The DOT Wants Your Opinion On Proposed In-Flight Peanut Ban

A couple weeks back we wrote about how the Dept. of Transportation was considering a possible ban on peanuts on airplanes and what resulted was easily one of the site’s more divisive debates. Now, as the DOT and FAA continue to mull over this plan — and consider other options — the regulators say they want to hear from you, the citizens of these United States of America.

Over at Regulations.gov, you can read what others, industry professionals and laypersons alike, have had to say about the topic (You’ll have to check the “Public Submissions” box to see, well… public submissions).

For an interface that’s a little less convoluted, there’s Cornell’s Regulation Room, which not only has a detailed description of the proposal, but will also forward a summary of all comments received on the topic to the DOT.

So whether you’re for the peanut ban, against it or maybe have what you think is a reasonable compromise, have your say at either site.

In the meantime, feel free to vote in our poll about the four options being mulled over for dealing with the peanut issue. And as always, comment away…


Should peanuts be banned from planes? [CNN]

Thanks to Yauna for the tip!

Comments

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  1. ShruggingGalt says:

    Option 5: Ban anything else that someone could be allergic to: cosmetics, milk, strawberries, synthetic fabrics, etc.

    This is heading down the path like the National Federation of the Blind v. Nissan: at what point do we as a society have to change our ways in order to accommodate someone else? Reasonable amounts, yes, but forcing someone to have their car transmit KITT’s sound, or worse vuvuzela-tones at all times while driving (even on the interstate!) just in case you happen to be near a blind person? (remember the issue is now that the driver can deactivate the electric car noise generator)

    How about banning black cars because at night it might be hard for a deaf person to see that car? You can go on and on….the question is where on the slope do you stop?

    • smo0 says:

      Here’s the thing… My aunt is extremely lactose intolerant – I can drink a glass of milk in front of her and she wouldn’t die.
      My other aunt, allergic to strawberries, I could eat them in front of her – she wouldn’t die.
      Comestics – as long as you don’t touch my foundation on my face – you’re fine….

      Peanuts, and nut products however, are a completely different ball game. People can smell them from across the plane or touch anything that has even remotely come CLOSE to a peanut and go into anaphylactic shock.

      I’ve read up quite a bit on this – peanut allergies are like no other… save someone with EXTREME allergies to animals.

      • Salty Johnson says:

        And if you have such an extreme allergy to something, it is your own personal responsibility to ensure you avoid such things without causing problems to other people. Sure, not having peanuts served on a flight isn’t that big of a deal, but WHY is it MY problem when YOU are the one with the allergy? What if I wanted to bring my own peanuts on the flight? Sure, if I’m eating peanuts right next to you and you’re deathly allergic, feel free to let me know and ask me to please put them away and I will probably gladly do so, but it is not my obligation to and you are not entitled to a peanut-free public place. If you’re really that allergic to peanuts… DON’T FLY. DON’T GO TO PUBLIC PLACES. DON’T LEAVE YOUR HOUSE. You could come into contact with peanuts anywhere, and the burden should not be placed upon ME to make sure that YOU aren’t harmed by your own irresponsibility.

        • thrillhouse says:

          I think you missed the point there, Captain Caps-Lock.

          The point was simply that slippery slope arguments are fallacious. We can draw a line somewhere: for example, let 99% of non-fatal allergens on board a flight, but ban the 1% that can readily kill people.

          And with regard to rights-speak, people still have a right that others not knowingly (or unknowingly, in cases of negligence or recklessness) harm them, despite what you might think. But, of course, you have a right to peanuts. Anyone can accept that. It’s just a conflict of rights, nothing more amazing.

          The fact remains, however, that some rights trump others, and the not-dying-in-order-to-travel-at-airplane-speeds right tends to trump the eating-peanuts-at-this-exact-two-hour-timespan right, regardless of who is at fault or what situations each party has happened to put themselves in.

        • BStu78 says:

          You can bring peanuts onto a flight.

          Can you stop casually demanding to endanger people’s lives now? The issue is the airlines serving something that can cause a severe allergic reaction. Not watery eyes reaction. Dead reaction. The risk of being near someone eating peanuts is fairly negligible. The risk is increased enormously when EVERYONE around them is eating peanuts and that’s the issue here. Not you eating Planter’s on your own.

          • pantheonoutcast says:

            Since only 100 people a year die from peanut allergies, the chances of that happening are ridiculously low.

            More people die each year from falling down the stairs. It defies logic to ban something that kills less than 0.000003% of the population.

            • Jerkface says:

              Tell that to my best friend who makes bi annual trips to the emergency room after doing more than his due diligence to make sure that his meals at restaurants and his flights are not going to kill him. He’s not dead yet so why bother, right?

        • smo0 says:

          For the record. I voted for a peanut free – zone… not the entire ban.

          I’m sure people with peanut allergies go food shopping – a place where many products are exposed to peanuts… and do just fine…

          But someone confined to an airplane with no means of escape SURROUNDED by people eating peanuts might do some harm… and by some, I mean a lot and by a lot I mean dead.

