American Airlines Has a ‘Nutty’ Idea

The New York Times: “Tensions between passengers with food allergies and airline staff members have risen in recent years, as airlines have begun to enforce stricter rules related to preboarding passengers. In the past, parents of young children could board the plane early, giving them a chance to wipe down seats, trays and armrests to reduce exposure to allergens. But today many airlines have stopped letting families with children board before other passengers.”

“When families request permission to preboard — or pose another request, such as asking whether nuts will be served — they risk being taken off the flight or threatened with removal … Two formal complaints filed with the Department of Transportation in the last month accuse American Airlines of discrimination against passengers with allergies. The complaints cite the airline’s preboarding policy, which prohibits preboarding specifically for people with allergies, and not for others.”

“Although nobody tracks medical emergencies on airplanes, studies show that in-flight medical emergencies are relatively uncommon and affect only a fraction of the estimated 3.6 billion passengers who fly each year … Allergic reactions make up fewer than 4 percent of all in-flight medical emergencies.”

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