We had flown Hawaiian Airlines from Las Vegas to Honolulu on December 19th with no issues. But on the way home it was a whole different story. While discussing the airlines we were to fly I informed my travel agent of my two children’s severe allergy to nuts. She told me that she would contact Hawaiian Airline to let them know and see if this would pose a problem. After she made that call she confirmed with me that it was documented and should not be an issue. She also recommended that I call as well to speak with them and reconfirm, which I did on November 18, 2013. I spoke with a woman named Katie who assured me that they would document this in our record and make sure that no nuts were served on board. She also told me to reconfirm at the gate, that way if it was to be missed for any reason they could stop anything from being put on board at that time. I felt confident, it was all set and that my children would not be in danger.
So when flying out from Vegas I talked with the gate agent and was told that they were not serving any food because it was an overnight flight. Perfect I thought!
After being on Oahu for a week we went through Hawaiian Airline to Maui and back to Oahu with no issues, again not serving food on board. When returning from Maui to Honolulu we headed right to the gate to board flight HA 50 heading for New York, JFK.
We stood in line waiting to talk with the gate agent. Upon doing so, we explained that we had spoken with someone from Hawaiian and they told us to reconfirm at the gate about our children’s nut allergies. She responded by saying that they would not accommodate us and that it was not their policy to do so. I was dumbfounded and upset. I took out my paperwork to show them that I had indeed spoken with Katie from Hawaiian Airlines on November 18th. Had I been told at that time that Hawaiian would not accommodate for my children’s nut allergy I certainly would not have kept our air reservation. There are other airlines that I knew would accommodate us. The gate agent then said that they serve about five different items on board that have nuts in them, a nut encrusted entree, a chocolate cake with macadamias, a snack pack with almonds and two other things were also available for purchase or first class. They were going to serve them no matter what. I ask for a manager and had to wait while the plane was boarding until he finally arrived.
His name was Henry Koizumi. He told me the same thing, that they would not accommodate us even though we had spoken to Katie in November regarding their allergies. I tried desperately to explain to him that this could be a matter of life or death, with approximately 300 people in a closed capsule all eating something that our kids are highly allergic to, could be fatal. The partials in the air, the touching of everything in close quarters without the passengers being readily able to wash their hands would pose an incredibly high risk. One that my family was not willing to take. We always carry epi-pens with us, and had six in our carryon luggage, however they would last maybe an hour for each child, then what? We were flying over the Pacific Ocean. As the plane finished boarding we were still discussing this to no avail. At that point I told Henry that he was going to have to find us some other way home. We were not going to board that plane.
We were then taking to a different part of the airport while he tried to figure something out. All the while we were all so very upset, my son told me he had never been so frightened in his life, that from a seventeen year old boy. My daughter was crying and sick to her stomach the entire evening. After waiting a while he came back and told us that he booked us on a flight to Los Angeles at 10:30 that evening through Hawaiian Air but because it was an overnight flight no food would be served. Then from there Jet Blue would take us the remainder of the way. It was around 5:00pm at this point so we were going to have to wait five and a half more hours. I asked him what we were supposed to do in the meantime after leaving our hotel seven hours before. He took us to the lounge and told us we could wait there, there were complimentary soda and coffee available, but to wait another five hours meant at least another meal for the four of us. Maybe a complimentary meal would have been nice, but that was not offered. After waiting the remainder of the time we boarded flight HA 4 to Los Angeles with not further issues.