          Maybe there are people who aren’t flying because of their issue with peanuts, and given a new ban -or something making it safer to fly, they NOW will?

          If anything it’s creating more opportunities.

          On that note… let’s pretend you’re disabled… why should I give up any of my parking spaces so you can have your own special pathway – that’s what I think if your line of reasoning, buck-o.

      • maztec says:

        Interesting Factoid: People who report an extreme allergy to peanuts – to the point where they break out if they can smell them have had some interesting results in testing ::

        1) If you present something that smells peanut-like to them, but they cannot see it, and it contains no peanut protein, they spontaneously start showing allergic symptoms related to peanuts.

        2) If you put them in a room with raw peanuts, and cover up the smell with something else, they have no reaction at all.

        Make of that information what you will. Google the study, several universities have repeated it. I believe it started at a University in Sweden.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      I know, the damn cane swingers are ruining it for all of us! True, it’s only for hybrid and electric cars, but still. And from what I understood, it makes the sound the Blade Runner cars made, which is actually cool by me, as that whoosing KITT sound was annoying.

      But what’s even worse is that since prosthetic legs don’t make the same noise when you take a step as a real leg does, they are suing to have all prosthetic limbs make the Bionic Man/Woman “Nununununu” noise. WTF?!

    • Bob says:

      What you don’t understand is that we have a new generation that is ridiculously allergic to anything peanut. ANY contact with even Peanut Oil will cause severe allergic reactions.

      When I was a child I was told my peanut allergy was the worse ever seen, but I was safe if I don’t eat any peanuts. Peanut Oil, on contact, causes hives and itching but its no big deal. People eating peanuts nor did the smell of peanut oil affected me in the least. Now I’m considered “mildly allergic” to peanut in comparison to many younger people with peanut allergy. If they come in contact with peanuts or peanut oil it become life threatening. Anaphylaxis results in approximately 1,500 deaths per year in the U.S (Wikipedia).

      It sounds absolutely stupid but a peanut ban makes sense, if nothing else but to avoid potential anaphylaxis on board an aircraft in the future.

      • Wolfie XIII says:

        Darwinism. Obviously somethings wrong and bad genes are propagating. Hate to break it to you, but we should do nothing and let nature sort it out.

        • partofme says:

          Have you developed a gene that makes you immune to cancer? WHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAA? You haven’t? Well, that’s a shame. Too bad there’s nothing we can do for you when you get cancer besides invoke the great name of Darwin.

          • RStormgull says:

            I would say cancer affects a MUCH higher percentage of the population than fatal peanut allergies. Your point is invalid.

            • partofme says:

              Actually, that’s the entire point. Non-perfect genes are everywhere. “Bad genes are propagating.” Of course bad genes are propagating. But that doesn’t mean we condemn people to die when we can do something about it. If “oh well, bad genes” was our solution to every weakness posed by the inferiority of our genes, we would essentially let everyone die for one reason or another: cancer, malaria, poisonous food/animals, pneumonia. If our solution is “oh well, form genes to fight pneumonia or die”, well, most of us die. The entire point is that the argument “oh well, bad genes” is ridiculous in context of how many bad genes we all have. Not just some high percent… one hundred percent. Look, you’re right that people with this severe of a peanut allergy are probably going to die at a young age. You’re right in hoping that such problems don’t get more widespread. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be an effing person and try to help people around you, because we’re all inferior in some way. Especially when the solution is as simple as “pull out the pretzels when a peanut-allergy is onboard.”

      • DarksSideMoon says:

        More people die every year from food poisoning. Let’s ban food.

  2. sponica says:

    Step 1: Ban peanuts from some planes
    Step 2: What’s step 2?
    Step 3: Profit!!!

    It’s probably massively illegal, but charge more for whichever one is the more desirable amenity…and channel your best Mr. Burns. Excelllllent

  3. SnowQueen says:

    Good lord, where does it end? Are we going to ban every item that causes an allergic reaction? Will TSA have to start searching carry-ons for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches carried on by other passengers? How do we reconcile allowing assistance animals on planes (which is required under ADA) with someone’s deadly allergy to dogs or monkeys?

    We can’t cater to every single possible health issue someone may have. If we do, the whole system will shut down under the weight of regulation.

    We should do nothing about peanuts on planes, and allow the tiny minority of the public with life-threatening peanut allergies to find their own solution, whether that’s carrying an Epi-Pen, driving or trying one of the new treatments for allergens. (Several studies in the works suggest that tiny exposures to peanuts over time may alleviate peanut allergies, for instance.

    • zentec says:

      Agreed.

      I had to cart around an Epipen for the last ten years of my life until I went through immunotherapy for bee and wasp stings. Now, I’m no more allergic to those than the average person. My last visit I saw signs for the same treatment for nut allergies.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      Exactly. I have a life-threatening shellfish allergy and I take my own precautions because my health is my responsibility.

    • iamlost26 says:

      You guys still don’t get the peanut allergy thing. Someone carrying on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is not going to release massive amount of peanut dust into the air. 20 people bringing peanut packs isn’t going to either. It’s an ENTIRE PLANE full of people opening peanuts at the EXACT SAME TIME that creates the biggest hazard.

