An eight-year-old girl was barred from boarding a Turkish Airlines flight from Bodrum in Southwestern Turkey to London Gatwick because she suffers from a severe nut allergy, her mother has alleged.
After being denied from boarding last Friday’s flight, the girl and her mother had to endure 30 hours in the airport before being allowed on the next available ‘nut free’ flight.
The mother, who recounted her story anonymously to The Mirror, said Turkish Airlines failed to provide them with any food or water during their extended stay in Bodrum airport despite apparently admitting liability.
“They left us stranded for 30 hours, with no food, no drinks, nothing. It was disgusting. My daughter couldn’t eat anything, because they couldn’t guarantee no nuts,” she said.
Upon arriving at the airport, the girl’s mother says she told check-in staff about the allergy and handed over medical documents including a ‘fit to fly’ certificate from her daughter’s doctor.
But when it came to board the flight, it suddenly became apparent that her daughter wasn’t going to be allowed onboard.
“They boarded everyone, including my mum. Then the woman said ‘You can’t fly. Due to your daughter’s severe allergies, we can not allow you to fly back to the UK on this flight’. I asked ‘why?’. She couldn’t answer my question.”
Onboard the flight were desserts containing nuts and a member of staff allegedly told the family that Turkish Airlines had loaded the wrong food despite knowing about the girl’s severe nut allergy.
Turkish Airlines didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from the Mirror, but in June the airline was accused of kicking off a six-year-old girl because she also had a severe nut allergy.
In that incident, the airline was planning to serve nuts in its Business Class cabin and didn’t want to discontinue its normal service due to the girl’s medical condition.
Flight attendants initially suggested moving the family a safe distance away from where the nuts were being served but when her father told the crew that it would be safer if no nuts were served onboard the entire aircraft she was removed from the flight.
The airline’s policy towards nut allergy sufferers stands in stark contrast to British Airways which will stop serving nuts if a passenger claims to have a nut allergy. The airline also allows allergy sufferers to pre-board so that they can wipe down surfaces around their seat and cabin crew make announcements requesting other passengers to refrain from eating their own nuts onboard.
Other airlines aren’t, however, as accommodating and tell passengers that they board at their own risk. Both American Airlines and Korean Air fall into that category, and allergy sufferers have been removed from flights in the past for mentioning their health conditions to staff.
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.