An airline passenger with a severe nut allergy says she had no choice but to buy every packet of peanuts on board after crew refused to ban the snacks during her flight.
Leah Williams, 27, who has a severe lifelong allergy, says she asked staff on the Eurowings budget flight to announce her allergy to passengers and request they did not buy or eat peanuts. But she claims the crew dismissed her concerns, leaving her with no option but to buy all 48 £3 packets of nuts on board and ask for them to be bagged up.
The purchase cost Leah nearly £150 – three times the £50 cost of the fare for the Dusseldorf to London route. Leah said: “The stewards looked at me blankly like I was crazy and said, ‘But there is a lot, we’ll have to count them all.’ I said, ‘Please do count them and I will pay for them all, seeing as you have left me with no choice.’” The design firm worker, from Alton, Hants, who wants a refund for the nuts, added: “Eurowings should be ashamed of how they handled this situation and for the way they made me feel.” Last year, Poppy Jones, 14, needed oxygen and two EpiPen shots after being exposed to nuts on a British Airways flight.
Afterwards, the parents of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, who died in 2016 from an allergic reaction to sesame seeds in a baguette bought at Heathrow, called for airlines to be more aware of allergies. BA, easyJet and Ryanair say they stop selling nuts and ask passengers to avoid eating them if an allergy sufferer is on board.
Eurowings said as passengers were able to bring their own food on board, it could not guarantee its aircraft were free of allergy triggers. A spokesman added: “Our medically trained cabin crew always has access to medication to provide emergency care in the event of an allergic shock.”
Flying with nut allergies – what you need to know
If you have a nut allergy, you should inform staff at the gate and, once you board the aircraft, also let the cabin crew know. The cabin crew then usually go on to make an announcement, saying: “We have a passenger with a severe nut allergy today. We won’t be selling any products with nuts or peanuts, and we ask that you don’t consume any while you’re onboard.”
But it is always important to check beforehand because not all airlines are accommodating. For example, Emirates says on its website that it cannot guarantee any of their meals are nut-free and passengers with severe allergies should check with their doctor before they fly.
The airline’s website says: “We can’t guarantee our meals are nut free. We serve nuts on all our flights, either as a meal ingredient or as an accompaniment to drinks. Other passengers may also bring food on board that contains nuts, and traces of nut residue could be passed on to other surfaces of the aircraft as well as through the air conditioning system. If you have a nut allergy, we recommend discussing your travel plans with your doctor before you fly.”