St Albans family left stranded in US due to nut allergy
- Credit: Archant
A local family found themselves stranded in the US after being refused their flight home because of their son’s severe nut allergy.
The Levitan family, of St Albans, were visiting friends in Florida but when they tried to board their return flight they were refused at the gate.
The family were stuck for two days after being turned away by American Airlines, the company they were flying with, despite making them aware of the issue on their first journey.
Dad, Howard Levitan, told BBC News: “After I requested it and after they spoke to their head office, they told us they were not allowing us to fly because they deemed Daniel, my son, a risk to other passengers if he went into shock, or anaphylactic shock if someone opened up some peanut or nut products on the plane.”
Their first journey resulted in delays as the staff worked out what to do, but when they arrived to their return flight, they were told their request for a nut-free return flight had been rejected.
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Daniel, 11, said: “I’m missing two days of school and I think it’s all my fault that we can’t get home sometimes.”
For severe allergy sufferers like Daniel, even the dust off a packet of nuts can circulate through a plane’s ventilation system and potentially cause an allergic reaction.
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The family booked through British Airways, but flew with American Airlines, and both claim not to serve nuts on their flights.
Some airlines will remove nuts from a flight if a request is made far in advance, while others don’t.
A spokesperson for American Airlines said: “American Airlines has a clear policy of not serving peanuts on board but we cannot guarantee that passengers will not bring their own peanuts on to the aircraft.
“In cases where there is reasonable doubt that the individual can complete the flight safely, without requiring extraordinary medical assistance during the flight, the airline may request a medical certificate.”
It is believed that the certificate was requested on the return journey, which delayed the Levitan’s trip home.
Despite the trials faced by the family, they were eventually able to fly home to London on Monday.