Girl Needs Nut Free Flight

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by HiIslands, Aug 29, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. HiIslands
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    HiIslands Silver Member

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    A Seattle girl and her mother are stuck in Hawaii because they cannot find a nut-free flight back to the mainland. The 13 year old girl has a life threatening allergy to peanuts. Alaska Airlines accommodated her needs on a flight to Hawaii but has now said they cannot do so on a return flight.

    Story here: http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/19402065/seattle-mom-and-daughter-stuck-in-hawaii

    Anyone know of a private jet flying HNL-SEA? Anyone know of a nut-free airline?
     
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  2. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I wouldn't think Hawaii is the place to go to if you're allergic to nuts, but I digress...

    Either way, I've been in flights where the announcement was made that someone was allergic to peanuts so the crew wouldn't be handing out nuts or whatever, but otherwise no special arrangements were made.

    I'm not sure how serious her allergy is, but I would imagine that sitting in an exit row window away from the galley and not touching anything for a few hours shouldn't be that hard to achieve. An epi-pen as a backup might not be a bad idea either. It's not ideal, but it sure beats being stuck out there.
     
  3. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    And perhaps make a deal with the passengers around them to not open any Mac nut packages etc. in exchange for a round or two of Mai Tais. Creating a nut-free zone shouldn't be that difficult. Or is it?
     
  4. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    This is bogus. Feed the girl, have her put on a biohazard mask, fly home. Problem solved.

    No carrier guarantees peanut free.

    I don't know why these dramatic parents never think of this.

    When I was at EK catering, our tour guide says she knew a woman who was like this mom about her husband, but they'd been out with the husband without the wife before and zero mention of a so-called life-threatening allergy.
     
  5. SC Flier
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    "While we cannot guarantee a nut free flight for people with these allergies, our crew on the outbound flight was able to successfully work with nearby passengers to ensure that there were no nut products in the immediate vicinity of the daughter," Alaska Air spokesman Paul McElroy said.​

    So which is it? Nut-free flight or no nut products in the immediate vicinity?
     
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  6. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    13-yo can't sit in an exit row. Also, don't see how that's different than other rows, really.
     
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  7. SC Flier
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    The video shows a BP for 1D on Aug 26. I guess that was for the outbound on Alaska? Or is that just filler? Or was that their original return flight?
     
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  8. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I'm thinking just sit her further away from other people, even if it's just inches. *shrug*

    Either way, I'm all for setting up a nut-free area around her and explaining to people nearby the situation, but I don't know what (if anything) else the airline could do. If you have that serious of an allergic reaction to nuts (and I understand some people do) then maybe putting yourself in an enclosed space with dozens of other people for 6+ hours is not the best idea.

    Nowadays almost anything will contain traces of nuts, and you never know if the FA is just going to touch a cookie then a water bottle and all of the sudden the girl goes into shock.
     
  9. SC Flier
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    The row in front of the exit row can accomplish this.
     
  10. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    This is why a mask is the better solution. It actually prevents inhalation of particles. The least expensive good anti-viral masks run around $25-30. (Edit: N95 runs $15)

    And there are people just as allergic to other things (wheat), but they're not going ballistic like the peanut moms.

    Also, I point out the irony of them getting TO Hawaii on a flight, but suddenly they can't get home?
     
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  11. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Wonder if my boss would be sympathetic if I developed a nut allergy next time I am in Hawaii and call in to tell him I am working on a return strategy to get back to the main land, but it might take a while :)

    I was wondering why those masks aren't used, too. Sure, I bet it's not super comfortable for 5+ hours, but if it was my life and if it was indeed a serious allergy, I'd consider it.

    That said, airplanes aren't the only place that's problematic for allergic people like that and I am very grateful that I don't really have any significant allergies that I know of (other than certain idiots, but I can usually avoid those :D)
     
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  12. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    I once had an award ticket to HNL and the FAs went on strike, so I got an extra two days in HNL and had to call in stranded. Since it wasn't affecting the mainland, I brought in the newspaper, too.

    If it were a really serious allergy like that, there's no way I'd travel without several spares.


    Please let me know your strategy for this. Thanks. :)
     
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  13. HiIslands
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    HiIslands Silver Member

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    Since there's always a flock of corporate/private jets parked at both HNL and OGG I am thinking that perhaps the owners of one of these could offer a spare seat to the girl. It would be much easier to keep a small, private jet nut free.

    At the same time, I think you have all come up with some creative solutions. Hope the mother sees them!
     
