Daniel Levitan and his family were kept off of a flight from Fort Myers, Florida, to England on Sunday because of a dispute concerning his peanut allergy. The Levitan family claims that they notified British Airways of Daniel’s allergy three weeks before their scheduled flight. British Airways was supposed to notify American Airlines, the airline that the Levitans were going to return with to England.
Daniel’s parents were told by the airline to notify the attendants of the allergy at the gate. In a worst-case scenario, they explained, the allergy could cause his throat to close up. After telling that to an American Airlines staff member, the worker allegedly asked for a ‘fit to fly’ notification and added, “Americans have the right to eat nuts.” Their tickets were cancelled and they were asked to leave the gate.
“A pilot even came out and said he had no problems making an announcement," Daniel's mother, Judith, said. "But the woman at the gate and the head office wouldn't have any of it. They cancelled our tickets, and we were driven to a hotel. Daniel was left mortified and embarrassed from being made a spectacle of, and he thought he'd ruined the holiday.”
While American Airlines does not serve peanuts, they do allow passengers to bring their own food to eat on the plane. Flight attendants made an announcement asking passengers to refrain from eating peanuts on their trip to the United States. After two days and many hours spent on the phone trying to sort out the problem, the Levitans returned to England on an American Airlines flight. However, flight attendants again refused to make an announcement about the allergy.
Daniel had a panic attack after a passenger near him opened a bag of peanuts. Daniel’s parents have filed a formal complaint against British Airways and American Airlines.
British Airways claims that American Airlines is to blame. An American Airlines spokeswoman said: “We are sorry that the Levitan family experienced disruptions to their travel plans. The safety of our passengers is always our primary concern. In line with the US Department of Transport in cases where there is reasonable doubt that an individual can complete a flight safely, without requiring extraordinary medical assistance during the flight, we may request a medical certificate. This can apply to an allergy that is considered extremely severe. For the Levitan family, we were able to provide a hotel voucher for the 4 Jan and they were rebooked – at no extra cost – on a flight home at the earliest possible occasion.'