      I would be comfortable with either a passenger requesting the flight to be peanut free… or a compromise: Pass out the peanuts BEFORE the flight, so that people open them intermittently during the flight, instead of everything getting them and opening them all at once.

      • DarksSideMoon says:

        You know how long it takes for a flight attendant to get down the aisle? It could be a good hour between the first peanut bag being opened and the last one being distributed.

        • iamlost26 says:

          Regardless, everyone in your immediate vicinity is opening them at the exact same time. Do you have any actual objections to the idea I proposed?

          • DarksSideMoon says:

            Either way, it’s not as though the entire plane is synchronously opening their peanut bags.

        • iamlost26 says:

          I’ll add that most airlines have multiple flight attendants… it’s not one person going down the entire plane. So cut down that hour to about 15-20 min.

      • AuntieMaim says:

        Are there documented cases you can link to of a reaction happening due to this? I don’t ask to be an a-hole, I ask because I’m interested in learning how concrete such a risk is.

        • god_forbids says:

          I’m with you. I find this entire thread hilarious with the out of control fear-mongering. If this (the current practice, mind you!) were so dangerous why have I never, ever, heard of someone dying or even having an intense peanut allergy reaction on a plane? Why?!

    • dg says:

      I agree – we should do nothing about peanuts or other allergens on planes (or any vehicle for that matter). If someone has an allergy, that’s THEIR problem. They can deal with it however they need to – stay off the vehicle, get allergy shots, carry an epi-pen, wear an air filtering mask and goggles…

      But leave me the hell out of your health issues. I’m not paying for them, I’m not changing my habits because of you. I enjoy peanuts, they keep well, they fill me up, they give me some protein, and I can pack them easily on the tin can that we’re flying in so I don’t have to eat the crap served by the flight waitresses. That’s a problem for you? Tough shit. Stay home.

  4. FatLynn says:

    I don’t see how they can possibly ban peanuts on a plane, but allow people to bring cats and small dogs into the cabin. Some people are just as allergic to the latter.

    • ganmerlad says:

      I don’t need to bring the cat onto the plane, I am usually covered in cat. (I have three very affectionate ones).

    • BStu78 says:

      Airlines aren’t passing out cats. That’s how its different. The ban would be on airlines distributing peanuts. If they start distributing cats, they should ban that, too.

    • Shmoodog says:

      I’m not going to google it, but I haven’t heard about people ‘dying’ from cat hair allergies on a plane ride.

      I have however heard of multiple situations in and outside airplanes that people had died from peanut allergies, and Imho it is a problem that should be addressed. Simply because not addressing it will certainly lead to more accidental harm and death.

      It might be seen as relatively over regulation…however society is definitely moving in this direction, and in some ways it is not necessarily a bad thing.

      • partofme says:

        Please provide evidence of one single death actually occurring due to peanuts on an airplane. I asked this in the comments the last time a peanuts/planes article was posted, and I’ve yet to see any evidence. With only about a hundred peanut-related deaths occurring in a year, and most people being on airplanes a tiny tiny percentage of the time, I seriously wonder if there’s ever been a death due to peanuts on an airplane.

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        “I’m not going to Google it, but I haven’t heard about people ‘dying’ from cat hair allergies on a plane ride.”

        No one has died on a plane due to peanut “allergies”. No one. 100 people die each year nationwide from nut allergies. It is a statistical insignificant number.

    • SpinnyD says:

      Cats and dogs make you sneeze, Peanuts can kill you if your allergic

  5. jason in boston says:

    Children today are just too weak. I blame the parents. Hopefully natural selection can fix this problem.

    I don’t know how to do links, so I hope this works. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnmMNdiCz_s Safe for work with headphones on :)

    • INsano says:

      “I don’t know how to do links”.

      In your words – “I hope natural selection can fix this problem.”

      • trentblase says:

        Unfortunately, your chance of having offspring is probably inversely correlated to the number of links you post on the internet.

  6. Bativac says:

    Does the federal government really need to regulate this? Have things gotten this ridiculous?

    If the airlines decide they don’t want to serve peanuts, that’s up to them. But the government instituting a legal ban is absurd.

    I have asthma, a potentially deadly condition. I was hospitalized when I was 18 (I’m 31 now) due to an asthma attack brought on by an allergic reaction. Can I petition for them to ban perfume, aftershave and scented deodorants?

    (Note that I would not expect something that absurd. I make it a point to travel with an inhaler, and if in an enclosed space filled with perfume, I just leave, if I can.)

  7. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Step one: parents stop bubble-wrapping your children and let them eat dirt like they’re supposed to.

    Step two: rates of allergies drop like crazy

    …and aside from that, considering the vast numbers of things that people *can* be allergic to, there’s not the slightest amount of sense in burdening the rest of society with having to suffer because of it. And I don’t mean just the peanuts…this is the tip of an iceberg.

    You can’t eat peanuts? Sorry about that – here’s some pretzels. Or maybe you get nothing – hope you brought a snack.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      With urban development being what it is, some kids often aren’t exposed to good clean dirt. But you’re right, protecting kids like this just isn’t good for them. I was sick all the time when I was a youngster, but now I’m actually *sick* maybe five days of the year.

