On February 1, Northwest began dishing out peanuts on flights, which Delta has been doing since dirt was new. The timing isn’t all that hot, given a national salmonella outbreak involving Peanut Corporation of America. And then there are the people who are allergic to peanuts … they’re also far from thrilled with the change.
A commenter on the Star Tribune website (local to Minneapolis, where NWA is headquartered) wrote, “Northwest is really out of touch with its customers and the reality of allergies to peanuts.” Another chimed in, “What’s wrong with pretzels?”
Indeed, what is wrong with pretzels?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3 million people in the United States are allergic to peanuts (or tree nuts). Food allergies cause 30,000 cases of anaphylaxis, 2,000 hospitalizations and 150 deaths every year. On its own, this sucks. On a plane, it’s worse than sitting next to a fat person.
Delta is doing what it can to prevent an in-flight disaster, creating a “buffer zone” of three rows in front of and behind a peanut-allergic person’s seat. And, the airline is advising “cabin service to board additional nonpeanut snacks.” So, flight attendants who are busy with such trivial matters as keeping order on the plane and tending to broader safety issues will have to keep track of the “peanut zone,” as well.