You know the scenario. You’ve got to the airport on time. (Hurrah.) You’ve suffered through security. You’ve got to your gate. You’ve survived the scrum to board. You’ve even managed to find space in the overhead locker for your hand luggage. At last, you can relax. A member of the cabin crew will be along shortly to bring you a welcome drink and a lovely packet of…
Well, it used to be peanuts. Sometimes the peanuts were all you got. Likely it isn’t any more.
The number of people with food allergies is growing.
A peanut allergy, we should remind ourselves, is a proper allergy. Not one of those “Oh, I’m allergic to [insert food item of your choice that you just don’t like but aren’t in the least allergic to].” People with real peanut allergies have real problems with peanuts. They have severe, life-threatening experiences as their immune system overreacts to peanut proteins. The reactions include swelling and difficulty with breathing even after a mild exposure to the stuff, such as a peanut being consumed by someone in the airplane row before or behind. The reactions go all the way up to full anaphylaxis, which can be fatal.
Indeed, there are cases of this happening.
(Peanuts are not, in fact, nuts but legumes. That’s why your peanut packet may contain the apparently unnecessary warning: “May contain nuts” because it may contain traces of actual nuts.)
Seems reasonable then, doesn’t it? To prevent the potential death of a fellow passenger, we should all be willing to have some crisps instead. After all, nobody ever died from needing to eat a peanut.
A number of airlines, including British Airways, no longer serve peanuts on flights.
Whatever the reality, peanuts are obviously driving many people… nuts.
While the debate continues, I certainly don’t mind going a few hours between peanuts and having to slum it with an almond. Or you could just pass the crisps…