      Of course, I grew up in a place where I could–and did!–wade up to my knees in muddy yucky water in the summer, catching tadpoles and toads. I lived in the mud.

      • tsukiotoshi says:

        Exactly. I grew up on a horse farm where I was constantly around horses and manure, covered in dirt, rolling around with dogs, and collecting frogs in our pond. My best friend after my family moved into a more suburban neighborhood grew up in the quintessential bubble/helicopter mom situation. Her mom would never let them play in dirt, disinfected like crazy, all of that sterile environment stuff. My friend was allergic to everything, and I mean everything. She couldn’t eat chocolate, peanuts, some types of sugars, and I can’t even remember the rest of them. At one point the doctor’s discovered she was having an allergic reaction to GRASS.

        But unfortunately, exposure to stuff like that at a young age is increasingly unavailable and exposure to dirt in some areas is likely to result in serious brain disorders or other ailments because of toxins and heavy metal exposure. Alas.

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          I worked with a woman who was allergic to corn and dairy.

          Think about that…anything that had to do with milk. She could only eat French bread since it’s not made with milk. And corn…don’t just think about on-the-cob and Fritos…try french fries and pretty much anything else that’s fried (corn oil and or vegetable oil, which contains corn oil).

          She even had to make her own donuts at home.

          Try going through life with those two allergies – I don’t know how she coped.

    • scurvycapn says:

      Agreed on the parenting thing. Being a kid is about learning lessons. You’re supposed to take hits from dodgeballs and fall off your bike. My knees are covered in scars. They build character.

      Coddling people to make everyone else suffer is lame. I’ve read stories of schools that banned peanut products. In my day, if someone had an allergy they just made sure they didn’t sit by people with pb&j sandiwches.

    • Fidget says:

      Ugh. Every time I go to museums here, there’s parents toting the Purell bottle, squirting their offspring until the little fuckers just shine. And I’m thinking, that’s great, keep him from getting a cold now, and by the time I have kids peanuts will be absolute contraband. I could care less about not eating peanuts on a flight, and if the above commenter saying that it’s only mass amounts of peanuts at the same time that’s the problem, then no big deal, call ahead if you need a peanut-free flight. But some people have it so bad, if I have say, a candy bar with peanut product around it, and they’re sitting a seat away from me, they’re screwed. I wouldn’t trust everyone to check all their food in that position.

    • iamElyse says:

      It’s not always children that have these allergies. My younger sister is 25 and is deathly allergic to peanuts. We were playing around in the dirt like kids should and certainly were not given anti bacterial soap constantly growing up. She was exposed to peanuts as a kid and was allergic to them back then too.

  8. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Here’s something I don’t understand. I was watching Hell’s Kitchen last night and the one chef said she has an allergy to peanuts and her throat would close up, etc… How can you work in a kitchen and be a chef w/ a nut allergy?

    • Rob says:

      I saw that episode too. She said she was alergic to cleaning chemicals not peanuts.

      • chefboyardee says:

        holy crap, i should try that excuse on my wife. sorry honey, i can’t help clean, my throat will close up!

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        She also said nuts. But I will re-watch it right now and see what was said.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        OK, I was right, kind of. Here is the transcription:

        Oh, I got a whole ton of stuff I’m allergic to: Dyes and perfumes and shampoos and body washes and soaps, apple juice, peanut oil, or any sort of cleaning products, for the most part, I’m allergic to it.

        Here’s what I don’t understand. How can you be allergic to apple juice, but not apples? It’s like a kid I knew in summer camp who said he was allergic to skim milk, but was fine with 1%,2%, and whole milk.

        • Arthur Pennant says:

          I met a guy with Type I diabetes (a very obnoxious fellow who threatened me with assault, but that’s a different story).
          He claimed that he could safely eat sugar as long as it contained fat. So chocolate’s fine, but skittles aren’t. Milk contains sugar, all non-skim milk contains fat. Diabetes would be my guess. As for apple juice, unlike cider, it’s cooked. I wonder if that alters the chemical composition. It certainly tastes different. Or perhaps he just got sick from too much sugar. There’s a lot more sugar in a glass of juice than in an apple.

    • Ophelia says:

      Allergies to nut DUST are incredibly rare. For the most part, you have to eat the nut (or at least TOUCH it) to have a reaction. Moves like this are a huge overreaction to a very very small minority of people who will react to peanut dust in the air.

  9. Angus99 says:

    I look forward to the time when, in order to travel by air, I will be stripped nude, sedated, placed in a small metal box, and revived (hopefully) on arrival. I’m not kidding, I would prefer that at this point. Much less aggravation, plus I’d get some sleep.

  10. Hi_Hello says:

    Im allergic to strong fragerant smell. it make me sneeze like crazy to the point where it hurts the back of my nose and mouth if I don’t get any fresh air without pollen and stuff. please ban anyone wearing perfume or cologne or deorderant. thank you.

