Aviation

Should airlines ban peanuts to cater for allergies?

Hannah Edensor

After a mid-flight peanut allergy emergency, a Melbourne couple are pushing to have all airlines ban peanuts on planes.

Chris and Hong Daley were heading home from Thailand with their three-year-old son aboard Singapore Airlines, per ABC.

However, despite asking for a nut-free meal for their son who suffers from anaphylaxis, other passengers were served peanuts as snacks, and when the packets were promptly opened, the peanut smell and mist in the air caused him to have a reaction.

Per ABC, the Daley’s son, Marcus, immediately claimed not to feel well, before worsening rapidly.

“With peanut dust, when you open a packet, part of what you can smell is tiny fragments of peanuts which are going up into the air,” Mr Daley said, per ABC.

“He started vomiting, his eyes were starting to swell and he couldn’t speak properly.”

Luckily, the family had come prepared, with four pens of adrenaline and anti-allergy medication, so could bring the situation under control quickly, per the ABC.

Now, the Daley family are urging other airlines to ban peanuts on planes, given the great risk it poses to any allergic passengers.

It would follow in the footsteps of Qantas, who in 2007 banned peanuts from all flights and lounges, while cutting back on the use of peanuts in inflight meals.

It was a result of lobbying by former Australian Medical Association president Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, who claims other airlines, including Air NZ, have similar policies.

“Airlines have a responsibility to make their cabins safe for all their passengers,” Haikerwal said. “Some European airlines actually make a virtue of being nut free.”

Mr Daley added, “If we don’t do something about it, it’s not going to be long before there are a number of fatalities in flight.”

In a statement provided to the ABC, Singapore Airlines apologised to the Daley family, “for the distress they experienced during their flight”.

“As soon as our crew were made aware of the situation they immediately removed all packets of peanuts from the area around Mr Daley and his family,” a spokesman said.

“To ensure there was no further incident, our crew suspended the service of peanuts in the economy class cabin for the remainder of the flight.

“We are in contact with Mr Daley and will be reviewing this incident.”

A family friend of the Daleys who was on the same flight experienced a minor allergic reaction to the same peanut snack situation, and wrote to Singapore Airlines on Facebook.

However, she claims the airline didn’t take it seriously, and said that even if it does ban peanuts, they can’t control what passengers might bring onboard on their own accord.

“We have just been brushed off and we just want to make people aware that this can happen on a plane,” Ms Daley said of their friend’s claim.

“All they have to do is just stop serving peanuts … and there’s so many snacks.”

Per ABC, the family has lodged a formal complaint with the airline.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

  • sting

    ……. banning peanuts should be observed if flight is known to be carrying people with peanut allergy… airlines should get passengers to declare their allergies… and announce no peanut eating on board if there is one… but banning peanuts completely on allergy free flights is not also fair to those who love eating peanuts like me… I mean, hello, what percentage of the population is actually allergic to peanuts… much less travel frequently…

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