Family stranded by nut-allergy row flies home

Old Aug 11, 08, 4:13 pm
  #16  
 
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One question nobody seems to ask ....

How did they fly to the US (since this is their return-home flight)?

Cheers,

GenevaFlyer
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Old Aug 15, 08, 11:15 pm
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It is true that there are some rare people that will die when there is a trace amount of peanut exposure. My nephew's classmate is the same. One day one mom forgot and fed her kid PB&J for breakfast. The peanut residue left on the kid caused my nephew to stop breathing and required his Epi-pen to be used and 911. He ended up in the ICU for 3 days to stabilize him.

So it's tough and certainly a disability. Now for a plane not to served nuts on one flight surely doesn't really affect any passengers at all, just annoying. However for some, it's totally life threatening.

It's great to see how many insensitive selfish people there are here on FT.
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Old Aug 16, 08, 12:00 am
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by NOLAnwGOLD View Post
...It's great to see how many insensitive selfish people there are here on FT.
Sorry pal, but as you state in your own message, if one has the kind of problem that your unfortunate nephew has, one is in a life threatening situation continuously since there's no way of knowing who ate what, when and where. I agree with you that we certainly don't fly to eat peanuts, but come to think of it, there are thousands of people who are allergic to fish, sea food, strawberries, and several more every-day substances. So if we are to start banning one category from planes (schools, stadiums, museums, stores, etc.), we'll soon have to ban "everything" from "everywhere". Hardly possible I believe, and really not a sign of insensitiveness or selfishness if one thinks so.
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Old Aug 16, 08, 1:55 am
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Originally Posted by NOLAnwGOLD View Post
It is true that there are some rare people that will die when there is a trace amount of peanut exposure. My nephew's classmate is the same. One day one mom forgot and fed her kid PB&J for breakfast. The peanut residue left on the kid caused my nephew to stop breathing and required his Epi-pen to be used and 911. He ended up in the ICU for 3 days to stabilize him.

So it's tough and certainly a disability. Now for a plane not to served nuts on one flight surely doesn't really affect any passengers at all, just annoying. However for some, it's totally life threatening.

It's great to see how many insensitive selfish people there are here on FT.
I absolutely agree with you.

There are actually people who care more about being served nuts on their flight than they do about someone else's life. What sort of perverse family background would result in someone being that way I can only imagine. Probably a childhood of neglect and severe emotional abuse that leaves a person unwilling to empathize with others at all.

I have actually met someone on a flight who, when the flight was delayed to disembark a boarded passenger having a possible heart attack, complained vocally about how the sick passenger was inconveniencing her.

In any case the sort of person I see on these boards who revels in their "special" status because they have flown enough miles to get free upgrades, or gloats on these boards about their latest stay at the Four Seasons in whatever foreign city, seems to be the same sort of person who puts their own trivial wants ahead of someone else's living or dying. People like that are pathetic losers, we need to accept that they are among us and they will not change.
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Old Aug 16, 08, 2:38 am
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Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
we'll soon have to ban "everything" from "everywhere".
Reminds me of the lady who repeatedly demanded that all the trees along the road leading to one of our local hospitals should be felled, for the benefit of pollen allergy suffers.

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Old Aug 16, 08, 3:17 am
  #21  
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My guess here is that we probably don't know the whole story here. If I were to make a total wild guess, I would imagine a heated row upon embarkation with the family asking for more guarantees and the captain taking a hardline and saying 'well, if what you need is totally guaranteed nut-free environment, then we can't assure that, you're not flying'.

The thing is that, as mentioned by KLouis, if the poor boy is like NOLAnwGOLD's nephew (or his classmate? Thought you mentioned the classmate first), I don't think KLM could have done anything. Indeed, as you suggest, anybody having recently eaten nuts would present a risk, anybody coming onboard with an open bag of nuts would present a risk, etc. In other words, if you can sit the kid in row 69 (which I assume is where the family would want to be seated right, as far back as possible is the only place that would make sense to them) but the cashews of row 5 still presented a risk to him, then there is simply no way he would not be at risk because of all the passengers in between. KLM does not have the right to forbid passengers from bringing their own peanuts on board, and considering the crap food we get in KL's Y class, I know many people who do, they can't forbit people from eating peanuts earlier in the day and can't force them to vacuum clean their clothes to remove traces of the said nuts, etc. Bottom line, 'totally nuts free' indeed literally cannot be guaranteed by any airline any time.

