People reacted with horror and disgust after British Airways asked passengers on a recent flight to avoid eating peanut or nut containing snacks. The request was made because a fellow passenger had a severe nut allergy and could have suffered a serious and potentially life-threatening anaphylactic shock.
Colin Brazier, a presenter on the UK’s new right-wing news channel GBN, took to Twitter to write about a friend who had just been on a British Airways flight and had shared his experience of being told to avoid eating nuts by the cabin crew.
“I’ve just been on a BA flight where the entire aircraft was requested to not eat any peanut or nut-containing snacks because someone on board had a nut allergy”. Brazier asked his audience: “Can this be right?” The responses were astonishing.
“Happened when I was on a flight,” one person replied. “I ate them anyway, tiny packets, by the way, nothing serious happened.
“If someone needs such a rarified environment surely they should book out the whole cabin, otherwise travel by ship,” someone else replied. “Yep, inconvenience the world for the few. Take a boat next time where you can breathe the sea air,” was another horrifying response.
But many others supported BA’s decision and pointed out that other airlines, including the likes of easyJet, Virgin Atlantic and Emirates, make similar announcements when someone with a severe nut allergy is onboard.
British Airways has an extensive policy for passengers with severe nut allergies which includes the offer of making an announcement to make other passengers aware of the allergy. Passengers may also be asked to avoid eating snacks that contain nuts.
But BA says it cannot “guarantee an allergen-free environment” and advises passengers with severe allergic reactions to seek advice from their doctor before flying. The airline advises severely allergic passengers to carry an adrenaline auto-injector with them just in case a reaction occurs onboard one of its flights.
Passengers with a severe allergy can also ask to board first so that they can clean surfaces like their tray table and seat.
On Friday, new food safety rules called Natasha’s Law came into effect in the UK which requires food retailers to supply full ingredient lists and allergen information for food that is freshly made and pre-packed for sale.
The law is named after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who suffered anaphylaxis and died after she ate a baguette that contained sesame. Natasha bought the baguette from a Pret a Manger at Heathrow Airport without realising it contained sesame.
She went into anaphylaxis on a British Airways flight and despite two EpiPen injections, she suffered a cardiac arrest and died the same day.
British Airways faced criticism over a decision by flight attendants not to use a defibrillator on Natasha because it was located at the opposite end of the plane from where she was sat and the plane was just minutes from landing.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.