I just got back from a trip to India and if you have a peanut allergy and are planning a trip DO NOT fly with Air India. We have visited many countries and not once have we ever had an issue with peanuts on flights until now.
Unbeknownst to us, Air India offer unlimited free peanuts on all international flights and no amount of discussion, begging, or pleading will stop them.
On our flight out we let the airport staff and cabin crew know as usual and they made it clear they understood. However, not once but twice they went down the plane offering multiple packets of peanuts to each passenger. Their planes have three sections as as we were sat in the very last seats of the plane we didn’t know they were being handed out until they were only a few rows away. I made it out of the flight without a reaction but we were terrified the whole way.
We thought it would be better on the flight back, but boy where we wrong. This time we used google translate to explain that my allergy is airborne and if they serve peanuts on this flight there is a high chance I could die.
Well, they removed me from the plane and made it abundantly clear that if I was unhappy with peanuts being served I would have to find my own way home. This holiday was our honeymoon, paid for by our friends and family instead of wedding gifts. We don’t have the money to buy last minute flights on a whim, and Air India would not be paying for us to use another airline.
So, I called my aunt in tears with no idea what to do. My aunt is a nurse, and we judged that as I had managed the first flight without reaction I had a high chance of surviving the second. With no other feasible option we made the terrifying decision to board the flight. No sooner had I taken my seat a staff member taps on my shoulder with a pen and paper. She doesn’t say anything but she doesn’t have to; I am not going anywhere until I officially state it was my decision and I knew the risks.
I reluctantly write a statement, and then spend the next ten hours genuinely terrified for my life as the other passengers are tucking into their peanuts left, right, and centre.
Since getting home I have checked their terms and conditions and I found the following:
“Nuts are served on our international flights as an accompaniment to drinks or sometimes as meal ingredient. An allergic reaction to peanuts or their by-products can be quite serious, we request that you bring your own meal on board if you have a peanut allergy. Air India accepts no responsibility for any allergic reaction you may suffer whilst on board an Air India flight. We suggest that you discuss your travel plans with your doctor to assess your fitness to fly with us in this regard.”
Yes, we were naive to not consider it would be an issue but bloody hell we expected more compassion than that.
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