I do really feel sorry for the kid because serious allergies are terribly worrisome. The fact that some people now find it fashionable to claim 'allergies' to anything their body is intolerant to - if not anything they do not like - should not make us forget that serious allergies can cause death, and with allergies to such a volatile product, the only thing the parents can do is to keep a small bottle of cortisone and a hypodermic needle in case their son starts an allergic reaction. This is horrible, unfair, and whatever you want, but I simply don't see what those (undoubtedly rightly) complaining about selfish co-flyers think that KLM did wrong and should have done differently that would have made any difference. Precisely because, as you suggest, you can't count on the selfless co-operation of 400 fellow passengers, the 'nuttiness' of the environment is not fully controlled by the airline.
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Old Aug 16, 08, 3:29 am
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Originally Posted by NOLAnwGOLD View Post

Now for a plane not to served nuts on one flight surely doesn't really affect any passengers at all, just annoying. However for some, it's totally life threatening.
Would set a dangerous - and rather arrogant - precedent.
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Old Aug 16, 08, 3:39 am
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I have a nut allergy, I've ended up in hospital with it before now after .... no, you don't really want to know !

Guess what, I look after myself. No making a fuss to the airline staff, no bleating to the press.

But if I knew I was susceptible to going into a life-threatening shock due to someone opening everyday items near me, guess what, I wouldn't go by plane on a flight where I was going to be mid-ocean many hours from any medical facility. And so should these media-happy whingers as well.
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Old Aug 16, 08, 4:08 am
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Originally Posted by WHBM View Post
I have a nut allergy, I've ended up in hospital with it before now after .... no, you don't really want to know !

Guess what, I look after myself. No making a fuss to the airline staff, no bleating to the press.

But if I knew I was susceptible to going into a life-threatening shock due to someone opening everyday items near me, guess what, I wouldn't go by plane on a flight where I was going to be mid-ocean many hours from any medical facility. And so should these media-happy whingers as well.
Totally agree. However sad, this is the only thing that would give you certainty.
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Old Aug 16, 08, 5:51 am
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I already said:

Originally Posted by Brobbel View Post
What I'm concerned about is why they are complaining about the fact they were not allowed to fly instead of being very thankful to the captain because he was thinking about the safety of their son.
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Old Aug 16, 08, 7:43 am
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drawing the line...

I still think that there is something called "common sense", that does not make it so hard to draw the line... Any reasonable people should be able to come to an agreement on where the line should be drawn. Let's see for example these situations.

1) Peanut-free aircraft
No, I don't think this is reasonable. Surely if someone asks me to refrain from eating nuts for three days before I board in order to save someone's life, I will comply. But what if I sit in the airport lounge and my clothes pick up some nut traces ? Am I also supposed to shower just before boarding and then put on new airline-approved clean nut-free clothes ? It's not only unreasonable, but also imposssible...

2) Peanut-free school (?)
If I read the relevant above post correctly, in a particular school, all children were asked to be peanut-free in order to ensure one child's life would not be endangered. Here the line may be harder to draw, schools are indeed the places where people should learn and practice civilisation, respect, and tolerance. However, I think there are some problems. First, while it may be reasonable to stop eating nuts for one or two days, some people may not want to totally eliminate nuts from their child's diet. Nuts have protein and other stuff (I think) that makes them part of a healthy diet, and they give a lot of energy, very good for children going to school... Second, you can never know with kids, you may have the odd one who, on purpose, brings nuts into the school - just "to see what happens" as kids usually do.

Surely we don't want someone to die, but the line has to be drawn somewhere, and this is about the risk vs. utility ratio - for example a lot of people die from car accidents, but we don't ban cars because they serve a purpose. Or should we ban cars, so that no-one dies from car accidents ? Peanuts are not something that we made up and we can eliminate, they are part of nature... and for that reason, more reasonable than cars, or tobacco smoke, etc.

As a taxpayer, I would support the idea that there should be nut-free schools (maybe two or three in a country ?) for these children. It may be a small additional cost, that enables them and their families to live in safety without inconveniencing others. And when I say "inconveniencing", I very much think that being potentially in a position to kill someone is a huge "inconvenience", i.e. if someone sits next to me and says "I am going to die if you have any nut traces on you", that is a pretty heavy burden on me.

On the other hand, as a taxpayer, I would not pay for private aircraft to fly those children across the Atlantic.

