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Episode 28: Flying with Food Allergies: The Latest News and Conversation with the No Nut Traveler (7/29/20)

In this episode, we catch up with Lianne Mandelbaum, air travel food allergy advocate and Founder of the No Nut Traveler. Ms. Mandelbaum shares the latest news and a few shocking stories about passenger experiences with food allergies on airplanes including the impact of the "shame factor" of disclosing an allergen to an airline. 


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Lianne Mandelbaum, MS, PT
Founder, NoNutTraveler.com

In 2013, following a negative travel experience with her family, Lianne founded nonuttraveler.com - an advocacy website for food allergic flyers.  Her goal is to increase awareness of the seriousness of life-threatening food allergies with an emphasis on air travel.  The site provides resources and tools so that food allergic passengers can make informed decisions in choosing airlines and mitigate their risk. 

Lianne Mandelbaum, MS, PT Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons is a prolific food allergy writer. She is a featured contributor for Huffington Post, The Mighty, KevinMD and Allergic Living, and to date, has published over 40 articles. Her tips for flying with a food allergy were featured in a piece for the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research at Stanford. She was the recipient of the FARE 2013 Leadership Award, the 2017 FARE Vision Award and has been recognized as an Allergy Advocate by Allergic Living.

She is also a noted public speaker and frequent media source on food allergy issues and has been interviewed by the New York Times, Forbes, Bloomberg, Condé Nast Traveler, Allergic Living, Yahoo!, CNN, Fox, ABC News, CBS News, Scientific American, Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, MarketWatch, and others.

Lianne is personally committed to raising awareness amongst airlines as well as consumers and to mitigate the risks of flying with a food allergy. In October of 2014, she presented at the Universal Access in Airports conference sponsored by Open Doors and was able to educate those airlines, FAA, DOT and FAA and many individual airline members in attendance to the dangers of flying with a life-threatening food allergy. She helped to design a training module that Open Doors now uses in all its CRO (complaint resolution officers) classes specific to the food allergic passenger.

She has also spoken about the challenges of flying with a food allergy in multiple forums including International Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Alliance (IFAAA) Meeting, Food Allergy Fund Summit, Food Allergy Research & Education Summit, Food Allergy Conference for Education and Science (FACES), and the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center. She has also participated on multiple panels to encourage investment in food allergy space.

She collects and shares testimonials regarding flying experiences from food allergic families on No Nut Traveler. She shares these testimonials with lawmakers, media, and food allergy advocacy groups and in doing so, hopes to influence the airlines and government to create food allergy airline policies that are fair and evenly promulgated throughout the airline industry.

Lianne was part of a team that collaborated on the right to pre-board U.S. airlines as food allergy passengers under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). This effort yielded a successful Department of Transportation (DOT) ruling and importantly the recognition that food allergy is considered a disability under the ACAA. Recently, Lianne has worked with Family Promise of Essex County, an organization that houses homeless families in churches and synagogues to help train and educate volunteer coordinators and staff on how to host families who come into the network with food allergies.