  14. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    In a mass air transport system your suggestion appears to provide a reasonable working solution to an unreasonable situation. If my child were to have such a life threatening condition, I would have taken her only on a trip where I knew I could control her environment. I actually do think it is more than should be asked of an airline because they would then be put in a position of being legally responsible for controlling an environment filled with individuals and the residue of past flights.
     
  15. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    In a plane with several hundred passengers, there is no way for the airline to guarantee anything. If they make an announcement, at least 10% of the passengers won't pay attention. If they patrol the aisles, are they going to check every candy bar or cookie for its contents?

    Certainly, if I knew or was made aware that an allergy sufferer was sitting near me and depended on my obeying certain reasonable rules such as no peanuts, I wouldn't have any problems helping out. But as the affected passenger I wouldn't bet my life or well being on it.
     
  16. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    I have to say that the story doesn't pass the smell test (and the fact that the reporter cannot manage to construct full sentences doesn't give one a lot of confidence in the reportage either).

    I suppose it's possible that someone could be so allergic that being in the same plane as someone else eating a peanut would trigger a reaction (although I've never heard of an allergy that didn't require at least physical contact with the allergen). But it's hard to see how a person with such a serious condition could travel around Hawaii, in buses or rental cars which might have been used by people using peanut products, or stay in hotel rooms which the previous guest might have contaminated.

    I hate to sound skeptical, but there it is.
     
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  17. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Sometimes they have, apparently. I consider making it other people's problem rude.

    I carry a sealed N95 mask for the afflicted (and would expect to be reimbursed). Nuts are one of my very few good protein sources, and I travel with a health-threatening food-related issue too
    (gluten). For me, it's not immediately life threatening, though it is for some.

    However, I can eat little enough that I'm not going to give up nuts on a plane. Let the afflicted be proactive about their own health in a way that doesn't inconvenience others unnecessarily.
     
  18. thrashsoundly
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    Maybe they should take a boat ride home.
     
  19. secretsea18
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    I was once on a NWA flight where WBC was not served warm nuts because there was a single person on the 747-400 that was allergic to nuts.

    There are people with tree nut allergies and peanut allergies, they are different, because peanuts are legumes not really nuts.
     
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  20. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    To each their own, I suppose, but I consider it also rude to only think about myself and my own needs, especially if there isn't really a significant convenience or sacrifice involved for me.
     
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  21. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    How far do those nut/legume particles travel and how thorough cleaned was the aircraft after the previous flight where they presumably did serve warm nuts?
     
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  22. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    The flight l experienced this on was an A319 but just the same... they don't actually tell you who is allergic, I guess because of privacy concerns, so they basically forego peanuts for the whole aircraft. Of course because they don't tell you, you might ignore or even miss the warning altogether and inadvertently open up a 3 pound jar of cashews not knowing the guy right in front of you is allergic.

    I don't know that there's much the airline itself can do though... so I would think the person afflicted needs to do a better job of managing the environment they put themselves in.
     
  23. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Yes, but why should I starve (in my case, this is literal) because someone hasn't taken care of their own needs? I can't buy coach food I can eat, so I bring my own. This is not the least bit convenient.

    In my own case, I have enough trouble digesting protein that I get an IV every week. This is after having had a central line for a while.

    So it may not be a problem for you, but it is one for me. I don't eat peanuts, but I don't ensure my food is completely peanut free, either, and we do sometimes use peanut oil.

    Better for me to help the person accommodate both our requirements.
     
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  24. mattsteg
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    Alaska's policy is pretty clear.
    There's a supposed relative posting on the news page. It sounds like they decided to chance it and are now overstating whatever Alaska "promised." My best guess would be that they offered to try to set up a buffer. According to the relative, they did serve nuts on the way over "and the mom stopped them" and the kid had a reaction. My best guess is they demanded nut-free, airline offered buffer, and they just went ahead anyway and tried their luck with the crew. It didn't go smoothly, and they pushed harder (perhaps with great emotion) for more on the way back, and went to the news when they didn't get their way.

    They probably should have been more diligent on the front end. Other airlines might have slightly more favorable policies. Delta's for example seems pretty reasonable.
    American says to pound sand
    Westjet has a pretty lengthy policy:
    I don't think anyone is going to promise to deliver more than a buffer, and maybe make an effort to not serve nuts. As terrible as dealing with a nut allergy is, expecting airlines and their passengers to completely, and with 100% effectiveness, bend over backwards to accommodate you is just not reasonable.
     
  25. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Indeed it's not a problem for me. I can leave my trail mix (which I love to eat on planes) packed up if need be if that helps. Your situation and level of impact may differ. If nut-based products are an essential part of your inflight diet, there is then apparently a conflict of requirements of two passengers and I won't get involved in sorting that out.
     
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