An 11-year-old peanut-allergic British boy was barred from boarding an American Airlines plane in Miami after his parents demanded, and were refused, a PA announcement requesting fellow passengers not to eat nuts.
The parents of Daniel Levitan are shocked by the way American Airlines treated them and said that a staff member had told them previously that “Americans have the right to eat nuts”.
The bizarre episode began at the gate at Florida’s Fort Myers airport on Sunday, when the parents, Howard and Judith, asked for the announcement, only for an American Airlines staff member to refuse their request.
A confrontation quickly ensued, during which Howard and Judith explained that, in a “worst case scenario”, their son’s throat could close. Allegedly, that prompted AA to bar them altogether. The AA staff member requested a “fit to fly” certificate for Daniel and when the parents failed to produce one, sent the whole family away and canceled their tickets.
The cancellation meant that the family had to stay another two nights in Florida and spend $300 on phone calls, scheduling flights for two days later.
1. Daniel Levitan (third from left) and his family were barred from boarding a U.S. plane after his parents asked for a PA announcement requesting fellow fliers not to eat nuts.
2. Daniel, 11, pictured left with his mother Judith, was taken to hospital at the age of one and has avoided peanuts since.
The Levitans said they warned British Airways, which arranged the AA flights, about Daniel’s severe allergy three weeks before the flight to Miami. BA told them that the airline would “make accommodations”, as long as they told staff members as they boarded the plane.
A public announcement was made on the outbound flight from London, but not on the internal flight to Dallas, which was the first leg of the journey on the way back. Mrs. Levitan said:
I am absolutely appalled. When we approached them the woman taking tickets was clearly already stressed. We told her about the situation and after refusing to help us she then asked what the worst case scenario would be.
We told him he had his steroids, antihistamines, and adrenaline with him if anything happened but the worst case scenario would be that his throat closed and the plane would have to land so he could get medical attention.
Though he has only had one episode when he was diagnosed, that was it for them. They didn’t understand anaphylactic shock or allergies at all despite the fact they had first aid training.
They said they wanted a “fit to fly” medical certificate, but Daniel isn’t ill. I have a relative who is a doctor in America so he sent a letter saying there is no way Daniel could die on the flight.
3. Daniel with his mother Judith, who said she was ‘absolutely appalled’ over the incident.
4. Daniel (right) with his older brother Joel during the family holiday to Florida.
They were eventually boarded on a flight two days later and say that AA staff still refused to make an announcement about Daniel’s condition. The family say that a passenger then opened a bag of nuts in the seat behind them, which prompted Daniel to have a panic attack and start hyperventilating into a paper bag. Mrs. Levitan said:
He was crying and panicking and I’ve never seen him like that. He was completely panicked about having an allergic reaction because of everything that had gone on.
My son has been left with a complex about his allergies following the ordeal, despite us always telling him it would not affect his life.
We had to ask other passengers not to eat nuts ourselves and they couldn’t believe it when they said American Airlines wouldn’t make an announcement.
So, just to reiterate, the family wanted not a warning about the dangers of eating peanuts, but a request for fellow passengers NOT to eat peanuts. Small wander AA did not comply. Still, the family have filed formal complaints against both airlines.
Source: The Daily Mail.
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