Airline madness...

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 2:19am
Rach's picture
Joined: 05/01/2001 - 09:00

I know this is a travel issue, but I thought I'd post here because it sort of is a wider issue as well with regards to some attitudes towards life threatening allergies.

I'm going to Finland in 2 months and called the airline to explain the situation with regards to PA/TNA and to request that nuts were not sold on the plane. Well, the operator I spoke to said their policy was to make no provision for this kind of situation. I asked what would be sold on the plane, so that I could determine if it was within my comfort zone, and the noly product that caused me to worry was peanut M and Ms. I asked if there was any way these could not be sold on the plane for the flights that I am booked on, and she said no way.

The most worrying part was that she said that she didn't think I should be worried because the peanuts are covered in chocolate, which would mean I can't react. A chocolate barrier????!!!! I really think some people are absolutely mad! I explained to her about anaphylactic shock etc, but she was absolutely having none of it.

I have to say that this is possibly one of the most ignorant comments I have ever heard. She also said that I would need to surrender my EpiPen to cabin crew upon entering the aeroplane....No chance, not if they're selling nuts on board. Thankfully the flight is not too long, and I am travelling with a lot of friends, so I feel like I can still go, but I really am shocked at their attitude.

My question is, is it really easier for them to land the plane if I go into anaphylactic shock, or would it actually be easier for them not to serve the M and Ms??

The answer seems pretty clear to me!

Sorry, just a vent, but it is mind boggling!

Take care

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 2:40am
ajgauthier's picture
Joined: 04/13/2005 - 09:00

I think you need to call them back and ask for the "disability manager" or "special care coordinator" --- speak with a manager. By no means is the first customer service rep to answer the phone the final need to speak with a manager.
Adrienne :-)
30-year old survivor of severe peanut/tree nut allergy

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 2:48am
qdebbie1's picture
Joined: 02/10/2005 - 09:00

a chocolate barrier.
We are all cured by the medical miracle of chocolate.
It does have some healing powers but preventing a peanut allergy. Heck with the epi, grab a hersheys and go.
People are stupid.
Our epi went thru security and on the plane with no questions asked, of course that was not international flying.
Yes keep calling and working your way up to someone with a brain.
Good luck.

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 3:01am
Adele's picture
Joined: 01/31/2005 - 09:00

Hello Rach,
What airline are you flying?
I, and others here on, fly a lot, domestic and international. I've NEVER been asked to turn over my epi to the cabin crew. I would not even mention your epi to the airline.
Also, don't mention your epi when you go through security unless they take it out of your bag and question it. Then, just make sure you have the prescription for it and a letter from the doctor.
A few months ago I was 'selected' to be searched more thoroughly. The agents emptied my purse and took out the box with the epi-pens. I just said, 'I carry that because I'm allergic to peanuts' and they didn't even open the box or question it. They acted like they knew what it was.
What kind of idiot thinks that chocolate is a barrier against peanut protein. Good grief. What a joke!

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 3:21am
Dunpun's picture
Joined: 01/26/2004 - 09:00

I also say call back and talk to someone else if possible. That has to be one of the dumbest statements I've heard. I would also never give up my epi (especially with the peanuts being served) (oh, right they're dippped in chocolate, I forgot) [img][/img]
Good luck, hope it works out for you.

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 4:07am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Well, if I knew that chocolate coating prevented peanuts from causing a reaction I would have stocked up on peanut M&Ms and Goobers!
I agree with the others--ask to speak to a manager. Also, if you wrote the name of whom you spoke to first, give that to the manager and explain the ignorant response you had gotten. This person needs more training--either in knowing more about allergies or in knowing when to keep their mouth shut.

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 10:32am
TwokidsNJ's picture
Joined: 05/28/2005 - 09:00

I called Continental with this question once and was given the same treatment as you. I was actually told it is their policy NOT to make any provisions for nut allergic customers and that if I told them my DS had a life threatening nut allergy, they might tell me HE WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO FLY ON THEIR PLANE, and we would have to surrender the ticket and not be allowed to board.
I was in complete disbelief. I think I may have commented on to the President but they have no interest in making accomodations, and won't I'm sure until someone DIES on their plane.
Curious if anyone else has had this awful treatment. FAAN does indicate that Continental is one of the worst. Unfortunately that is the hub here and we are almost forced to fly them.
So, if you make inquiries to the special accomodations dept, don't give your name until you are sure they are trying to help you.
Also, carry a dr note with your EpiPen, and the pharmacy sticker with your name on it, and keep it with you. Maybe the dr can even write that it must be kept on you at all times.