3) Tobacco smoke

Besides the issue of safety, tobacco smoke kills - not only those smoking it, but also others. Furthermore, the number of people it affects temporarily (soar throat, asthma, other breathing difficulties especially at high altitude) and those it displeases (i.e. people who find it bothersome to eat and drink with smoke around) is pretty huge. In a recent referendum in Geneva, 80% of people voted in favour of banning smoke in public places (including obviously some smokers).

So, I think it is pretty clear that the ban against smoking on aircraft is pretty reasonable. It does not inconvenience one child that has a rare allergy. It seriously inconveniences some (asthma etc) and bothers about 70-80% of the others.

4) Cats on aircraft

Just a few weeks ago, the person sitting next to me in Y (fortunately there was an empty seat in between) had a cat in a box. It was six hours of "miaow miaow"... I did not mind too much, I quite like cats. I did however end up replying angry "miaaaow !" to the cat and engaged with it, and laughed with its owner (who was quite embarrassed) about whether we should feed the cat some wine. The FA also was amused by the situation, and explained any pet up to 5 kg can fly in a the cabin as long as it's in a box. Well, they were lucky that the person next to the cat took the "miaows" easily and did not make a fuss.

However, this made me wonder: what would we do if someone sitting next to the cat is allergic to cats ? I gather that can also be quite dangerous, as traces of cat hair and cat waste can be around...

On this one, I honestly think that airlines may wish to consider just putting dogs and cats in the relevant compartment downstairs, no matter how small they are. I think that would be reasonable. I am surprised indeed that there is no thread yet (or is there ?) on cat allergies. But if there is, my view would be that yes, cats can be downstairs.

Not babies though. I think babies should be allowed in the cabin, even if someone is allergic to their cry.

Why should it be different between cats and babies ? Well, for the same reason why it should be different between eating peanuts and smoking tobacco. Is there anyone here who cannot see the difference between babies and peanuts on one side (things that I think are reasonabe to carry into an aircraft), and cats and tobacco smoke on the other (things that I think are unreasonable in an aircraft) ?

Last edited by welltravelled88; Aug 16, 08 at 8:04 am
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Old Aug 16, 08, 8:38 am
  #27  
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
KLM does not have the right to forbid passengers from bringing their own peanuts on board, and considering the crap food we get in KL's Y class, I know many people who do.
I'm one of them. When flying KL longhaul in Y, a big bag of peanuts + one or more chocolate bars are an essential part of my survival kit.

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Old Aug 16, 08, 9:07 am
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I see I'm not the only one not convinced by the 'wonderful' and 'customer-approved-requested-lauded' instant soup instead of a second meal!!
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Old Aug 16, 08, 11:58 am
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Originally Posted by welltravelled88 View Post
4) Cats on aircraft

Just a few weeks ago, the person sitting next to me in Y (fortunately there was an empty seat in between) had a cat in a box. It was six hours of "miaow miaow"... I did not mind too much, I quite like cats. I did however end up replying angry "miaaaow !" to the cat and engaged with it, and laughed with its owner (who was quite embarrassed) about whether we should feed the cat some wine. The FA also was amused by the situation, and explained any pet up to 5 kg can fly in a the cabin as long as it's in a box. Well, they were lucky that the person next to the cat took the "miaows" easily and did not make a fuss.

However, this made me wonder: what would we do if someone sitting next to the cat is allergic to cats ? I gather that can also be quite dangerous, as traces of cat hair and cat waste can be around...

On this one, I honestly think that airlines may wish to consider just putting dogs and cats in the relevant compartment downstairs, no matter how small they are. I think that would be reasonable. I am surprised indeed that there is no thread yet (or is there ?) on cat allergies. But if there is, my view would be that yes, cats can be downstairs.
Some time ago I read on FT (unfortunately I couldn't find it now) where someone complained about a pet nearby his seat, because he was allergic. This guy was then denied boarding, because the crew didn't want to take any risk. He was very upset because he was denied boarding, instead of the pet.
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Old Aug 16, 08, 12:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Brobbel View Post
Some time ago I read on FT (unfortunately I couldn't find it now) where someone complained about a pet nearby his seat, because he was allergic. This guy was then denied boarding, because the crew didn't want to take any risk. He was very upset because he was denied boarding, instead of the pet.
Guess they don't want to create a precedent. Next time a person with fear of crowds could demand that all other passengers must be removed from aircraft....
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