Child With Peanut Allergy Denied Boarding Of AA Flight And Told ‘Americans Have The Right To Eat Nuts’

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shutterstock_53961544__1420822868_142.196.156.251A British family was stopped from boarding an American Airlines flight in Florida after the family asked for an announcement to be made to fellow passengers about their child’s peanut allergy. They had booked the flight through British Airways and were told accommodations would be made and passengers would be warned after boarding. The ground crew in Florida did not want to help the family ensure that their son would have a safe flight, because some Americans are trying really hard to validate the stereotype that we are a rude and stupid nation.

American Airlines does not serve peanuts, but obviously allows passengers to bring their own food on a flight. The staff agreed to make an announcement when the family left Heathrow for their connecting flight in Dallas. The family told the Daily Mail that when they booked the American Airlines flight through British Airways they warned the airlines about their son’s allergy and were told the airline “would happily ‘make accommodations’ for the family as long as they told staff as they boarded the plane.”

When they connected to their Florida flight in Dallas, a member of the AA staff told the family they would make the announcement, but warned them that “Americans have the right to eat nuts.” What? Yes, it is our constitutional right to eat crappy snack foods on planes, even when the action may kill a child. It’s right up there with free speech.

When they followed the same route on their return, ground crew in Florida refused to make the announcement. When the family explained that their son had a nut allergy and although he travels with steroids and an epi-pen he may need medical attention if he’s exposed to nuts, the crew told the family he would not be allowed to board the plane without a “fit to fly” medical certificate. They were refused boarding and booked in a hotel until the family was able to get on another flight, two days later. The family claims that when they finally boarded that flight, the crew once again refused to make the announcement and their son had a “panic attack” and started to hyperventilate when a passenger opened a bag of nuts behind him.

First of all, I totally sympathize with families who have children with serious allergies and I think people who refuse to take them seriously are assholes. But I have so many questions. If the mere presence of residual peanuts on a plane is enough to make someone’s throat close up, how is anyone with a serious allergy ever able to fly? It seems like it would be impossible to keep all traces of nuts off a plane if someone had opened a bag on a previous flight. How well are these planes actually cleaned between trips?

Refusing to make an announcement about a serious allergy on board is just absurd and mean. Can people really not go a couple hours without shoving some nuts in their faces? How hard is it to make this announcement? Why would the ground crew be so difficult about it? I can’t imagine having to deal with this as a parent. It’s terrifying.

(photo: Brian Eichom/ Shutterstock)