  11. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Ban peanuts; bring back some real food! I want a pastrami sandwich!

  12. BStu78 says:

    And it happens again.

    Its peanuts people. Something that actually represents something completely meaningless. There is no travesty in saving people’s lives by not passing out something that kills them to dozens of people in their immediate vicinity. Frankly, the airlines had the option of doing the second two poll choices but there are countless anecdotes of them failing to do what they promised to their concerned customers, so across the board action is needed. This isn’t about confiscating your peanuts. Its about airlines not distributing them. Honestly, a legume is not worth someone else’s life. How people can be so self-important that their desire for free peanuts of poor quality justifies endangering people’s lives?

    • Alvis says:

      But aren’t severe allergic reactions to common things nature’s way of telling you you’re -supposed- to be dead?

      • Jerry Vandesic says:

        That same argument could be used to say that the strong should be able to kill the weak because that is nature’s way of saying the weak are supposed to be dead. Laws against murder are completely unnatural. Let survival of the fittest rule!

    • El_Fez says:

      If you will die if someone eats a peanut near you, then tough titty – dont get out of your plastic bubble. People who smoke give me a wicked migraine, not just the act of smoking, mind you – but simply the stench lingering in their clothes. When I have to go out where there might be smokers, I man up and deal with it.

      Peanut crybabies should do the same.

    • Fair&Balanced says:

      There are people deadly allergic to all kinds of things.
      Why are they picking on peanuts???
      Not that many people in our population are even allergic to peanuts.

      I am allergic to dogs and cats, but yet they allow them on flights.

      Banning anything for an allergy makes no sense unless it is something that is deadly to the majority of the population.

      • thrillhouse says:

        Banning anything for an allergy makes no sense unless it is something that is deadly to the majority of the population.

        … from Fair&Balanced Airlines, the shortest-lived and deadliest airline ever: “You can bring anything you want on our airplanes — as long as it won’t kill any more than 49% of our passengers!”

      • BStu78 says:

        I’m sorry, are you and every passenger around you being given a dog when you board? That’d be awful. They should stop that, too. Where are they even getting all the dogs to hand them out to every passenger? Its insanity!

    • partofme says:

      There are anecdotes of all kinds of industries not doing due diligence and endangering people. You know what the solution in every other case is? Lawsuits and massive fines. If you want to have some governmental backing of the latter options, ok. But to go all the way to an outright ban is overkill.

    • Salty Johnson says:

      It’s not about the peanuts. It’s about people with allergies having a sense of entitlement. Why is your allergy my problem? I can live without peanuts, but I can’t live with an outright ban of them. If you’re as deathly allergic to them as you say you are, why are you even leaving your house?

    • mcmunchkin says:

      Sure, they may be saving someone’s life by not passing out peanuts, but they are endangering me by passing out pretzels instead, which contain gluten. Why do people with peanut issues take priority over people with other food issues? Most airlines don’t even offer gluten-free meals anymore, yet they are raising a big stink about peanuts? Let’s talk about all the other health hazards on airplanes first. I have been on flights where they didn’t even fully clean up vomit from the previous flight.

      • BStu78 says:

        No. They aren’t endangering your life. You aren’t even trying to understand. This isn’t a “upset stomach” allergy. Its a stop breathing allergy. And the issue isn’t one person eating a peanut, its dozens of people eating them all around you in an enclosed space with recirculated air. By all means, if the airlines start forcefeeding you enough gluten to endanger your life, lodge your complaint. They should stop that. But if that’s not actually happening, then your comparison really has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

        • bigTrue says:

          If you honestly have an alergy where even being in the same room as something will kill you, there’s this little thing called evolution I’d like to tell you about. Sure, it’s only a theory, but it’s working pretty good at making sure only the strongest get to breed.

          I’ll be over here munching some fresh roasted peanuts while you read up on it.

          • partofme says:

            I’ve never seen even the worst of naturalists come down from Mount Pious with this kind of ridiculous logic. I’m sure there are plenty of things that would kill you if you were in the same room as them. Say, cyanide gas, for an easy example. Well damn, all people who can’t survive in room of cyanide gas just obviously aren’t fit to live. There are good reasons to oppose an outright peanut ban. You’ve picked a line of logic that makes you seem much less fit to live, from society’s standpoint.

          • Shmoodog says:

            Tell that to your kid who has peanut allergies. It seems like people are only sensitive, or are even objective about issues like this, when it affects them personally.

            Try thinking about the fact that YOU aren’t the only person on this planet. That will go a long way to solving a lot of our problems.

            • pantheonoutcast says:

              “Try thinking about the fact that YOU aren’t the only person on this planet.”

              Are you talking about the 0.000003% of the population that is affected by this? Rules and laws should benefit the vast majority of the population – not the ridiculously infinitesimal anomalies.

              • Jerkface says:

                It sounds like you’re suggesting that 0.000003% ought to die before you lose the right to munch on legumes on an airplane.

        • iamElyse says:

          Well said!

        • mcmunchkin says:

          Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. It’s not really the same as lactose intolerance, which is not being able to digest something.

          My point is that there are way too many allergies to pick and choose. Why not one person’s over another?

