Singapore Airlines Reviews Policy For Serving Nuts After A Toddler Suffers Allergic Reaction

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Singapore Airlines is in the process to review it’s policy concerning serving nuts in the cabin after one of their passengers suffered an allergic reaction.

The airline felt prompted to issue a statement saying they would reconsider serving nuts on board however SQ has been silent since the incident with no update regarding the matter.

When the incident happened in July there was a lot of chatter on social media with people going through the usual ‘blame game’ of whose fault it is when someone suffers an allergic reaction due to nut allergy.

Singapore Airlines said they would review their policy of serving nuts on board their aircraft but since then (it happened in late July) there was no further announcement on the matter.

Back then the BBC (access here) reported about it and included the public statement of Singapore Airlines as well.

Marcus Daley suffered a severe allergic reaction after passengers around him opened their snack packets of peanuts.

He went into anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition which can be triggered by food including peanuts and shellfish. He was travelling with his parents to Melbourne after a holiday in Thailand.

His father Chris Daley, a doctor specialising in respiratory issues, told the Australian Broadcast Corporation that his son received a special nut-free meal but quickly became severely ill when others were eating their nuts.

“He started vomiting, his eyes were starting to swell and he couldn’t speak properly,” Mr Daley said, adding that the family was less than an hour into their seven-hour flight home. Thankfully, the Daleys had brought anti-allergy medication, which quickly brought the situation under control.

This sounds like a rather difficult situation. You might come in contact with nuts at many places and instances in daily life if the dust alone causes such an extreme reaction if a person suffers from the condition.

Major airlines such as Qantas, Air New Zealand and British Airways do not serve nuts during its flights or offer them in in-flight meals.

Singapore Airlines said this back then:

Singapore Airlines issued a statement on Wednesday saying it would review the serving of nuts on board all flights.

“As soon as our crew were made aware of the situation, they immediately removed all packets of peanuts from the area around the affected passenger and his family,” the airline said.

“Our crew suspended the service of peanuts in the Economy class cabin for the remainder of the flight.”

It added that passengers with nut allergies were able to request nut-free meals when making their flight bookings but said that they were not able to guarantee “a nut free cabin”.

“We do not have any control over passengers consuming their own snacks or meals on board, which may contain nuts or their derivatives,” the airline said in reply to a customer’s comment on its Facebook page.

So far so good and indeed Singapore Airlines or any carrier for that matter can’t police what passengers are eating on board. It appeared though that since then not much changed at SIA and they are still serving nuts as a snack.

Here is SIA’s respective page dealing with the topic of nut allergies.

… We’ll make every reasonable effort to accommodate your request for a nut-free meal. However, we’re unable to provide a nut-free cabin or guarantee an allergy-free environment on board. It’s not unusual for other passengers on our flights to be served meals and snacks containing nuts or their derivatives. We also have no control over passengers consuming their own snacks or meals on board, which may contain nuts or their derivatives.

We request that you take every necessary precaution, bearing in mind the risk of exposure. If you have any concerns about your fitness to travel, we encourage you to share this information and discuss your travel plans with your doctor. …

It’s a relatively balances response but apparently the question of moving nuts out of the cabin entirely is off the table (unless the ‘review’ is still ongoing).

Conclusion

It’s not easy to travel with certain dietary requirement and especially with health deficiencies in regards to something as simple as peanuts. People bring all sorts of items to eat on the plane and at the same time peanuts or other types of nuts are popular as a snack.

Would I really care if an airline stopped serving them? Probably not as long as they provide something else. In any case it’s hard to please everybody. Singapore Airlines already offers special meals which is probably as far as any airline can go unless they really want to ban nuts from their catering which still wouldn’t take care of the problem of peoples own snack items.

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