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What's Happening Now

June 2, 2010 3:06 pm

I wholeheartedly support all of DOT’s efforts to make the bumping process more transparent and provide air travelers with the ability to make a more informed decision. I was under the impression, however, that part of the formula the airlines use to predict the amount of ticket oversales is inaccurate, as it goes by calendar date without regard to weekday (or possible holiday), and thus, doesn’t take into account variations such as travelers being more likely to miss an early Sunday morning flight out of Vegas than a Tuesday morning one. Is this true? If so, is there any way that the DOT can require airlines to improve the formula to help keep costs and ticket prices down while still helping to resolve the ticket oversale issue?

June 2, 2010 3:11 pm

While it is hard to know where to draw the line on this issue, without further knowledge, I would support banning peanuts and certain obvious peanut products, like peanut butter crackers, from flights. I think pretzels are a fine alternative, and it seems to be a lesser burden for people who don’t have peanut allergies to be required to refrain from consuming peanut products for the duration of a flight than for a peanut allergy sufferer to have to risk the potential serious allergy attack during a flight. But I am interested in hearing from peanut allergy suffers out there– where should the peanut banning line be drawn? Would it need to include Snickers bars? Any product with peanut oil? What might such a ban look like?

June 9, 2010 5:59 pm

It would be better to have fewer promises the airline has to keep than having misleading or never communicated standards.

June 4, 2010 2:28 am

Peanuts are banned in Schools and Daycares. Coming from a person that has a SEVERE peanut allergy for 37years, I say “draw the line” at products that actually contain the ingredient. Snickers? Yes.. chips that “may contain peanut oil?” No. I am so severe that if someone eats a peanut cookie and without washing their hands, touches mine… I can litterally turn blue and have a severe asthma attack and be hospitalized. Can you imagine being in a plane thousand of miles up and having that happen? I’ll pass.

June 4, 2010 12:08 pm

Regardless of the formula used by airlines to compensate bumped passengers or even if flights are delayed for over 3 hours that fact remains ailines are not forthcomiong with passengers about their rights. Example: Flight delay due to mechanical problem with an anticpated wait time of 3 hours. Technically the airline is required to compensate passengers with a meal voucher. It’s been my experience you’ll get the voucher but only if you ask. Many families & individuals traveling are on a budget – that 3 hour delay can kill a budget for unexpected meals. Airlines should be required to announce and post on the gate flight board that passengers can claim a meal voucher during the delay. Vouchers ahould be handy to the airliner’s customer service staff at the gate.

It’s… more »

…all about establishing systems that are clear and protocol is established. That means if a flight is delayed longer than 3 hours or a passenger is bumped as system is in place that is tranparent to airline personell and airline customers. No tiny font but rather written in a conspicuous place, in large font, and clear to all what the policy is, how it is applied and what process is used for a passenger to receive compensation – be it a meal voucher or for being bumped. Clear and understandable to all with no opportunity for any airline or passenger to work the system. « less
June 6, 2010 2:00 am

Our daughter is even allergic to airborne peanut dust in a plane when other people open their bag of complementary peanuts in the opposite end of the plane… gasping for air and almost choking.

Once she told the cabin crew about her allergy at the gate AND again when she got on the plane. The result… they gave her a handi-towel and told her to wipe the armrests of her seat off. Then, then served peanuts to everyone on the plane… even the people sitting next to her. Should she have gotten any worse, they might have had to make an emergency landing… at whose expense???

June 6, 2010 8:41 pm

First, I have my fair share of allergies and have spent a fair share of time in the ER, with allergic reactions. As a parent, I understand the pain that some of the parents have related in their stories.

We, the ones with allergies are very few and far between, when we consider the flying public. I have my share of epi-pens, in the event one is needed or prednisone, should I have a case of anaphylaxis. As they say in the BSA, “Be Prepared.”

