Many families go on vacation over winter break every year to unwind and have fun. Families are often excited to board the airplane because they are one step closer to their vacation destination. However, for families who have children or other family members with a food allergy, such as a peanut allergy, going on a plane may be a source of anxiety and stress.
Some airlines serve peanuts and other types of nuts on the planes as snacks. If a child has a severe peanut allergy, tiny peanut particles in the air may trigger a peanut allergy even though the child does not consume it. See Food Allergy Cases & Lawsuits - Girl Suffered Severe Allergy Reaction After Inhaling Peanut Particles On An Airplane.
Often, families who have members with peanut or nut allergies inform the airlines of the situation when booking their tickets to prevent exposure to the peanuts or nuts. In addition, families may ask the airlines to make an announcement to the passengers about a passenger with a peanut or nut allergy and ask fellow passengers not to eat nuts or peanuts. Some airlines are happy to accommodate the families, while others are not.
Earlier this month, an airline refused to make accommodations for a British family who has a family member with a peanut allergy. When the family booked flights with American Airlines through British Airways, the family was told that the airline would make accommodations for the son who had a peanut allergy.
The first sign of trouble started when the family traveled to Florida from their connecting flight in Dallas. Though American Airlines does not serve nuts on their planes, passengers can obviously bring their own snacks. The parents asked the crew to make an announcement to fellow passengers about their son's peanut allergy. The crew agreed to make the announcement, but warned them that "Americans have the right to eat nuts."
On their way back home from Florida, the family was stopped from boarding the flight after the parents again asked for an announcement to be made to passengers about their child's peanut allergy. The parents explained to the crew that their son had steroids and an EpiPen and may need medical attention if he was exposed to peanuts. The crew then told the family that the boy could not board the plane unless he had a "fit to fly" medical certificate. The family had to get a hotel and was able to get on another flight 2 days later. On this flight, the crew did not prevent the boy from boarding, but they refused to make the announcement to fellow passengers.
As a parent and a food allergy lawyer, I sympathize with families who have children with serious allergies. When people do not take allergies seriously, they are putting the people with serious allergies at risk. For instance, a waiter not listening to a patron with a peanut allergy ends up serving a dish to the patron with peanuts in it, and the patron goes into anaphylactic shock. In situations like this, the injured patron has legal rights against the server and the restaurant.
Related Food Allergy Lawsuit Case Result - An accidental exposure food allergy case settles favorably for a client who is allergic to mushrooms
If you have questions about a loved one's legal rights after being accidentally exposed to a food allergen, call Daniel J. O'Brien, Esq. to schedule a FREE consultation. 877.944.8396
*Source: www.peanutallergy.com (Child With Peanut Allergy Denied Boarding Of AA Flight And Told ‘Americans Have The Right To Eat Nuts’)