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US Seeks Comment on Proposal to Ban or Restrict Peanuts from Airplanes

Last week the Department of Transportation proposed several customer-focused rule changes, including increasing the amount of money airlines must pay to passengers who are bumped.

Buried deep in that document, though, was one of the goofier things we’ve seen from the government:  a proposal to ban or restrict peanuts from airplanes.  At this point, the DoT is just requesting comment from the public on the proposed changes, so it’s not as if they have told airlines to stop serving peanuts (or to set aside a peanut-free zone).  However, the fact that this has even come up makes me shutter.  First off, I should note that for my entire life I have had a severe nut allergy, so I more than sympathize with parents of children who have peanut allergies.  But this proposal furthers the nanny state situation we see in schools where peanuts are either banned, or peanut non-eaters are relegated to their own cafeteria gulag.

Banning peanuts on airplanes (or schools, for that matter) helps no one.  I learned at an extremely young age not to eat nuts.  Children are much smarter than we give them credit for (especially in this area), and banning peanuts (or whatever other substance they decide) never helps young allergy sufferers figure out how to deal with their problem.  This specific proposal is simply ridiculous, as any passenger’s seat can be a nut-free zone SIMPLY BY DECLINING THE NUTS.  I’m hardly a Libertarian, but I think the DoT needs to leave us all alone and let us eat, or not eat, our peanuts in peace.

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  1. Aren’t there a few folks who can even be impacted by peanut dust? I thought that Southwest will remove all peanuts from a plane (and replace them with another snack) if you make that request (presumably based on medical reasons).

  2. If there are people allergic to peanut dust (few and far between), then those people are already affected. This really won’t change anything.

  3. Airplanes present a unique situation for people with food allergies. The air is circulated throughout the cabin which causes the peanut dust to be distributed even near people who are not consuming the peanuts. Also, there is no option for removing yourself or seeking medical help if you have a severe reaction at 30,000 feet. As a mother of two children with peanut allergies, and the wife of someone who suffers from peanut allergies, I can tell you that banning peanuts on airplanes will be much safer for my family and other families like mine. We just had issues with this over the weekend when my family traveled on 4 different airplanes. My daughter had a reaction from sitting on the seat that had peanut residue on it and there weren’t any peanuts offered on the flight! Both my husband and daughter experienced difficulty breathing after the peanuts were passed out, even though no one in our rows were eating peanuts. Jared, I have to say that I completely disagree with you on this one.

  4. @Ally
    Thanks for the note. I don’t disagree that severe food allergies cause a significant problem for my kids, and it is extremely scary to have a reaction in the air (my worse flying experience ever occurred a couple of years ago when I ate something with nuts 35,000 feet over Azerbaijan, and had an awful reaction.) I’m just saying that children with allergies ride the subway, buses, taxis, other people’s cars, go in restaurants, etc where peanuts are, or have been, present. Most airlines will avoid serving peanuts on a flight if you call and let them know. Legislating what can be served on a plane leads to a slippery slope — I have tree nut allergies, not peanut allergies. Why should they serve tree nuts on planes? It’s not an easy issue, but legislation is not the answer.

  5. I am for this proposal. My son has extreme peanut allergy reaction that he went to anaphylactic shock before and I almost lost him. I want to visit my home country after almost 20 years and am excited for my son to finally see his roots. But now I am wary about not assured of a peanut-free flight. I pray this proposal will be agreed and implemented.

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