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 11:22am
Lori Anne's picture
Joined: 07/13/2005 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Rach:
My question is, is it really easier for them to land the plane if I go into anaphylactic shock, or would it actually be easier for them not to serve the M and Ms??
The answer seems pretty clear to me!
We recently spoke to a friend of the family who is a pilot. He flies a CRJ currently. However, he told us about an incident that happened when he was an intern on a 747.
There was a flight---with peanuts served. Another intern had some of those peanuts. The person did not know that he had a peanut allergy and he went into anaphylaxis. This 747 was filled with fuel. Of course, they had to land the plane immediately to get this intern help. When landing with this much fuel, they call it "landing heavy". There was no time to dump the fuel.
Because of the extra weight, the plane broke the landing gear and blew out tires. The airline had to pay for all passengers to stay in a hotel and they had to pay for the repairs to the plane. It cost a small fortune. (Of course, these actions were necessary and that's what is important).
Our friend said, "Are the peanuts worth it?" He thinks they shouldn't serve them so there wouldn't be a problem like this again in the future. He, of course, doesn't want to see anyone hurt. He also doesn't see the point in damaging a plane due to the fact that someone had to have that snack. (Of course, he does not blame the person who had the reaction though. He just doesn't want peanuts served.)
So I guess the answer to your question is, it is much easier to eliminate the snack!

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 3:42pm
Tom's picture
Joined: 01/22/2006 - 09:00

I think I would have to think again about that airline and maybe try to find another that wasn't so unwilling to work with you.

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 8:30pm
pixiegirl's picture
Joined: 09/11/2005 - 09:00

Yes I agree with the previous poster, there are enough airlines that you should be able to find another. I too would like to know what airline you are flying on, my daughter and I travel all the time, in the USA and internationally and I can tell you with pretty much certainty you will not have to relinquish your epi pen. However I never announce to anyone that I have 4 of them with me either.
One of the biggest issues facing flying today is even on planes that do not serve peanuts now passengers are allowed to bring in their own food and I can tell you for sure that many bring trail mixes and candy bars (that often have nuts, chocolate barrier or no!). And this is beyond the airlines control, nor can they tell people that bring a trail mix on board that they can't eat them.
In only one case have I had someone who would not either change seats or not eat their nuts. So usually people are very understanding.
Again we fly often and although we both have peanut allergies my daughters is often airborne reactions. I wipe down the seats and seat belts with wipes and tell everyone around us in the most polite manner about the allergy and so far we've never had a problem. I'm considering taking a surgical mask on future flights... just so if we smelled peanuts we could reduce the amount of oils coming to her. (I was on a flight from Ft. Lauderdale this past monday where an entire family was wearing masks, they are afraid of bird flu...)
I would also follow up with a supervisor however I do believe that if you make a huge deal about it they have the right to refuse you, if they feel they can't keep you healthy on the flight they won't let you fly (I was told this by a cruise ship line as well when I was making a fuss about the nut allergies... that if they feel they can not guarentee my safety they just won't let us cruise).
Good luck, Susan

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 11:23pm
Rach's picture
Joined: 05/01/2001 - 09:00

Thanks for all your responses. The airline I'm travelling with is Ryan Air, which I don't think goes outside Europe. It is a budget airline, and I don't know if this is why I'm having such a problem with them. I am going to call them again - it's typical that their phonecalls cost 25p per minute! Their extortionists on top of unhelpful!
I can't remember which poster (maybe Lori-Anne??) said that they might try to exclude me from the flight - this is a major concern, obviously I don't want that to happen.
This is the first time I've travelled with this particular group of people, but thankfully they all take it extremely seriously and know how to use the Epi etc.
I still feel quite *young* when it comes to these new situations, because until fairly recently it's been a case of me travelling with my parents who have made the arrangements when booking, but this time my friends booked an online bargain, and I have to do the sorting out myself and I feel like it's kind of getting on top of me a bit, especially when the reps are being so unhelpful. I don't know whether it would be over the top to get my parents to make a call and see if they can get anywhere with it, but at the same time I feel like at 21 I should be able to sort it out myself, and don't want to worry my parents, or make them think that I'm not capable, if that makes sense....I also haven't mentioned that the flight isn't nut free yet to them. I'm not sure how well they would react, and if I do go on the flight, I don't want them to be worried the whole time KWIM?
Thanks for your ideas and support
Take care


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