Southwest was horrible!

Posted on: Thu, 11/11/2004 - 7:13am
nicosmom's picture
Joined: 11/11/2004 - 09:00

Here's the problem. Sometimes they're great. Sometimes they're not. Their communication glitch landed my son in the ER, barely able to breathe. When so many other airlines have removed peanuts altogether, why risk your child's health? We didn't discover the second leg of our flight was serving peanuts until half the flight was served. When we told them, they continued serving to the rest of the flight. On the first leg, they didn't serve peanuts, but peanut wrappers were in the magazine pocket and crumbs on the tray tables. This is an airline that does not take the allergy seriously.

Posted on: Fri, 11/12/2004 - 1:05am
CorinneM1's picture
Joined: 06/20/2002 - 09:00

Wow. I am really sorry to hear that you son had a reaction due to their communication glitch and refusal to remove/discontinue serving peanuts to the travelers after they were informed of your child's allergy.
Do you have any of these correspondances in writing (email)? Names of those that you spoke to in flight, while booking your tickets etc?
If you haven't already, I would be writing a scathing letter to the President of SW, calling their CAO office, and including a medical billing statement of your ER costs (I would not ask them to pay this cost unless you bring in a lawyer to draft the note).
Include your flight number, dates and time of travel, age of your son, everything that you communicated to them. Clearly someone dropped the ball since they accommodated your request in the first leg of your trip so the communication was there at some time or another.
Please keep us posted of your process/progress and responses back from SW on this matter.
Somewhere in this folder, there is a great letter (drafted by a father and lawyer) to one of the major airlines that you should review before you draft your letter. I wish I could pull it up for you right now, but I can't remember who the poster was, but I think that it was drafted sometime within the last 6 months.

Posted on: Fri, 11/12/2004 - 2:51am
Joanne's picture
Joined: 02/22/1999 - 09:00

I found this link on the FAAN website to contact the Department of Transporation about problems flying with food allergies.
I think that when the issue of airlines not serving peanuts came up several years ago one of the reasons used to justify continuing to serve peanuts was that there was not very much evidence of actual incidences of reactions, so it is very important that any reaction is reported and documented.

Posted on: Fri, 11/12/2004 - 8:07am
Gwen 5's picture
Joined: 01/24/2003 - 09:00

I had the total opposite experience.
I told every person that I came in contact with before we boarded the flight. When we got on board I told the first person ( we pre-boarded which gave us extra time to check in with the crew). They were very caring and friendly and when they served drinks they handed out pretzels in both directions of our flight.
Nobody had a problem with this.
We are in California and took a very short flight to LA but all the people I encountered seemed to be well aware of peanut allergies.
I am sorry you had such a negative experience- I would follow-up with the airlines.

Posted on: Sat, 11/13/2004 - 1:06pm
Mary Kay's picture
Joined: 01/25/1999 - 09:00

Please read my post under SW airlines warning (with the thumbs down). Yes, communication is a real problem for this airline. I will never let my son fly SW airline again even though he did not have a reaction. There is a total lack of communication between the desk and the flight attendants. I do hope you write a letter and please detail everything. SW needs to know that their lack of communication is causing serious reactions. I wrote a letter and did not ask for anything other than for better communication between the passenger, desk and flight crew. I received vouchers for $200 in SW airline tickets which I gave to a family member. Sorry, but $200 doesn't cover the loss of life should one of their passengers find a stray peanut on the floor. A very likely scenario.
Mary Kay

Posted on: Sat, 11/13/2004 - 11:50pm
nicosmom's picture
Joined: 11/11/2004 - 09:00

Thanks for the replies.
I have written Southwest and also the Dept. of Transportation. Southwest is willing to refund our fare and medical expenses. Perhaps I should draft a letter to other airlines if some don't believe such reactions actually occur.
In this case, we witnessed a communication to Operations giving flight numbers for both legs of our flight and felt that the communication was successful when the first leg of the flight was handled appropriately. It was too late when we realized what had happened on the second leg. I guess you really have to hound them every step of the way in such a situation.
After reading this website, I'm realizing my son (then only 22 mos.) is one of the few to actually have a reaction. I want to know how I can use our experience to best effect change in the airlines, so others will be protected. I would appreciate any more input and will post a new thread requesting information.

