Following the actions of fellow low-cost carrier easyJet, UK regional airline Flybe will stop serving nuts or nut-based products on flights that it operates. This is meant to prevent potential allergic reactions of its passengers onboard. We think this is great news – here’s why…
Commenting on the news of his airline, Flybe Chief commercial officer Roy Kinnear said:
“Passenger safety is our number one priority, and this extends across all aspects of our own operation. That is why we take the issue of nut allergies extremely seriously and, as an additional measure to those already being taken, have now removed all peanuts and nut-based products from our on board Café Flybe menu…We will also, of course, continue to take the existing preventative measures we have had in place for many years to further reassure those passengers who advise us they are at risk.”
The new standard
A pack of salted nuts and a soft drink used to be the standard on many short-haul flights. However, this may well become a thing of the past – one of those things you’ll hear old people talk about as they start their sentences with “when I was your age…” or “back in my day…”.
“We’ll miss the peanuts, but, at the end of the day, it’s our Southwest Employees and the Hospitality they deliver that set us apart, far more than peanuts ever could,” -Southwest Airlines
According to reporting by the Guardian, research suggests food allergies are on the rise. Allergy UK reports that 6-8% of children are thought to have food allergies. In comparison, less than 3% of adults report the same.
Numbers are growing in “westernised” countries, but also in places such as China, the article reports. SFGate also cites a Jaffe Institute study that found from 1997 to 2008, peanut allergies more than tripled from 1-in-250 children to 1-in-70.
This week, the UK announced plans for a law to have food producers clearly label anything containing traces of nuts. This new law has the name “Natasha’s law” after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who, at the age of 15, collapsed and died. In July 2016, she grabbed a Pret a Manger baguette before boarding a plane at London Heathrow. The baguette was not clearly labelled as containing nuts or traces of nuts, and caused her to have a serious and, ultimately, fatal allergic reaction.
Allergic Living reports that there was a labeling loophole for pre-packaged foods made on the premises that meant Pret was exempt from listing all top allergens on the label. The law will come into effect in the summer of 2021, which gives British businesses two years to adjust.
Not worth the risk
We are sure that most readers and frequent flyers would agree that the absence of nuts onboard a flight is a fair trade-off for avoiding an unexpected medical emergency and subsequent diversion to the nearest airport.
It’s much easier for passengers to avoid eating nuts for a few hours than for a passenger to avoid an allergic reaction. Of course, we welcome opposing viewpoints and opinions – in case there’s something we hadn’t thought about. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment!