Posted: Jan 9, 2010 6:40 AM by Jamie Smith
Anyone with an allergy to nuts knows just how serious it can be to come into contact with them. Sometimes, just being in the vicinity can trigger a reaction. Such as being on an airplane, where you are sitting near someone who's eating nuts.
Now, the Canadian Transportation Agency is doing something about it.
Sophia Huyer is someone that is allergic to nuts. So much so, that on one Air Canada flight she hid in the bathroom when they served snacks, after the airline refused to ban nuts. "People who didn't understand the allergy thought I was being obstructive" Sophia Huyer said.
Huyer complained to Air Canada's regulators, the Canadian Transportation Agency, which has now ruled that her allergy is in effect a disability. The agency ordered the airline to create a nut free zone of seats around allergic passengers who request it.. where no food with nuts would be served. That invokes notions of a special seating area, like smokers once enjoyed.
Canada's other major airline, WestJet, says in fact the severely allergic are already accommodated on its flights. Flight attendants don't serve nuts, and passengers are discouraged from bringing their own on board.
Air Canada, which still serves almonds and cashews, took a different view saying it's impossible for it to guarantee a nut-free environment.
Air Canada now has 30 days to either appeal the decision, or come up with a plan to implement a nut-free buffer zone, as well as how much notice an allergic passenger is required to give.