Posted on: Sun, 11/14/2004 - 1:00am
Going Nuts's picture
Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Wow, I don't know how I missed this thread.
I'm so sorry you had this experience - I know how terrifying it must have been, because it happened to us when my son was 3 1/2, on US Air. My son didn't need to be hospitalized, but it was terrifying nevertheless. How is your son now?
Please keep up your letter writing campaign. How about sending letters to airline trade publications as well? (Don't know why that never occurred to me until now - I should have done it 7 years ago [img][/img] ). I'll try to locate some, and will post the contact information; I'll write too. This just has to stop. [img][/img]
Did they have to land the plane, or did you make it to your destination? Did they aid you in transferring him to the hospital? Just curious - not trying to make you relive the trauma.

Posted on: Sun, 11/14/2004 - 3:26am
nicosmom's picture
Joined: 11/11/2004 - 09:00

Just to answer questions regarding our experience . . .
Luckily our son did not react until the end of the flight. We gave him Benadryl before the flight (for sleep purposes, I confess!)and we think that actually bought us some time (pelase note, however, I have read use of an antihistamine can actually mask a reaction to the sufferers detriment, so I am not advising this approach). He awoke at the end of the flight and began rubbing his eyes, saying "my eyes, my eyes." As we carried him off the plane he began sneezing huge sneezes of clear mucous that covered his chin. Not trying to be too graphic, but thought details might help others identify reactions. Once we got in the car, he had difficulty breathing and was wheezing. It wasn't until that point that we realized he was having a reaction. We then went to the ER where he was rushed in for treatment and they noted his chest retracting with every breath.
We were really rather ignorant and did not use the Epipen before we reached the ER. Our allergist told us in such a situation ALWAYS use the Epipen. Although jabbing your child in the thigh seems harsh, it is no threat and will protect his/her life until you get to the ER. We certainly learned many lessons that night.

Posted on: Sun, 11/14/2004 - 3:33am
nicosmom's picture
Joined: 11/11/2004 - 09:00

One more thing . . .
Sorry to go on, but I hope our experience may help others learn . .
At the ER, our son was given albuterol and prednisone and held for observation. Our allergist told us they should have used epinephrine before anything else. He also said ERs are notorious for mishandling allergy cases. So, I guess push for epinephrine (or do it yourself) in such situations.

Posted on: Sun, 11/21/2004 - 11:51am
Lori Jo's picture
Joined: 09/17/2003 - 09:00

I can confirm that SW does NOT communicate. We told everyone we came in contact with about DD's PA. When we called for reservations, when we checked in at the main counter, when we went to the gate counter for our boarding card. We were in the front row, and what do they break out??? The bags of peanuts!!! My dh about had a fit. Thank god we saw them start, because they were able to take all 6 bags back from the passengers before they were opened. They then apologized and said they had (obviously) not been notified. We got a letter, and for Mary Kay, $600 in vouchers. I also agree that is not worth my dd's life.
Besides, we also found a peanut under dd's seat.
I hate PA.
Lori Jo,
Rose, 7-31-02, PA
Beatrice & Georgia, 8-14-99

Posted on: Tue, 11/30/2004 - 5:07am
zigo230's picture
Joined: 05/29/2003 - 09:00

SW is a crapshoot but 95% of our experiences have been excellent. We do all the usual stuff (contact Customer relations, tell the ticket counter person & the gate agent). The most important step is to inform the flight attendant upon boarding because they only get word about 50% of the time. Usually they say "Really? one told us about you". Anyway, the Flight attendants are usually very accomodating and will lock up all the peanuts bags as soon as we tell them. It's best if you can inform the lead attendant since the others sometimes forget to tell their colleagues.


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