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KCRA Channel 3 News, Sacramento, CA:Family Has Run-In With Airline Over Peanut Policy

6 replies [Last post]
By Nutternomore on Thu, 07-01-04, 05:52


CALL 3: Family Has Run-In With Airline Over Peanut Policy
POSTED: 4:09 PM PDT June 30, 2004
UPDATED: 4:30 PM PDT June 30, 2004

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network says 1.5 million people are allergic to peanuts -- most of them children. Exposure to skin, or peanut dust in the air, can be deadly. So, imagine how Sacramento parents felt when their son had a reaction on an airplane.

Thomas George's parents say they took special care when planning a vacation from Sacramento to Mazatlan last month. They say they booked on America West and called at least a month before the flight, asking that peanuts not be served.

"We can not guarantee that our flights will be a peanut-free flight, which means peanuts may or may not be served on the flight," said America West spokesperson Shaun Breese.

Thomas' parents say that when they boarded, they learned peanuts would be served, and that the airline officials told them if that was a problem, they had to get off the plane. Airline officials say the family chose to deplane.

"I was pleading with the head stewardess, saying, 'Are you really willing to risk my son's life over a few bags of peanuts?'" said Matthew George, Thomas' father.

America West says the decision comes down to cost and risk. It says that peanuts are a low-cost, high-protein snack option that helps keep fares low, and that passengers often bring on their own food.

"How do you tell a customer who brings on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that they can't eat it next to this little boy?" Breese said.

"They're saying to these passengers, 'We don't want to be bothered. We want to give out peanuts. We don't want to do anything for you. We don't want your business," said Ann Munoz-Furlong, founder of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.

The Federal Aviation Administration says no airline can, or does, guarantee a peanut-free flight. The Department of Transportation tried to require airlines to create peanut-free buffer zones, but congressional opponents crushed the idea.

There airlines that have created their own peanut policies.

Airlines that don't serve peanuts or, in some cases, peanut products:
[list][*]Frontier Airlines[/*:m][*]Jet Blue[/*:m][*]Northwest[/*:m][*]American Airlines[/*:m][*]Delta[/*:m][*]United, United Express[/*:m][/list:u]

Airlines that will/may make some accommodations:
[list][*]Southwest[/*:m][*]Aloha Airlines[/*:m][/list:u]

Airlines that serve peanuts and make no guarantees or accommodations:
[list][*]Continental Airlines[/*:m][*]Mexicana Airlines[/*:m][*]Alaska Airlines[/*:m][*]Horizon Airlines[/*:m][*]America West[/*:m][/list:u]

The FAA doesn't regulate what foods airlines serve, and says it's up to passengers to carry medication if they have a severe allergy.

America West tried to find the family another airline, but the two they tried had similar peanut policies.

America West did refund the Georges' money.

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By Nutternomore on Thu, 07-01-04, 05:58

I see that Matthew recently posted here [url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum9/HTML/000289.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum9/HTML/000289.html[/url] that America West is now in the process of reviewing its food policy.

Anyone that would like to voice their opinion directly to America West can do so by using the contact info provided by Matthew in his post.

[i]Matthew, welcome to the boards. Sorry to hear that you received such shoddy treatment. At least FAAN is backing you in the media, and thank you for putting your story out there to raise visibility on this issue.[/i]

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By synthia on Thu, 07-01-04, 12:16

Matthew,sorry your family had to go thur this,and thank you for putting your story out there to raise visibility on this issue.

Love this site

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By toomanynuts on Thu, 07-01-04, 16:37

Did you ever get to take your trip? If so, what airline did you use? If not, did you get a refund for your trip? Hope all is well.

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By momma2boys on Fri, 07-02-04, 03:32

Matthew, welcome. So sorry your family had to go through this. What a bunch of crap! Why can't they just give out pretzels? And as far as how do you tell them they can't eat pb&j next to this kid? I'm sure that if you went up to most people and said "We have a child who could die from you eating that sandwich. Could you please wait to eat it?" That most people would be more than willing to not eat it.

I guess we know what is more important to them [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] .

How old is your son? Is he contact or airborne allergic?

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By AnneH on Tue, 07-06-04, 18:06

No, we didn't get to take our trip. The friends we were traveling with had to go without us, which was a bummer for them as well. We'd been planning the trip for months.

Anne (Matthew's wife)

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By nancymyrick on Mon, 02-28-11, 06:19

I am so sorry for you and know exactly how you feel. My son and I were thrown off an American Airlines flight in 09 when he was only 9 years old because the women sitting next to me was eating peanut products. After pulling out her first thing, she graciously offered her second as a subsitute, which was granola and had peanuts in it so I offerened to move instead of asking her to (thinking I was being nice). AA asked me and my crying son to get off a full plane, making a spectical, and stand in the breeze way for 30 minutes without speaking to me. I wasn't even sure if I was going to be arrested at this point (although I had not even raised my voice by that's how crazy this all was). Eventually somoneone looked at me and said, "do you have an epi pen" which I though was a great question if only asked hours ago. I said I had several plus a medical braclet, etc. Finally they put us back on the plane in different seats and after I filled out my complaint to the DOT, i was told there was no issue because AA had filled their end of the bargin...they had "given us a ride". I was speechless. I never asked for my money back on a ticket or any type of law suit, I just wanted the laws to be changed and now to find out they aren't makes me sick!

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