com offers consumers free, new-generation software, combined with expert insider tips to find the best airline ticket deal.

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