I guess I am fortunate since my symptomology is always similar in nature and covers a four to 12 hour period: Itchy skin, itchy scalp, swelling of joints, poor demeanor, then hives and off to the ER if an anti-anaphylaxis drug isn’t in use by the time hives break out, which is usually 4 hours after the first symptoms start to manifest… more »

…themselves or the scalp becomes itchy.

If this is a case where people, with these allergies are deemed “handicapped,” these people should have their medication on their person, to mitigate anaphylaxis.

I do. After the medication is ingested or injected, relief comes in less than five minutes and the only discomfort I have had is a case of the sweats and / or a minor headache.

When peanuts are served, they come individually wrapped and it is the responsibility of the passenger to dispose of the wrapper, accordingly.

Is DOT going down a slippery slope? What if the Americans of Moslem and Orthodox Jewish Faiths demand that pork products be banned from all air flight? What if the Americans of the Hindustani or vegeterian beliefs, start demanding no more beef? How about those “dairy folks?” No more cheese or milk?

I regret to say that although pretzels have been offered as an alternative, they aren’t a substitute for peanuts. Also, I have been advised that cashews are edible by people with peanut allergies and could be used as a substitute.

Since medication is portable (Injectibles and oral), I believe that a warning that peanuts are being used is sufficent and that flight attendents be trained in the usage of epi-pens for this purpose.

When airlines are forced to limit the types of food it can serve, esecially when less than 1% of the flying public it serves, it impacts price, quality of service and capitulates to the will of the very small minority, in which there is a ready solution that is present.

Maybe we should have “plastic bubbles” for each individual passenger?

I say “no” to such a food rule and would encourage all passengers and parents to execise a little responsibility and be pro-active in the introduction of the appropriate medication, when necessary.

Note: A long time ago, to be a flight attendent, one also had to be a Registered Nurse. « less

June 11, 2010 3:57 pm

How about people with gluten allergies… we better ban pretzels too… See how ridiculous and out of control this can get if we let it? This isn’t a DOT issue, it’s not a disability issue like a person that needs a ramp for a wheelchair, it’s a common sense issue that requires the person with the disability to prepare for the isolated emergency by taking proper steps like an epi pen, or an allergy tablet, the same as they would anywhere else, rather than expecting a controlling governmental agency to impose more bans that in effect infringe upon the rights of far more people… things have gotten far out of control. How many times have you seen a completely healthy person with no obvious disability get out of a vehicle in a parking lot with a wheel chair placard… more »

…on their mirror? I know two people exactly like this that have been able to work the system well enough to get such placards when they don’t deserve or require them, they’re in fact lazy. At some point, this nonsense has to stop. « less
June 11, 2010 11:55 pm

It seems that so many people on this forum want perfect, cushy, super-convenient, AND inexpensive airline travel. Unfortunately, that is IMPOSSIBLE. Since airlines have to be competitive AND make a profit for their investors, things will NOT be perfect. Also, since people are human, there will be errors made by airline personnel. Some of these comments just sound like people want to do what they want (cancel last-minute) but yet get 100% of their fare refunded regardless if the airline is able to sell that seat or not. In other words, it sounds like “to hell with the airlines”.

Remember, the more regulations government puts on companies, the more prices go up.

June 11, 2010 11:56 pm

It seems that so many people on this forum want perfect, cushy, super-convenient, AND inexpensive airline travel. Unfortunately, that is IMPOSSIBLE. Since airlines have to be competitive AND make a profit for their investors, things will NOT be perfect. Also, since people are human, there will be errors made by airline personnel. Some of these comments just sound like people want to do what they want (cancel last-minute) but yet get 100% of their fare refunded regardless if the airline is able to sell that seat or not. In other words, it sounds like “to hell with the airlines”.

Remember, the more regulations government puts on companies, the more prices go up.

