What happens when nuts are served on a flight with passengers who have a severe allergy to such nuts? In the case of one Emirates flight, the crew suggested the allergic passengers take refuge…in the lavatory…for seven hours.
Shannen and Sundeep Sahota were flying from Birmingham to Dubai. Both have deadly nut allergies. Shannen claims to have alerted Emirates no less than three times about their nut allergy (at time of booking, check-in, and when boarding). But when onboard meal service commenced on their flight, the chicken biryani course contained fried cashews. The Sahotas were horrified.
When alerted, the Sahotas claim the cabin crew showed indifference and the cabin supervisor insulted them by suggesting they sit in the lavatory for seven hours. Sundeep told the Mirror,
We were stunned when a supervisor told us ‘one way round it’ was for us to spend the flight in the cabin loo.
Yet the crew ended up giving up two sections of their crew rest seats (in the very rear of economy class) for the Sahatos to spend the remainder of the flight in. They allegedly covered themselves with blankets to prevent ingestion of airborne nut particles.
Here’s a video interview courtesy of the Birmingham Mail:
In response to this issue, Emirates stated it could not guarantee nut-free flights, but added:
We’re very sorry to hear about Ms Sahota’s complaint…
When alerted during the flight, our crew tried their best to offer Ms Sahota and her brother alternative locations in an open space in back of the aircraft cabin to minimise their proximity to other passengers who may be consuming meals with nuts.
And frankly, I think that is correct.
Nut allergies are a very difficult thing to contend with–I am just so thankful I do not have that allergy. On the Dubai to Singapore connection, the Shahotas were placed in the front row of the economy class cabin and watched after by crew. Nuts were still served, though. Should 500 passengers be inconvenienced for one or two with severe allergies? Should Emirates refuse to serve nuts on an A380 with even one allergic passenger? That’s hard to say. What do you think? Ultimately, I’d rather go without nuts than see someone hurt.