          • iamlost26 says:

            There’s a lot of discussion about how it’s not EATING peanuts, but the mere presence of peanut dust in the air causing a fatal reaction. Celiac disease is a disease of the small intestines. So YOU make the final decision in whether or not you want a reaction. The person with the peanut allergy may not be so lucky.

            And for the record, I don’t want a straight ban. I’m fine with telling the airline about allergies beforehand, and hoping they make accommodations.

  13. HalOfBorg says:

    *cough* *cough* WHEEEEEEEEEZZZZZZZZZ

    I’m allergic to stupid………… Ban the government!!!

    *sniff sniff*

  14. wellfleet says:

    I know people who are horribly allergic to strong scents, perfume can send them into an asthma attack. Do we ban wearing cologne?

    3 million people in the US report having an allergy to tree nuts, peanuts, or both. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10200001) = 1% of the US population.

    If someone is so deathly allergic to nuts that inhaling their mere existence will send them into anaphylaxis, then they should wear a mask. I’m not especially attached to in-flight peanuts, so this would hardly affect me, but I find it ridiculously overreaching. Are they going to confiscate granola bars? Trail mix? Lotion that has peanut oil?

    • wellfleet says:

      In the research quoted, only 7% of the 1% who are allergic actually carried an Epi-Pen in case of exposure. So, if only 7% of 1% is so concerned about peanuts as to be prepared for accidental contact, they can suck it. Sorry.

      • Bativac says:

        Exactly. I have asthma but I carry an inhaler. If you have a peanut allergy, it’s on you to carry something with you to counteract the effects of the peanut.

        • partofme says:

          It’s on you to protect yourself only because you can’t ever trust other people to protect you. Yes, the peanut afflicted should carry an epi-pen. That is on them. It is also on them to alert the airline of their condition. It is then on the airline to pull a change-up on the snack offering for that flight. If the peanut-afflicted doesn’t do their part, it’s their own fault. If the airline doesn’t do their part, they should be open to a world of liability. All this can be done without an outright ban.

  15. balthisar says:

    Sometimes I’m a jerk. I see that the wording indicates banning the serving of peanuts and peanut-containing products, but nothing about me bringing my own on board. Presumably it would be the airline’s responsibility to provide a buffer zone around the allegedly-allergic person (with documentation certifying that allegation, at least!).

    • Marlin says:

      Yep. The second they ban them more people will bring them onboard and make a big deal out of it because they don’t “follow the rules”.

      /Streisand effect

  16. Tim says:

    I’m inclined to say do nothing, but if someone has a severe allergic reaction to peanuts while on an airplane, that plane very well might have to make an emergency landing.

    Also, keep in mind that this isn’t proposing a literal ban on peanuts in airplanes. It would just ban the airlines from actually serving peanuts. If you want to bring your own peanuts, that’d be perfectly fine under the regulation.

    Then you have to think about what the airlines would do if the ban were enacted. Would they serve another snack or stop serving snacks altogether? The regulation doesn’t force them to serve another snack, so you can’t really argue that the airlines would lose money from this. In all probability, they’ll replace it with another snack that costs the same. Like pretzels.

  17. Marlin says:

    Thanks for the link. I signed up and left my opinion that it should NOT be banned. I hope others will do the same as the anti-nuts…nuts are spamming it pretty hard to make it look like more people support the ban then they really do.

  18. Talisker says:

    According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, there are about 100 people who die every year in the US from peanut allergies. According to the Calgary Allergy Network, the risk of death by peanut by inhaling airborne peanut particles rather than ingesting them is negligible.

    As long as the allergic passenger doesn’t eat the five peanuts that the flight attendants hand out he or she will be fine.

  19. SkokieGuy says:

    The obvious issue is that humans are a diverse lot and there are many potential allergens out there. The seriousness of the potential risk depends on the allergic person’s individual sensitivity.

    What about a simple cold or flu? If you’re elderly, very young, or immuno-compromised, this type of exposure could be life threatening. How do we vet that passengers are illness free?

    Two suggestions:
    -Airlines need to increase the amount of fresh air blended into cabin air, (that they have reduced as a fuel saving measure).
    -Just like you can purchase a blanket and pillow, perhaps the airlines provide a disposable respirator that passengers can purchase. This would eliminate inhaled risks, from avian flu to cat dander, fragrances, etc. In the event of a bio-terrorism, having respirators on board could be potentially life saving.

  20. Donathius says:

    I just plane don’t care.

  21. aloria says:

    My initial inclination was sure, ban the peanuts– at least it’d prevent an emergency landing because someone’s throat closed up. I don’t even like peanuts, anyway.

    However, I really don’t like where this is headed. People are allergic to EVERYTHING– perfumes, deodorants, cats, dust, wheat, water, you name it. Are all pet owners going to have to be lint-brushed by a TSA agent on the off chance someone severely allergic to dander is on the flight?

    • smo0 says:

      TBH – I don’t understand how I was able to get my cat on the plane in the first place. I know more people are allergic to cats than not… it was surprising to me that that wasn’t banned outright from the beginning.

