Family with severe nut allergies claim they were told to spend seven hour flight in loos after cashew curry was served
A sister and brother with severe allergies have told how they were advised to hide in the aeroplane loos during a long haul flight when a curry with cashew nuts was served.
Shannen, 24, and Sundeep Sahota, 34, claim they alerted staff that they were severely allergic to nuts on three occasions before the trip with their parents.
But they were horrified when they picked up the menus on the Emirates flight to find the curry dish listed and quickly raised the matter with cabin crew.
The pair, from Wolverhampton, West Mids, told them they could potentially die from the airborne nut particles and claim they were told the only option was to sit in the toilets for the seven-hour flight.
Shaneen and Sundeep who carry epi-pens for their allergies had spent £5,000 to take their parents to Dubai and Singapore as a surprise present for the couple’s 60th birthdays.
Shaneen, an analyst said: “We felt so degraded and embarrassed – it was horrible and it was meant to be a happy occasion but the start of our holiday was ruined.
“We had contacted Emirates beforehand to make sure they were aware of our allergies, and when we arrived at the airport and checked our bags in, we let them know and they said it was all fine and that it was in the system.
“When we spoke to the people who greet you at the plane, they said it was fine and showed us to our seats.
“We had bought our own food and snacks with us as we just didn’t want to take the risk as our allergies are so severe.
“When we realised what they were serving we were just completely panicked and started frantically buzzing for the staff to come over as it was too late to get off.
“We must have buzzed about 15 minutes before someone came – we told her the issue and how we had already informed them, multiple times about it.
“I told her that we could potentially die as we have got a severe nut allergy and she didn’t seem too concerned.
“She asked if we had any medication for it and we always carry epi-pens, but they’re only for emergencies and you need to go straight to the hospital after.
“I said to her that we could potentially die, but she said there are 500 passengers on this plane and we can’t stop them from having their dinner.
“She suggested that we sit at the back of the plane, but we explained that the nut particles would already be in the air.
“She said the only other option was for us to go and sit in the plane toilets – with cushions and blankets for the rest of the seven hours.
Outraged Shannen and Sundeep declined to spend the seven-hour flight in the loos and instead spent the rest of the flight with blankets over their heads to try and block out any nut particles.
They had been travelling to Dubai on Sunday April 8th from Birmingham International Airport when the chicken Biriyani was served with fried cashew nuts.
Shannen added: “Emirates are a big company and they’re supposed to be one of the best airlines – you just wouldn’t expect that from them.
“We want to raise awareness for other people suffering from nut allergies – because it’s not just about us and it can be a really difficult thing to live with.”
An Emirates spokesperson said: “We are sorry to hear about Ms Sahota’s complaint.
“Emirates tries to cater to all passenger-specific needs by offering a number of special meals that cover as many medical, dietary and religious requirements as possible. However, Emirates cannot guarantee completely nut-free flights.
“We’ve looked into Ms Sahota’s booking and our records do not reflect any mention of a nut allergy. All passengers who alert us of a nut-allergy prior to travel are informed of our policy and it is also outlined on our website
“When alerted during the flight, our crew tried their best to offer Ms Sahota and her brother alternative locations in an open space in back of the aircraft cabin to minimise their proximity to other passengers who may be consuming meals with nuts.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and our customer care team will be in touch with Miss Sahota directly.”