What should Airlines do about passengers traveling with peanut allergies?

Posted on: Wed, 09/25/2013 - 11:27pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

http://www.cntraveler.com/perrin-post/2013/09/what-should-airlines-do-ab...

http://nonutsmomsgroup.weebly.com/1/post/2013/09/the-unfriendly-skiesand...

Please comment on this issue so that we can raise awareness of the fact that peanut allergic passengers are being bullied by the airlines

Posted on: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 9:50am
raye's picture
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Joined: 09/15/2013 - 17:27

My daughter and my toddler grandson recently cancelled a long-planned flight to visit the little boy's elderly grandfather, who had not seen the baby in 1-1/2 years. The little boy had an allergic reaction, requiring an Epipen and ER visit a week prior. The Mom had been assured by someone in the airline's Customer Relations Dept. that she "could ask the head flight attendant to make a no-opening-of-peanuts announcement when boarding the plane." But just how much time does one really have when entering a plane to have a health discussion or request with the attendant at the door? And my daughter just didn't feel sure the flight crew would follow through, because there have been so many reports in the media stating that airlines might not honor pre-arranged requests of making an announcement. So she cancelled their trip. She knew that she could not handle an allergic reaction, even if unknowingly caused by a passenger in front of their seat who might be eating peanuts. And she was especially wary of the crew possibly, from reports read, being clueless as to the seriousness of this allergy. I think that in their own defense, if not the defense of the child (or adult) with a peanut allergy, the airlines should now require that all personnel read several accounts of deaths in children from the slightest exposure to the peanut protein. Also, they should be required to read any of the many articles written by allergy doctors stating, "To have NO EXPOSURE AT ALL to peanuts or peanut products is the ONLY method at the moment for preventing an allergic reaction, which can cause death within an hour." I don't think we will ever be comfortable with flying with this child again, due to the attitude or total ignorance of many of the flight crews regarding peanut allergy. We have been told that most of the airlines have a no-serving-peanuts policy now, but they seem to think it stops there--with the serving part. They then add IN PRINT as well as on the phone, "We don't serve peanuts but we simply cannot tell the passengers not to bring peanuts onboard." Wrong. They CAN tell (and vigorously enforce) passengers not to bring hand lotion, water bottles, cigarettes, etc. onboard. So, this begs the question as to why coffee, hand lotion, Perrier water, etc. ARE NOT ALLOWED, i.e., the airlines do "tell the passengers what they cannot bring them aboard," yet they cannot be equally as rigid with potentially death-causing peanuts? Have the airlines ever surveyed the passengers for their opinions on this? I have an idea that the traveling public would gladly abstain from carrying peanuts onboard if they knew they might be saving a life. Give them credit! It is the airlines who are to blame here--and not the passengers who are not instructed that another passenger (often a child) with a severe peanut allergy is onboard (and all peanut allergies are at any given time potentially severe). A request by the airline rep would do wonders, asking that passengers refrain from opening peanuts brought onboard due to the fact that someone highly allergic to peanuts is on the flight. Such a simple request, really.

Posted on: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 11:18am
survivingfood's picture
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Joined: 09/04/2013 - 19:29

Well said. I think if all parents/relatives of children with PA's sent a tweet/fb messaged or contacted airlines in some other way to ask them to make Peanut/Nut free flights we could be successful. Maybe even start with some most travelled airports, I am sure they would be booked in advance.

Posted on: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 11:30am
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

The article I posted was written about my family this past labor weekend.
At the end of the article, you can post comments. Please post your comments, they are monitoring them and may do a follow up article.
To bring an eight year old to tears and terrorize him is shameful. I have since done some research and found out that, after a flight crew on United made the same refusal to a woman in May 2013, she subsequently went into anaphylaxis on the plane and the plane had to make an emergency landing. The person who opened the peanuts when interviewed said that if an announcement was made, she never would have opened the peanuts. All we wanted was basic awareness and decency. I have since filed a complaint with the Department of Transportation. My goal, however, is to bring awareness to the public of the perils of traveling with a child with life threatening allergies. Losing a child to a food is senseless. The public needs to be aware of the seriousness of food allergies. What a person might feel who really wants to eat a Reese's Peanut butter cup pales in comparison to the fear of what it must feel like to have an allergic reaction to those foods.
There are people who say that individuals, like my son, simply have to take great risks when using public transportation. I strongly disagree. We can minimize these risks so easily. So why should we be castigated by the airlines for trying to do so. I have been reading online and speaking to other parents with allergic children and am continually shocked to hear so many similar stories. It seems like parents of children with food allergies are being "bullied" by the airlines. I have been told about families that have been refused entry on a plane just for informing the crew their child has an allergy. There are also many parents to whom I have spoken that feel completely terrified every time they fly (especially on United). Ironic that United has just started a campaign using the old slogan "fly the friendly skies". I think it’s time that they were exposed for the "unfriendly skies" that families with allergic children and adults with food allergies face.
Jet Blue, by contrast, will make an announcement, and will create a buffer zone to keep your child safe. They are empathetic and have always taken my son's allergy seriously. There is a kind and safer way to behave and create safer flying policies. United would do well to emulate them. A change needs to happen. Children and adults with life threatening allergies need protection. We are being "bullied"
A dear friend and food allergy ally Senator Joe Kyrillos introduced a resolution http://www.senatenj.com/index.php/kyrillos/kyrillos-introduces-resolution-urging-airlines-to-enact-policies-concerning-peanuts-on-flights/15591. This is a symbolic gesture and we need real change. There needs to be in place, guidelines that will be consistent throughout the airline industry.
I have also just started a petition. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/102/513/863/?taf_id=10056853&cid=email_na#
I don’t want a law named after my son or anyone else’s one day because I did nothing to remedy the status quo. It will take an act of Congress to change the airline policy.

