Was EasyJet Right To Ban Nuts From The Cabin?

Last month easyJet officially banned the sale of nuts from it’s flights. This is in addition to stopping passengers from bringing nuts onboard if there is someone with a nut allergy. The aim of this policy is to make the cabin safer for those who have allergies.

An EasyJet A320
An EasyJet A320. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

An official statement from an easyJet spokesperson said:

“The safety and welfare of all of our customers and crew is our highest priority so we have a number of procedures in place to assist customers traveling with a nut allergy.”

Being as cautious as possible

If you’re a frequent flyer you may have already been on a flight where an allergy announcement has been made. I’ve personally been on several easyJet and Ryanair flights in the last few months where the cabin crew have notified passengers of someone onboard with a sensitive nut allergy. We were asked not to consume any nut products for the duration of the flight. The first time I experienced this I had some peanuts I was planning on enjoying during the flight. With no alternate food I was definitely a little grumpy about this unexpected news.

However, a minor inconvenience for one person may mean a life-or-death situation for someone else. And at 35,000 feet there’s not much that can be done in an emergency. I personally have no deathly allergies to any foods or other substances, therefore I can only imagine how incredibly difficult it must be to deal with that threat on a daily basis. I have the luxury of not having to read the fine print on the back of any food packaging, nor do I have to ask restaurant staff if a particular dish contains an allergen. Those are obvious actions that those with sensitive allergies can take.

Pack of Nuts
A package of cashew nuts served on a Thai Airways flight Photo: Wikimedia Commons

However, on the other hand there is so much that is due to the actions of others. This might include mislabeling, employee negligence or, in the case of this article, an enclosed space filled with hundreds of other people who may not know or care about those with nut allergies.

It makes business sense

From a business and liability standpoint this policy makes perfect sense. Cabin crew can be very busy. This leaves opportunity for a distracted flight attendant to forget about a nut allergy and start serving nut products. With hundreds of easyJet flights operating everyday, if the airline can completely remove nuts from it’s supply chain then it’s one less opportunity for a lawsuit. Furthermore, if passengers are asked not to eat nuts when someone in the cabin has an allergy, the responsibility moves from the airline to its passengers, theoretically at least.

Easyjet Interior
EasyJet will no longer sell nut products on its flights Photo: Pexels

It’s doubtful that passengers will not fly with easyJet just because they no longer sell food products containing nuts. Therefore this seems like a low-risk decision, and one that can only result in another level of safety for passengers with sensitive nut allergies.

What do you think about this move? Was easyJet right to stop the sale of nuts on all of its flights? Or do you think the decision should be on a flight-by-flight basis?