The following article is forwarded to you by the Great Lakes ADA Center (www.adagreatlakes.org) for your information:
January 15, 2017
Food allergy group files federal complaint over American Airlines’ peanut policy
Conner Shine, Aviation Writer
A food allergy advocacy group filed a federal complaint against American Airlines this week over the carrier’s policy of not allowing passengers with severe nut allergies to preboard its planes along with other passengers with disabilities.
“The Air Carrier [Access] Act says anyone with any type of disability can preboard to stabilize themselves on the aircraft before general boarding starts,” said Dr. James Baker, CEO and chief medical officer of Food Allergy Research and Education, a nonprofit advocacy group. “We aren’t asking them not to serve nuts or restrict people from serving any type of food. All we want them to do is simply to remove the pre-boarding restriction for people with food allergies.”
Allowing people with severe allergies to preboard gives them time to wipe down their seats and tray tables before the hectic general boarding process begins, Baker said.
American does not serve peanuts on its flights but does serve other nut products. There’s also the chance other passengers will bring peanuts on board.
On its website, American said it does not allow people with nut allergies to preboard and adds that it is not able to provide nut “buffer zones.”
“Our planes are cleaned regularly, but these cleanings are not designed to ensure the removal of nut allergens, nor are our air filtration systems designed to remove nut allergens,” the company’s policy reads. “We are unable to guarantee that customers will not be exposed to peanuts or other tree nuts during flight, and we strongly encourage customers to take all necessary medical precautions to prepare for the possibility of exposure."
An American spokesman said the company has not reviewed the complaint and declined to comment beyond the publicly available nut allergy policy.
Baker’s group filed the complaint with the Department of Transportation on Tuesday, asking the agency to investigate the alleged violation of the Air Carrier Access Act.
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Derek Mortland, ADA and Community Outreach Coordinator