Peanuts On The Plane

By Heather Legg

A week or so ago, my best friend and her family flew out west for a family reunion. They had a fantastic time, wore themselves out and were very tired on the way home. All her eight year old son wanted on the plane was peanuts; he was looking forward to eating his peanuts and then just resting on the long ride home.

As the flight attendant approached them, her son whispered to my friend, “Mommy, can we extra packs? I’d love five packs of peanuts.” So my friend asked for the peanuts and the flight attendant explained to her that due to a peanut allergy, five rows in front of the peanut allergy passenger and five rows behind had been restricted from peanuts. And they fell into these rows.

Of course, someone’s health is more important than, well than most anything. No one wants to risk a dangerous reaction, but to an exhausted eight year old, this was hard to handle. He didn’t cry or throw a fit, was just disappointed, and hungry. The flight attendant loaded him down with cookies, then came back and slipped him his five packs of peanuts, but told him he couldn’t eat them until he got off of the plane.

They did wait till disembarkation before opening the peanuts, but all along wondered if he could go towards the back and eat them. What if they weren’t in the ten row zone? But again, they were respectful and didn’t want to cause any unnecessary reactions.

Here’s my question, though. What if a passenger in those 10 rows brought food onto the plane containing peanuts. Not necessarily a peanut butter sandwich, even, but what about peanut butter crackers or a Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup or Peanut M&M’s? Would the flight attendants take away the food or just ask them not to eat it? What if no one knew, and the passengers just went about their business?

There are so many underlying questions and scenarios to be taken into consideration when you think about this. How can all food be controlled? How much can people be controlled? It’s like the peanut free areas in schools – do they have those in work places? In food courts? On public trains or buses? There’s still a lot  to consider when thinking of this and the questions seem to just escalate from one leading to another and another and another…And who knows what the right answer really is?

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