    • BStu78 says:

      Well, I’d be against airlines handing out cats to passengers on their flights. Is that something that happens? Because what we’re talking about is them passing out peanuts, not the possibility of someone having their own.

  22. ellmar says:

    I’m hyper-sensitive to chemical fragrances. Even brief exposure gives me migraines, respiratory problems, dizziness, etc. I’d like a ban all synthetically scented items, including but not limited to: cologne, perfume, scented lotion, scented laundry products, candles, incense, and air “fresheners”. But since that’s not ever going to happen I simply don’t go places where perfumed people are going to congregate.

    • smo0 says:

      Yeah I have a problem with sprays and colognes… let me tell you…

      I ride the bus, in Las Vegas, in the heat of the summer – I prefer the strong cologne over the BO.
      :|

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      We have someone like you in our office.
      And don’t get me wrong – I am sure she can really get sick from that stuff. I get headaches and nausea from incense, perfume and cologne – so I know how it feels.

      She complains about everything (to managament) from someone smelling like smoke to the air fresheners in the bathroom.

      The result? The one other person who smokes (besides myself) was told his door office door shut and exit out the longer way (so he doesn’t bypass her door).
      And the bathrooms now smell like piss and shit.

      Kinda sucks.

      • Skankingmike says:

        you’re missing the point.

        Look up the reaction people have to these (in the extreme cases) many of these people have dogs who can detect the odor as if the person smells it they can go into a seizures or have an episode.

        • NarcolepticGirl says:

          I’m not missing the point.
          I’m just relaying a similiar issue that I have at work.

      • ellmar says:

        Yea, we coal mine canaries can be really annoying with all our choking and complaining and what-not.

  23. Bakergirl says:

    Exactly the point. Airline peanuts come in a SEALED bag, and Talisker is correct that the airbourne effect is negligible at best.

    But now they’ve banned Foie Gras, they’ve banned Trans Fat, they want to ban kids toys in McDonalds happy meals…..All in the name of protection from ourselves as decided by someone I have’nt even met who feels they need to be a self-congratulating hero.

    I myself can’t stand perfume, I gag in a department store perfume isle, but you know what? I don’t walk down that isle and I’m fine. If it was worse, I’d go in throught the mall entrance.

    Anyone read Kurt Vonnegut’s, “Harrison Bergeron”?

  24. Rain says:

    My sister carries and epi-pen in case she runs across a peanut. She also carries an inhaler in case she runs across a cat. While it would be nice to have to option of a peanut free flight if she informed the airline, I’m sure she’d rather go for a pet free flight. Cat dander is a lot harder to avoid than peanuts and she’d be in just as much trouble if cat dander triggered a serious asthma attack in midair as she would be if she ate a peanut. I know some airlines don’t allow pets in the cabin but they don’t fly in Canada. I suppose they must be doing something right though since flying around Canada hasn’t killed her yet.

    For the record, I eat Reese’s peanut butter cups while sitting next to my sister and laughing evilly. She didn’t develop a peanut allergy until she was 21 and used to love them. She isn’t dead yet but I might be soon.

  25. el-brazo-onofre says:

    Other than Southwest, who still serves peanuts?

  26. sinister_plot says:

    If the DOT is so hot to ban things, they should do it right and ban surcharges, bogus fees, over-booking, bumping, abuse of power, etc. Peanuts – that’s just nuts!!

  27. ConsumerPop says:

    Why don’t you just make “Peanut free” flights? Or replace peanuts with cashews/almonds?

    • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

      A nut allergy is a nut allergy. Pretzels or crackers are the best replacement options.

  28. NarcolepticGirl says:

    I agree with the majority that have commented,…
    as I don’t believe in nanny laws and bans,

    …but, who is so obsessed with peanuts that they NEED them served to them on their flight?

  29. aquanetta says:

    You know the lobbying from American Peanut Council is why they even still serve peanuts on airplanes, right?

    Patrick Smith, a pilot who runs a column on commercial aviation, weighs in (he says ban them):

    http://www.salon.com/technology/ask_the_pilot/2010/06/15/peanut_ban_controversy/index.html

  30. mmmwright says:

    I haven’t had an airline give me free peanuts or snacks for at least two years – obviously I’m flying the wrong airlines.

    Is the federal government also going to ban the sale of peanuts in the airports, too? People who have allergies should be taking care of themselves – it’s not the government’s job! Besides, look at the quality of work at the DMV, the Post Office, the IRS – you nanny staters really think this is going to work? Ha!

  31. PhilFR says:

    DOT, you keep your hands off my nuts, you hear?

  32. Blious says:

    This is ridiculous. If people want to eat peanuts, give them peanuts. If not, don’t

    Christ almighty….don’t eat them if you are allergic to them

  33. kigert says:

    People with peanut allergies understand this. Why should 99.995% of the flying population be inconvienced for such a small ammount of people? There are private and public alternatives to flying why dont YOU deal with YOUR problem instead of getting nasty with US the overwhelming majority of EVERYONE.

