Last Friday, an eight- year- old child was barred from a Turkish Airline flight owing to a severe nut allergy. The flight was set to depart from the city of Bodrum in Turkey and arrive at London Gatwick.
The child’s mother, speaking anonymously to The Mirror, said she and her daughter had to stay at Bodrum Airport for 30 hours. During that time, Turkish Airlines didn’t give them any provisions, though it did admit they were liable.
“They left us stranded for 30 hours, with no food, no drinks, nothing,” the woman complained. “It was disgusting. My daughter couldn’t eat anything, because they couldn’t guarantee no nuts. “
The woman informed the staff at check- in that her daughter had the allergy. She also passed along the child’s medical papers, which included a ‘fit to fly’ document signed by her doctor.
The woman’s own mother was allowed to board with no issue. But when it was the child’s turn, problems ensued.
“They boarded everyone, including my mum,” the woman said. “Then [the agent] said, ‘You can’t fly. Due to your daughter’s severe allergies, we cannot allow you to fly back to the UK on this flight. ‘ “
When the woman asked why, the agent couldn’t respond.
Paddle Your Own Kanoo reports, “on board the flight were desserts containing nuts. A member of staff allegedly told the family that Turkish Airlines had loaded the wrong food despite knowing about the girl’s severe nut allergy. “
In June, Turkish Airlines gave a six- year- old child with a nut allergy the same treatment. That flight already had plans to serve nuts in Business Class, and wasn’t willing to cancel them. Her father told the airline that his child’s allergies di lei were so severe that she couldn’t even be in the same vicinity where nuts were present. Instead of being accommodating, the airline kicked off the whole family.
Some say that Turkish Airlines should reconsider its stance and take a page from the book of British Airways.
If somebody on board a British Airways flight has an allergy, the staff makes sure other passengers know this, and no nuts are served. As an added precaution, passengers with nut allergies can board first so they can wipe down their tray tables and other surfaces.
These incidents raise an ethical question. Should airlines make accommodations for those with severe nut allergies? Or is it the responsibility of the person with the allergy to make sure they protect themselves?