P.S. With the economy the way it is, more regulation like this will only make the airlines have to cut jobs, thus raising unemployment

June 12, 2010 7:56 pm

I long for the day when I can book a flight for my family. But at the moment, that seems practically impossible as my 4 year old son has a severe peanut allergy. He has reacted in an enclosed room before. Thankfully, we were on land, not thousands of feet up in the air, making treatment much more feasible. I am terrified of being on a plane and him coming into contact with peanuts in any way shape or form. I have contacted airlines to see if a request could be made to keep a flight peanut free, but was advised not to fly with them instead or to simply stand up on the flight and beg everyone not to eat peanuts during the flight. I have chosen not to fly. We live 13 hours from our family. It is a drive-able distance, but I would love to be able to spend more time with my family than… more »

…getting there and back or consider a vacation where driving would not be an option (i.e. Hawaii).
I know a day will come when we need to get somewhere in a limited amount of time. At this point, I would have to find childcare for my son as he could not come with us, or not attend at all.
My son did not choose this allergy. There is nothing he can do to make it go away. He is dependent upon other people to keep him healthy by preventing him from ingesting or inhaling any peanut product. In this way it is a disability.
I remain hopeful the the DOT will ban all peanut products on flights and inform all passengers on a flight when a person with such an allergy is on board. « less
June 12, 2010 3:11 am

I could not be happier if airlines discontinue serving peanuts on flights. As a life long peanut allergy sufferer, I have always held out hope that airlines would recognize that they are providing their passengers with the #1 food allergy product. I have seen many arguments that they should be banned in restaurants, ballparks etc., however, those venues are completely voluntary (establishments that promote/provide peanuts that are shelled and thrown on the floor do not get my business) but airline travel is a closed quarters, necessity for many people. I, for one, have to contend with residue and airborne particulate from those little bags of roasted peanuts served on aircraft almost on a daily basis since I am an airline Captain. For 22 years I have been meticulous with keeping my work… more »

…environment (flight deck) safe for me by not consuming items that may contain peanuts, avoiding touching my eyes and asking my co-pilot not to consume bagged peanuts (other peanut products that don’t risk going airborne are usually ok). Unfortunately, my ability to control my environment becomes more difficult when I am assigned a reposition flight and must ride as a passenger. I advise the flight attendants and hope they remember. I have suffered mild/moderate anaphyalactic and asthmatic distress if I am unaware that someone opened a bag of peanuts. Thankfully that type of exposure is not life threatening (at least not yet) but the concern is very real. I am not a child, I am not traveling for pleasure and I don’t have the power of completely removing something that can be life threatening for me while at work so I do the best I can to continue safely performing my duties as an airline pilot. I support the ban for airlines not to serve bagged peanut products and support the requirement that a public address announcement be made for those that have brought their own on board refrain from consuming them. When traveling in the cabin, I am always aware of those around me and what they are consuming. I have come to find that my sensitivity is mostly a distance of 1 row forward and back and two seats laterally (about 5-6 feet). If I can detect the odor of peanuts then I become concerned. In case you were wondering, yes I do carry an epinephrine auto injector (never used one), Allegra and antihistamine eye drops. Not having peanuts served during a flight would be of great benefit for me and other allergy sufferers. As a side note, commercial grade, not cold pressed, peanut oil is fine for most peanut allergy sufferers. The process of extracting the oil leaves none of the offending protein. I have consumed many products prepared with peanut oil, albeit with great trepidation, and have not had any adverse reactions. « less
June 17, 2010 5:29 pm

Peanuts should never be banned anywhere! Best food for the size available. If my kid’s school were to attempt to ban them, they would be the target of a discrimination lawsuit. Food allergies are incredibly rare. Most people who believe they are allergic only think so because their parents misinformed them out of total paranoia. c1r2mom – have you actually HAD that reaction, or do you just think you might?

June 22, 2010 1:42 pm

I think it’s fair to ban airlines from serving packets of peanuts. If people want peanuts, they can certainly get their own and really, why do you need peanuts specifically? On Southwest you can already request a peanut free flight as far as what they offer (they offer crackers instead).

