Please note preface from Lianne- No Nut Traveler
It is alway my advice to not accept any airline meal, no matter the assurances given. Mistakes happen, recalls happen and flight attendants are often not educated as to what cross contamination is. You are far from medical care up in the air. In my opinion, no meal is worth it.
My daughter and I are both allergic to nuts. My allergy is very severe and I always carry an Epi-Pen auto-injector. I’m truly not sure how severe my daughter’s allergy is but we are very cautious.
We have flown a number of times (she is 8) and we always tell the crew as we board the flight and they have always taken it very seriously, and consequently made an announcement that says they won’t be serving nut products and that no one should eat their own. Jet2 specifically even had an automated pre- recorded announcement now because I believe they realize how common and serious an issue it is.
Our travel was booked with Flybe and on the way out, we were on a Flybe plane. There were also some Air France passengers on board due to code sharing. On the way back, we knew we were going to be on an Air France plane but nevertheless we booked our travel tickets WITH Flybe.
We flew to Paris with Flybe and they did the usual nut allergy announcement. Great. We felt respected and safe. Flying back from Paris was a different story on the Air France flight. It was a nice plane, bigger than the Flybe. As we boarded, my girlfriend informed a female flight attendant about the nut allergy. Her response made me concerned straight away because all she said was ‘No, no we only serve sandwiches’.
We then proceeded to our seats, because people behind us were waiting to board. I told my girlfriend I was concerned, so she told a different flight attendant about our concerns. This flight attendant was even more nonchalant about the food allergy. He had a patronizing, disregarding smirk on his face and he said, “We only serve biscuits and sandwiches. My girlfriend then asked, could you make an announcement to ask people not to eat nuts on the flight? He stretched his grin wider and replied ‘It is not possible’.
Another passenger opposite us had overheard our exchange and suggested we insist. I told my girlfriend that my daughter and I would have to get off the plane if this wasn’t resolved.
My girlfriend then went to the front of the plane to ask the first flight attendant she had originally spoken to and insisted she make an announcement or we would be getting off; to which she told my girlfriend she should go ask the passengers herself. My girlfriend said that is very unprofessional and that the flight attendants are supposed to be in charge of the passengers safety. After a stern word, the flight attendant agreed and she made the announcement in both French and English.
Once we were up and on course the flight attendants were giving out free wraps and drinks. They got to us and said specifically these are for you. They handed us the vegetarian version of the wraps that were being given out to the rest of the plane.
We didn’t eat them as we didn’t really trust the airline at this point. ITS A GOOD THING WE DIDN’T. I managed to nod off for the next 15 minutes and woke up as we were beginning to descend. The nice french lady opposite who had suggested we insist earlier on the announcement had googled one of the french words on the ingredients of the vegetarian wrap. ARACHIDES – peanuts in french.
We didn’t tell the flight attendants but my daughter became hot and felt very sick. Luckily we were about to land and she felt better once we were outside the airport and getting to the car.
How disheartened I am of this airline experience, I can’t truly put into words. They made me feel like a hinderance. I was embarrassed because they were rolling their eyes at my disclosure of a nut allergy. But for them to then insist that the vegetarian wraps were ‘for us’ in a tone that was rude coupled with the fact that the wraps they had specifically given to us (we didn’t choose them) actually contained peanuts was downright dangerous. Obviously there is a disconnect as to what a food allergy is. It is not a choice and it not being a vegetarian.
It’s shocking. I imagine what if we were asleep and my 8-year-old thought she would have a bite of a wrap. She wouldn’t I believe because she is very intelligent and understands the allergy but that isn’t the point. And children make mistakes.
My daughter has told me she doesn’t want to fly with Air France again and we certainly won’t. Complaints are going to be made and I’m hoping to raise awareness. Air France, Flybe and the media need to hear about this because Air France could have been landing in Manchester with a tragedy onboard – perhaps even an 8-year-old who has just watched her dad have a potential fatal attack on the way back from Disneyland. Sound dramatic but that well have been the reality if I had eaten that wrap.