Posted on: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 11:35am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Please post your story on the Conde Nast website. At the end of the article there is a place for comments. Click on add comments. I am collecting all the stories as we push for real legislation in Washington. Sadly, I have now heard so many stories similar to yours. That is why we need to collect these stories as evidence. We are being intimidated and discriminated against for having an allergy. Airline staff is rude, families are mocked, people are terrified and there is no recourse. Change needs to happen.
Lianne

Posted on: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 11:37am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/102/513/863/?taf_id=10056853&cid=email_na#sign
Also please sign and forward my petition
Lianne

Posted on: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 11:37am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/102/513/863/?taf_id=10056853&cid=email_na#sign
Also please sign and forward my petition
Lianne

Posted on: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 11:46am
survivingfood's picture
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Joined: 09/04/2013 - 19:29

Well written. This issue is always on my mind, because everyone deserves to travel and see the world ( some places you can't drive to :))I love what you are doing and you should name the law in your son's name. Parents with children with PA should act with confidence when they speak up for their little ones. It is also important to remember that others that don't have relatives with allergies will not understand the extent of it and explanations have to be very strong and blunt. Example, "Intentionally opening peanuts on the plane when one can become sick with a life threatening condition is a felony and if one does unfortunately become sick the flight will be landed in the emergency situation and will be a very uncomfortable life changing event for everyone", or " bringing peanuts and opening them next to my child is like me brining my gun and keeping it loaded pointed at you during the flight" . Peanuts/nuts don't provide irreplaceable nutritional value and it should not be a big deal to ban them all together from flights, but yet it is.

Posted on: Sun, 10/27/2013 - 1:55am
AmberC.'s picture
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Joined: 10/21/2013 - 15:35

Given that peanut allergy has tripled since 1997, and they are now over 1.5 million peanut allergic children in America alone, I think peanuts and nuts must be banned on flights. As one of the posts said above, they ban hand lotion and all kind of things, just ban this too.
As well, perhaps they need to add to their announcement that it is a felony to eat peanuts/nuts around those who are allergic.
And perhaps all passengers should be made to wipe their hands on a fresh sani-wipe as they board and then discard into a contained garbage bin.
***
Another real problem is this: if you do not fly very often, you might simply forget peanuts are a big part of flying. This happened to me. Our schools and our communities are generally peanut free and people in our communities have been so kind.
IF AN AIRLINE IS GOING TO SERVE PEANUTS, THE WARNING SHOULD BE PLASTERED ALL OVER THEIR WEBSITE.
AS WELL, THERE SHOULD BE AN IMMEDIATE REFUND IF YOU DON'T FEEL COMFORTABLE FLYING WITH THEM.
It's such a no-brainer, it's incredible to have to spend time fighting with them.
Who would ever think people would rather eat peanuts than protect lives?

Posted on: Sun, 10/27/2013 - 1:58am
AmberC.'s picture
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Joined: 10/21/2013 - 15:35

Lianne, do you think perhaps the petition should be changed to simply ask airlines ban peanuts/nuts altogether?
This is a great idea, to start a petition.

Posted on: Sun, 10/27/2013 - 2:07am
AmberC.'s picture
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Joined: 10/21/2013 - 15:35

Another thing to consider is all those out there who do not know they have a peanut allergy. For example, often children under the age of two have not even tried peanuts or nuts yet.
As well, peanut allergy has been known to suddenly appear.
And with 1.5 million confirmed cases, and with cases tripling since 1997, well, it seems like a new peanut allergy is born every minute.
This is an epidemic. No one wants it, but it's here, and we have a duty to change this.

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