An airline is accused of endangering the life of a teenager allergic to nuts by refusing to stop serving the snacks on a flight.
The family of Isaac Weston, 13, walked off the plane after a ten-minute row with cabin crew during which one passenger said: “This is nuts.”
The Westons say the crew also refused to notify other passengers about Isaac’s potentially fatal allergy.
The family of six, returning to Britain from a family wedding in Peru, were in tears. They had booked with British Airways and were meant to be flying home with Iberia, BA’s sister airline.
Isaac risks dying if he just touches a nut and carries an EpiPen to counter anaphylactic shock.
His sister Leona, 21, said asking passengers not to eat nuts had never been an issue on other flights and was “a small price to pay for a child’s life”.
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She said: “The stewardess said it isn’t company policy. I told them he could die and was told to stop being hysterical.”
Local authority PR worker Leona said Isaac was embarrassed and upset but she told him he had nothing to be ashamed of.
She said: “It’s a matter of life and death – he isn’t deliberately being difficult.” Isaac was diagnosed with allergies after being hospitalised as a toddler after suffering a reaction to tomatoes. He is also allergic to seafood, sesame and apricot.
Problems started for the Westons, who had spent two weeks in Peru, when they boarded the flight at Lima to Gatwick, via Madrid, on October 29.
Leona said BA had reassured them an announcement would be made about Isaac’s allergies. The family eventually flew home to Horton-cum-Studley, Oxon, two days later via Argentina with Latam Airlines which made an allergy announcement.
They say alternative flights and accommodation cost them an extra £6,000.
Leona and mum Selina, 51, a nursery nurse, complained within days of the incident but say they are still waiting for an apology or compensation.
In September it emerged that 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who was allergic to sesame, died after going into anaphylactic shock on a BA flight due to a labelling error on the packaging of a Pret A Manger baguette she ate aboard.
Leona blasted: “You’d think BA and its affiliated companies would be hyper-aware of anything relating to allergies. This feels like an example of a big corporation ignoring little people.
“Staying on that plane with nuts being freely served would have put my little brother’s life at risk. Even if it’s not standard policy it would have been no issue to just make the announcement.
“Isaac’s life is full of risk and fear, he can’t control it and has to adapt so much to his surroundings. You wouldn’t treat a wheelchair-user the way he was.” Iberia said it was not forewarned of Isaac’s allergy and it recommends phoning its call centre beforehand in such cases.
A spokesman said: “If it is a severe allergy, Iberia’s medical service would need to be involved and might even need a report from the customer’s doctor to advise our staff.
“The customers left the aircraft while the purser went to the cabin to tell the flight captain about the customers’ behaviour when they were told that they couldn’t guarantee a ‘peanut free environment’. We would like to apologise for the inconvenience.”
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