    • kigert says:

      its important to note that i capitalized YOU, EVERYONE, etc to point out how stupid it is 90% of pro commenters write like that

  34. Wolfie XIII says:

    I’m alergic to small children. Can we ban children on airplanes please?

  35. stlbud says:

    Why are they wasting time on this when there are other matters that are much more important? Little things like making sure the plane is safe or the air space is clear.

  36. wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

    Any flight I’ve been on lately offered peanuts or pretzels.

    Just take the pretzels.

  37. sopmodm14 says:

    again, offering something small snacks are the best best. banana chips are healthy and have long shelf life

    its not like paying $10 for a hot dog and soda (diluted, with half the cup ice) at a sporting event or something

  38. AuntieMaim says:

    I used to be against this kind of thing because of a feeling that the likelihood of severe anaphylaxis (more than getting a rash or needing an inhaler or some Benadryl) from peanut dust is exaggerated in a particularly … strident way by people trying to get staff to “take it seriously”. As far as I can tell from the literature I think these reactions to airborne dust or contact rather than ingestion are very uncommon. Unfortunately, claiming an allergy is that severe when it is not just creates a “crying wolf” effect making it harder for people who really do have extreme reactions to receive the special assistance or protections they need, which I realized was exactly what I was doing in rejecting the idea.

    I don’t really mind if they want to disallow peanuts as an airline-provided snack. It seems like an easy move that could prevent a medical emergency, or God forbid, a death, and would (I dearly hope) end the constant drama over the issue. I would prefer peanut-free flights for documented sufferers requested in advance, but seems like requesting accommodation in advance is likely to get fouled up by the airlines and cause delays while a peanutty plane is prepped for a peanut-free flight that the airline forgot about or whatever. And I’m sure it’s easier to just give pretzels all around than deal with the logistics of peanuts vs pretzels in what numbers on which flights. I haul my own stash of snacks with me anyway, because I have severe food allergies of my own and super-fun hypoglycemia, tending to faint like a Victorian lady at a porn convention if I don’t eat the right things at the right time (a baggie of mini pretzels doesn’t cut it). So it’s no skin off my nose if they ban them.

  39. Vandil says:

    If you can die from peanut dust in the air, you’re already living on borrowed time.

    How do these people manage to grocery shop? Or go into a convenience store that sells ice cream sundaes with shakeable toppings added?

    Let those individuals wear gas masks or make alternative travel arrangements or do whatever it is they’re doing to not die while grocery shopping and stop trying to inconvenience the vast majority of people that are normal.

  40. jesusofcool says:

    As a severely peanut allergic person, I feel like I really have to weigh in on this issue.
    First of all, it amazes me how many misconceptions people have about the severity of nut allergies.
    From my perspective, even though I would never ingest a peanut during a flight, flying can still be an ordeal. It’s partly because I’m hyper-sensitive to the smell, which can make me very nauseous in confined spaces. However, it’s mostly because peanut dust tends to get on surfaces. Hypothetically, if someone in the flight previous to me ate peanuts messily in my seat and then I touched a peanuty surface and then ate something with my hands, then I could have a (most likely deadly) allergic reaction. This is called cross-contamination – it sounds pretty space age, but is actually very scary for those with very severe allergies. Granted, this is a rare situation but it does make flying difficult and stressful.
    From my perspective, I don’t think peanuts should be entirely banned on flights. It gives an illusion of safety that isn’t realistic. However, I would certainly be willing to pay a small additional fee to know that the plane I am traveling on is (and always has been) peanut free. The extra money is worth the peace of mind to me. Perhaps they could just add peanut free planes to certain high-trafficked schedules.

  41. donovanr says:

    How many people have died because of peanuts on planes? Not had a panic attack or something that resembled a panic attack. This looks like a solution in search of a problem.

  42. Galium says:

    The airlines like making profit on charges, so they might want to charge an extra $100.00 for a large heavy duty garbage bag to put over the person with the allergy. Eye and breathing holes would be extra.

  43. My Head Hurts says:

    Might as well ban everything except naked humans.

  44. maztec says:

    If you’re going to ban peanuts, you sure as hell better ban soy products also.

    Allergies to peanuts affect 1.3% of the general population. A very small portion of that population suffers severe reactions to peanuts.

    Allergies to soy affect 2.2% of the general population. Roughly 20% of that population suffers severe reactions to soy proteins.

    Both proteins apparently break down when roasted and have been shown to result in no allergic reaction in over 99% of cases.

    Ban soy before peanuts, there is a higher number of people who are allergic to it!

    What are we going to ban next? Eggs, milk, and wheat on the plane?

    If you want to ban something useful, ban people that stink of cigarette smoke, stink in general, and wear way too damn much perfume or cologne on the plane. Many more people react negatively to those than peanuts.

    Put the *nuts in a bag and label them clearly for those who think they are – or are – allergic to them.

    If someone has a severe peanut allergy, provable by a doctor’s note, then and only then allow them to request the airline to have a peanut free flight.

  45. maztec says:

    Can we ban dust mites on the plane also? I’m horribly allergic to them. I have to always pump up on allergy medication before getting on a plane. If we could just ban them, life would be so much easier.