DO I think they should ban all peanut products, such as peanut butter or Snickers or things like that? No. Maybe work to create a peanut free zone, allow people with allergies to move and/or make the peanut product eating person move. Dust won’t spread in that way, making it safer for people who are allergic to peanuts, but without restricting too much the rights of others. Even schools, for example, generally have a place where students can eat their lunch – a peanut free table or something… more »

…similar. We need to balance things.

For the record, I have friends with gluten allergies, etc who have a limited set of foods they can eat, peanut products being one of them. If we start regulating food too much, you’re going to always be having someone who can’t eat anything allowed on the flight due to their own sensitivities.

*I’d like to add – I don’t think airlines need to necessarily serve peanut products. If you want peanut stuff, bring it, but you don’t have a “right” to be served peanuts by the airline. I say this as someone with no allergy. But banning people from bringing peanut products – especially products that just contain peanuts as one ingredient, not bagged – goes too far. « less

June 22, 2010 8:14 pm

Well, a peanut allergy should be known in children flying, but sadly, too often it is too late then. I do not back banning peanuts, but even in doubt, a child would get peanuts, when they can produce proof of no such allergy, if in doubt, give something else. A law that prevents harm, does not have to be a blanket law. There are intelligent ways to do this. There is a way, to tell someone whether or not a patient is allergic to peanuts. It could be part of a passport. What about salt sensitive folks and pretzels? What about gluten allergy?

June 23, 2010 4:15 am

An outright ban on all commercial flights is unjustifiable and would be strongly fought by the peanut industry, congress, and others. Follow existing models. For example, in schools across America, there are peanut-free classrooms and peanut-free lunch tables in cafeterias. Peanut-free schools in whole are rare to non-existent.

If you mandate the offering of peanut-free flights, airlines are likely to simply phase out peanuts from their menus.

For a peanut-free flight, it is not enough to simply ban handing out peanut snacks. All passengers must be told and screened for peanuts and peanut-containing products. Those PB&J sandwiches are ubiquitous — I’m sure at least one passenger has one on most every flight.

So yes, provide a safe, peanut-free environment, but don’t… more »

…go overboard and beyond what is necessary and customary to accommodate the disability.

I feel bad for the peanut industry. All this negativity translates to economic losses. I would encourage you not to single out peanuts but rather all allergyns. Allow people to specify their allergyn and severity, and then either make the area or entire flight free of the allergyn (including informing and restricting what passengers can board with — oh, and they should wash their hands well to remove the oils/allergyns). « less

June 23, 2010 4:30 pm

Whatever happened to personal responsibility? I am a firm believer that people should not put themselves in harms way…that being said, if a person wants to do something that may cause them harm, then need to take precautions to mitigate the harmful effects, or not partake in the activity. If you want to fly and have an allergy, you should insure that you have medication available and wear a mask, gloves and whatever else you need to protect yourself.

One percent reported incidents is hardly enough to attack an entire industry, be it the Airlines or the Peanut industries.

What next must be banned to appease those people that have no personal responsibility?

June 26, 2010 1:33 am

As a traveler with no peanut allergy, I am nevertheless sympathetic to the problems that can arise. However, I think that either a complete restriction or a buffer zone should not be an airline responsibility. One cannot sterilize the environment of all dangerous or potentially dangerous items or conditions.

I believe that responsibility resides with the allergy-sensitive person, to make the decision on exposure, and have the medical items needed to deal with individual exposures. Certainly, airlines could carry Epi-pens, but the allergic individual should rely on their own medication to control an allergic reaction.

I believe, that NO regulation should be adopted on this issue.

June 26, 2010 7:20 pm

I would only support restrictive rules banning passengers from carrying any items containing peanuts if and only if airlines resumed serving free meals. Most people who do not suffer peanut allergies do not know how to purchase foods that don’t contain peanuts. It is unreasonable to expect that every single passenger on every single flight will avoid for example, peanut butter crackers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chocolates, and Thai food. If airlines served free food on the flights once again, they could make sure the food did not contain any peanut products, and the passengers would not feel the need to bring their own food and accidentally expose sensitive passengers to peanut products.

