The Removal Of Peanuts/Nuts from Airlines
The Removal Of Peanuts/Nuts from Airlines
My name is Luke Sullivan and I am a 14 year old boy with a severe peanut allergy. I carry multiple epi-pens everywhere I go, and I have to think about what is in every food I put in my mouth, and everything that I handle that may have come in contact with peanuts.
Constant diligence is my life. Even being around my friends who may have recently consumed peanut butter sandwiches, M&Ms, the list goes on. The simple childhood ritual of a sleep-over at someone's house is a carefully planned mission. This started when I was 5 years old. I almost died from eating a tiny chocolate containing peanut flour.
It was a peanut allergy I never knew I had. After eating that chocolate I experienced immense stomach pain, sneezing, hives, vomiting, and finally couldn't breathe at all because of a little treat my grandma gave me on Easter Sunday. If I wasn't for my mom & dad rushing me to the hospital I would have died for sure, since I did not own a single epi-pen; with no knowledge of the allergy, why would I? I arrived at the hospital unconscious and not breathing, the doctor later told my parents that it was a good thing they got me to the hospital when they did, otherwise this would have been a whole different story in a matter of minutes.
It was a traumatic experience for everyone: me, my parents, my aunt and uncle, grandparents, and cousins. Everyone but my parents thought that the symptoms were nothing and would subside. Imagine how horrible they would have felt if I had died... Because of this allergy I haven't been on a vacation, (on a commercial airline). How could I fly? Airlines have become more aware about serving peanuts on planes, but many are still doing so. Other passengers can still bring peanuts or peanut butter sandwiches or peanut bars on board with them, and there is nothing I or anyone else with this allergy can do about it. Airlines don't even ask people to not bring or eat these things on board as a matter of practice.
You cannot bring on nail clippers, fluids in full size containers, pocket knives, but you can bring all the peanuts you want even if they could kill 7.5% of the population with anaphylaxis, should they be sitting next to you. This makes the thought of flying anywhere for a vacation ( or in the future for business) very stressful for me and my family, as for something so easily preventable, I have to risk my life at least 30 thousand feet in the air, knowing that if I do have an anaphylactic reaction on board, not even an epi-pen can save me, as it would take time to land and get me to a hospital. So my parents would have to buy epi-pens (each costing over $100) enough for the length of the flight, knowing that each one may help me for about only 10-15 minutes.
I am now an honor roll student, member of student council, a Pay-It-Foward Ambassador, and I live my life to have fun while helping others and putting a smile on their faces. I feel that it would be amazing if everyone would want to help a kid in need. Many don't realize how a simple peanut or peanut oil on a seat arm could threaten someone's life. Why is it so important to have peanuts on planes knowing that it is a well-known, fatally allergenic food?
Why can't travelers consume this later? If I ran an airline I would do everything in my power to make sure every single person was safe and comfortable, especially if it was a child. It only makes sense. If a person dies on your plane for lack of a policy you could have implemented that cost you nothing, how is that publicity?
I respectfully ask that we move forward in making people more aware that 1 in 13 people are affected by food allergies, some fatal, by changing the laws to remove peanuts and tree nuts on planes, provide the necessary training for airline staff on the severity of peanut allergies and epi-pen use, and even carrying several epi-pens on planes in order to be able to help someone in need. That way people like me can travel with less stress and from time to time take the family on a vacation. I think it even makes business sense. Imagine if allergy sufferers and their families could fly; what increase in revenue would there be to the airline that states "We do not serve nuts, and respectfully ask passengers that for the safety of many, to please help us create a safe nut free flying experience and environment by leaving these products in your luggage." The more people who agree, the more chances we have at change.