Over 14,000 people are pressuring federal lawmakers for regulations which would establish strict peanut-free safety zones on airplanes for passengers with a peanut allergy, The Hill reports.
The regulatory pressure originally came about after Lianne Mandelbaum, the mother of a child with a life-threatening peanut allergy, had a confrontation with United Airlines, after which she was basically kicked off the plane. As she remembers, she was rudely told by United Airlines that “if you think he’s going to die, don’t get on the plane.”
Since then, Mandelbaum has been actively recommending new regulations for airlines which would establish a buffer zone around allergic passengers, effectively banning peanuts three rows in front and behind of a person with a peanut allergy. This means that airlines would not be allowed to serve peanuts in that defined area, and passengers who bring their own peanuts onto the flight within the buffer zone would similarly be banned from eating peanuts.
The proposed rules would also prohibit airlines from removing passengers from planes just because they have a peanut allergy.
“I am not after a nut ban,” Mandelbaum said. “Just the ability to pre-board, wipe down the seat area, and make an announcement that will let everyone live with their own moral compass around me.”
Mandelbaum has so far convinced the New Jersey Senate in 2013, WestJet, and Jet Blue Airways, after meeting with airline officials and requesting that they establish policies on a company level. United Airlines, however, remains uncooperative, according to Mandelbaum, and Delta Airlines has been silent in response to queries. Now, Mandelbaum is looking to the federal level for standardized and mandated regulations that apply to all airlines across the country.
“Children and adults with food allergies should be able to report their allergy without fear of being kicked off a flight,” Mandelbaum said. “As it stands, they have no such rights and cases have been reported of people being taken off a flight for reporting a food allergy.”
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