Note from Lianne (No Nut Traveler)- When you book a flight-remember to check if any part of the flight is handled by a partner airline that may not have the same policy as the airline you have selected. Another good example is British Air code shares with American.
SHAME, SHAME, SHAME on Korean Air (a Delta Partner) for pulling my 2 boys off the flight because one of them has a peanut and tree nut allergy! I am absolutely outraged and appalled at the way my 2 boys were treated by the Korean Air gate agents and flight attendants.
So, I don’t think I have been this upset ever but when your children are traveling alone half way across the world and they are mistreated my mama bear claws have come out and I want Korean Air and Delta to take accountability for the way they treated my boys.
So here is the backdrop…..My father in law was admitted to the ICU and is in critical condition so our family immediately flew from Manila to Atlanta on Mar 8 to be with him and family. It is a very difficult time for us, so keep our family in your prayers.
After about a week, my father in law had no improvement in his condition, so we decided to send our 2 older boys (age 15 and 16) back to Manila so they can go back to school. We purchased a ticket directly with Delta from Atlanta to Manila. The first leg from Atlanta to Seoul was a Delta flight while the connection from Seoul to Manila was Korean Air, a Delta Partner. This is the first time they were traveling alone, and they left with a heavy heart given their grandfather’s condition.
My Husband and I escorted them to the gate in Atlanta since they were unaccompanied minors. At the gate, the agent said given their ages they don’t need an escort. We were a bit concerned but let them board knowing that they are experienced world travelers and they had a 3-hour layover so enough time to catch the connecting flight.
Now, my kids get on the 14-hour Delta flight and get to Korea. They walk over to their connecting flight with Korean Air who are “partners” with Delta. My oldest son explained to the gate agents his severe peanut & tree nuts allergy (ingestion and airborne) which is what he does when boarding all Delta flights. He asked if they could not serve peanuts, make an announcement for passengers to refrain from eating peanuts, and board early to clean his seat. The gate agent said ok, so they boarded the flight and settled down into their seats. Everything seems to be going great!
BUT NOW THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENS ON THE PLANE…..the flight attendant tells my son that they will be serving peanuts on the flight because they “must let the other passengers enjoy the peanuts”. So, my son explains to her that it is life threatening and he would appreciate if they don’t serve raw peanuts. He kept trying to make them understand that serving peanuts around him could put his life at risk because he could go into anaphylaxis shock. She refused and proceeded to call her supervisor.
IT ONLY GETS WORSE!! The same gate agent comes and tells my son that they can’t accommodate his request. They did not budge and gave our boys only 2 options….either stay on the plane while they serve peanuts to the other passengers or get out of the plane. The boys tried to provide different options like not serving it around them or moving them to an empty section of the plane. But Korean Air didn’t want to hear anything. ALL OF A SUDDEN the agent tells them that they don’t have a choice…..they HAVE to get off the plane. Now imagine the shock they must have felt at that moment. They refused and told the agent that they need to get home to Manila. My son said he would wear a mask risking his own life just to get home.
During this ordeal a kind passenger tried to intervene and scolded the agent that what he was doing was absolutely wrong. The agent didn’t relent and told the boys they must get off the plane while 5 flight attendants were watching and laughing at the spectacle. Imagine how threatening this situation is for 2 minors half way around the world without their parents. To make matters worse the agent had the audacity to pull my son’s shirt to ‘encourage’ him to get off. They felt threatened and given recent events of passengers being physically assaulted and dragged off the plane they worried about how this could escalate. So the boys decided to comply and get off the plane.
Once they were out of the plane and back at the gate my kids pleaded to the agents, but they were very condescending and laughed at them. They tried to get back onto the plane but the agents physically put his hand on my son to stop him. THAT IS ABUSE. You do not touch my child or anyone. The boys said that since the gate was still open they should be allowed to board again but the agent shut the gate on them & said “Well it’s closed now”. The boys were a bit rattled and immediately FaceTimed us to let us know what was happening. My husband and I pleaded and tried to make them understand but they didn’t care and just said they won’t let them board and they can’t travel on this flight. I was in tears pleading with them not to leave my children stuck in the airport but THEY JUST DIDN’T CARE. At one point they were laughing at us. HOW INAPPROPRIATE AND INSENSITIVE. They literally left them alone to figure out what to do. They didn’t offer any help on how to get another flight. THEY JUST WALKED AWAY AND LEFT 2 MINORS TO FEND FOR THEMSELVES……. UNBELIEVABLE!
While sitting with my Father-in-law in the ICU my husband and I are frantically trying to figure out how to get our boys SAFELY back to Manilla or Atlanta. We got on the phone with Delta to make sure they would put them on the next flight out. The Delta agent was just as appalled with how my boys were treated. They revealed that sometimes their partner airlines have different policies regarding baggage, allergies, and pets. Well that’s a problem!! Why does Delta sell tickets for flights with partners and have inconsistent policies???
The agent came back with 2 options, get them on Philippine airlines to Manila & HOPE they will accommodate the allergies or put them on a Delta flight back to Atlanta. The problem is gate agents seem to have a lot of control, as we have learned, and there is no guarantee that Philippine Airlines would accommodate. My son was clearly not comfortable with that option so the we decided to put them on the Delta flight to get them back to Atlanta. We didn’t have any other option given the harsh treatment by Korean Air agents. So now it’s 14 hours from Atlanta to Korea plus the 12-hour layover & another 13 hours back to Atlanta. TOTAL OF 39 HOURS!
So disappointed with Korean Air, a Delta partner airline. SHAME on them for not being considerate & accountable for this situation that they put our minor kids with life threatening food allergies through an unthinkable ordeal. We have been loyal customers to Delta and their partner airlines for a very long time & they have disappointed us beyond redemption. Delta accommodates allergy passengers so why are they partnering with airlines that are not consistent with their values. I guess they value revenue over customer safety. It’s like it is a crime to have an allergies. Extremely disappointed with Korean Air and Delta and they need to figure out what they are going to do to make it safer for those flying with food allergies cause they sure pissed off this mama bear. KOREAN AIR CEO CHO YANG-HO AND DELTA CEO EDWARD BASTIAN YOU OWE MY KIDS A PUBLIC APOLOGY.