An Australian woman described flying with a nut allergy as like having "a person holding a loaded gun to your head" - and now a US airline is making things easier for these passengers.

American Airlines announced it will allow passengers with tree nut allergies to board early, so they can wipe down their seats to avoid potential exposure to allergens, Bloomberg reports.

"Customers with nut allergies who would like to board flights early to wipe down surfaces may ask to do so at the gate," American said in a statement.

While the airline doesn't serve nuts on its flight, the measure has been implemented as it cannot stop other passengers bringing their own snacks on board.

Advertisement

This week, news.com.au reported on an Australian woman who had an allergic reaction from what she believed was nut residue on a flight.

Em Lee said her children were "terrified" she would die during her episode, though she deemed it to be only a "minor" reaction.

"Having a life-threatening airborne allergy is like boarding a plane and enduring the whole flight with a person holding a loaded gun to your head. It is horrible," Ms Lee said.

Posted by Em Lee on Monday, 5 November 2018

In May, a brother and sister, both with severe nut allergies, claimed Emirates flight crew told them to spend the seven-and-a-half hour flight in the plane's bathroom if they wanted to avoid nuts being served in the cabin.

Shannen, 24, and Sundeep Sahota, 33, said they told Emirates staff three times of their potentially life-threatening allergy but 40 minutes into the flight, the pair were "panic-stricken" when they learned the chicken main course contained cashews.

They feared they would be exposed to nut residue that could be carried through air vents. Emirates apologised for the incident but said it "cannot guarantee completely nut-free flights".

Nuts have been popular snacks served on flights, to the despair of allergy sufferers. Photo / Getty Images
Nuts have been popular snacks served on flights, to the despair of allergy sufferers. Photo / Getty Images

In March, a mother slammed American Airlines after her son, 10, nearly died after eating a cashew on a flight from Aruba to the United States.

Complaints over the issue were laid by a passenger and Food Allergy Research & Education, which prompted the policy change.

The measure goes into effect on December 12. Another US airline, Delta Air Lines, also allows early boarding for passengers with nut allergies