Peanuts on a plane: Deadly snack enrages Northwest passengers


Airplane rides lately are stressful enough. After you've somehow stripped off your 10 layers of winter clothing and shoes, unpacked your whole bag for a security officer and barely made it to your gate on time, you have to start worrying about plane crashes and if your pilot seems competent enough to land your plane in water.

Well, now peanut allergy sufferers have another worry: whether flying Northwest is a death wish all on its own. The airline is reinstating their peanut snacks as they continue to merge with Delta and some customers are pretty pissed off, says the Star Tribune.

First off, talk about a public relations disaster. The airline changed their peanut policy Feb. 1, right smack in the middle of a huge salmonella outbreak involving the snack they will now be serving: peanuts. Smart one, Northwest. No one finds peanuts or peanut butter appetizing right now because frankly no one wants to die or get the runs. Yes, we know it's been mostly contained, but it's still disgusting.

Second, people with peanut allergies or those who know others with severe reactions are pretty intense people. They've managed to completely change school cafeterias to save their children, banned peanuts on multiple airlines and pretty much made all of us frightened of eating peanuts anywhere except the comfort of our homes. Eating peanuts is not worth the risk of murdering someone near by.

Love 'em or hate 'em, peanuts are back at Northwest. The comment section for the Strib story has people at their throats about the issue. Why are they back? Delta is trying to help out their home state, says the Strib. "'Delta is an Atlanta company, and Georgia is an important producer of peanut products, therefore their policy supports their home state,' the company said in a letter to Gildner's mom, Betsy Parish of Wayzata. Parish wrote to Delta last week to complain about the change.'

More from the Star Tribune:

Peanuts were a staple snack for air travelers until 1998 when the Department of Transportation recommended that large air carriers create a buffer zone around passengers with the peanut allergies. Many airlines decided to go completely peanut-free and switch to an alternate.

Among the airlines that don't provide packaged peanuts are Air Canada, Air Tran, American, Continental, Jet Blue, Midwest, Sun Country, United and US Airways. If alerted that someone with a peanut allergy is on board, Southwest will not serve peanuts on that flight.

Peanut allergies are the most common life-threatening food allergy in children. About 1.5 million people in the United States have peanut allergies and the majority of the fatal reactions occur in teenagers, according to Anne Muñoz-Furlong, founder of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, a food-allergy advocacy group in Fairfax, Va. About 150 people die each year from food allergies -- about half of them from reactions to peanuts, she said.

So what does Northwest recommend? Deal with it. They say customers should let the airline know ahead of time about their allergy and they won't serve peanuts to those around you. Customers should also take the first flight of the day to guarantee the cleanest and safest space. Also, bring your EpiPen to save you from the potential plane of doom.