Imagine sitting on a multi-hour flight thousands of feet in the air when the person next to you, or your peanut-allergic child, opens a bag of peanuts. Imagine that everyone on the plane is opening a bag of peanuts at once. For those with peanut allergy, this is a real fear. A fear that causes many to choose to drive or take a train or bus to their destination instead of flying.
It was recently announced that the Canadian Transportation Agency has ordered Air Canada to create a formal policy that includes nut- and peanut-free “buffer zones” on its airplanes when a person on board is allergic to these items.
The airline will not serve nuts or peanuts in the buffer zone and will ask those sitting in the area to also refrain from eating nuts or peanuts. These buffer zones are only available with advance notice of the allergy.
This ruling follows several complaints to the CTA as well as a strong lobbying campaign by Allergic Living Magazine. It’s a huge step in the right direction for the peanut allergy community, though many still feel that nuts and peanuts should not be served at all.