June 28, 2010 3:59 pm

We recently flew with our 9 year old peanut allergic child. We notified the airline in advance as we have for every other flight. I do travel prepared for emergencies,knowing that an epi pen will only work for a short period but carrying it nontheless.

The airline we were on, Delta, announced early in 2010 that they would NO longer be serving peanuts, which is why we chose this airline. First flight, no problem, serving pretzels or cookies. Return flight, as the attendants were approaching our aisle, I thought I was smelling peanuts. I asked and Yes indeedy, they were serving peanuts. Ddn’t know she was onboard, and Gee they’re sorry but they haven’t actually implemnted the policy they advertised of no peanuts. They quickly gave us a 3 aisle buffer zone, which totally… more »

…made the other passengers angry as they wanted the same peanuts the other passengers a row or two ahead of them had gotten. Always nice to have people make angry comments aimed at a CHILD. Yes my daughter felt terrible and was very embarrassed, and I was angry that she had put in a situation that embarrassed her and, more importantly, I was angry that her health was in danger.

The buffer zones, even when implemented in advance of food service simply can not work. Peanuts have oil and that oil gets on the hands of every single person eating them. The oil is then transferred onto every single surface of the airplane, and we all know that no cursory cleaning will take care of it. Even if she is in a “clean zone”, the previous 1000 flights have so contaminated the plane that it is not safe for her. And the bathrooms, armrests, overhead bins, you name it. ANY surface that is touched by a peanut eating person is deadly to my daughter. Fortunately for us, she does not have a severe airborne allergy, or the smell of the forward cabin’s 100 passenger’s munching on peanuts would have killed her!

Being asked to forgo peanut snacks for one flight, one snack, one meal is not a big deal for people when the cost of that snack could be a life. I mean really, even if it’s your fav snack in the world, wouldn’t you give it up for a day if it meant YOUR child might die?? This seems like a no brainer! « less

June 28, 2010 5:19 pm

In this discussion many mention a ‘slippery slope’ – extending to examples of banning of perfume, latex, body oder, etc. This point is interesting, but what if we stand back for a moment and consider what the intended impact of a regulation like this could be? The clear sort of first order response you would expect would be to protect the livelihood / convenience of the sensitive members of our society. I would argue, however, that there is a more dangerous unintended consequence inherent in removing the responsibility of these individuals to be so cautious and concerned for their own safety; by promoting an ‘allergen free’ environment you dilute individual responsibility by distributing the liability evenly to those who travel with the allergic individual.

more »

…More clearly: (hypothetically) packets of peanuts are banned on planes. Passenger A – allergic to peanuts, Passenger B – packs a snack containing traces of peanuts for his/her x hour plane trip. Serendipitously seated next to one another passenger A realizes too late that B has ____ – and ends up dead. Passenger A’s family wants to know who is responsible?

You can’t search everyone’s bag for explosives / sharp objects / and peanuts. You cannot ensure that everyone will read signs and participate willingly. If someone purposely or even accidentally brings a banned peanut on the plane – should they be arrested? or just scoffed at very harshly?

In my opinion, the question of a ban is absurd. I would gladly forgo my allotment of peanuts to preserve someone else’s comfort – but you’re not going to find any solidarity among a random sample of individuals. So I would assert that the most reasonable solution is that allergic people remain guarded in their own concern as this is the situation in which the most value will be generated to motivate proper management. Their steadfast concern for their own health, or that of a loved one will generate the safest environment for everyone involved.

Rather than debating where peanuts should and shouldn’t be, I believe we would be better off investing this energy in trying to find ways to help people better manage their own allergies. This situation (in my mind) does not mandate legislation – but instead reveals that we aren’t yet properly equipped (though tools and further understanding) to allow these members of our society a comfortable / regular life. « less

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