Woman with Peanut Allergy
Woman with Peanut Allergy: A woman with a peanut allergy claimed that she had no other option but to purchase all the packets of peanuts available on a plane to prevent the staff from offering them to other passengers, thereby putting her life at risk.
Leah Williams, during a Eurowings flight from London to Dusseldorf, Germany, noticed the cabin crew preparing to serve snacks to passengers. Due to her severe nut allergy, she felt it was necessary to inform the flight attendants so they could notify other passengers and avoid serving peanuts during the flight. However, she alleges that the cabin crew showed little empathy towards her health issues, leaving her with no choice but to buy all the available packets of peanuts to prevent them from being served to others. She ended up spending £144 ($184) on 48 packets of peanuts, nearly three times the price of her plane ticket, and is now seeking a refund.
Williams recently told British reporters, “The stewards looked at me blankly like I was crazy and said, ‘But there is a lot, we’ll have to count them all.’ I said, ‘Please do count them, and I will pay for them all since you have left me with no choice.’ Eurowings should be ashamed of how they handled this situation and made me feel.”
“The worst thing was they actually asked if I wanted to take the peanuts, and I said obviously not,” the 27-year-old woman told Insider Magazine. She added that the crew put the peanut packets in a plastic bag.
Leah Williams stated that the crew refused her request to make an announcement to other passengers not to buy or consume any nuts onboard as it could trigger anaphylactic shock, citing company policy. However, a Eurowings spokesperson claimed that the crew offered to inform passengers seated near Ms. Williams about her condition.
“We are very sorry that the flight with us did not go as smoothly as planned, and we regret any inconvenience this has caused Leah Williams,” a Eurowings spokesperson said. “One thing in advance: Leah Williams was not forced to buy all the packages of peanuts onboard—on the contrary, our purser tried to offer her an alternative solution by informing all passengers sitting around her about Leah’s allergy. She agreed at first but then decided to still buy all the packages.”
Eurowings asserts that they cannot guarantee an aircraft free of foodstuffs that may trigger an allergic reaction, such as peanuts, as passengers are allowed to bring their own food onboard. Additionally, despite regular cleaning, the company cannot prevent the accumulation of peanut/nut traces. They emphasize that passengers with nut allergies should carry any necessary medication in their hand luggage. It remains unclear if Eurowings intends to reimburse Leah Williams for the cost of the 48 packets of peanuts, but it appears unlikely.
This incident has sparked a heated online debate, both regarding who is at fault and whether Leah Williams had genuine concerns. According to a scientific study by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, peanut dust is not airborne, and contact may, at most, cause mild local irritation.