Teen Almost Kicked Off Plane

in Managing Allergies, Travel & Dining
Published: September 19, 2010

Maureen Neary and her 17-year-old son got on an Air Canada flight headed from Vancouver to Toronto on Sept. 7. She asked the flight attendant if it was possible to make a P.A. announcement asking passengers to refrain from opening peanut packages because of her son’s peanut allergy.

According to Neary, the result of this request was that her son Scott (and she with him) was almost thrown off the flight.

What was the issue? “He [the pilot] was concerned the allergy could be airborne and he could be looking at a medical emergency and he didn’t want to have to land his plane,” Neary said in an interview with Allergic Living. She describes the pilot telling her directly “that he was not comfortable with Scott on this flight.”

She says if she hadn’t interceded, “I wouldn’t have known that I was minutes away from being deplaned with my son and our luggage. The baggage guy was there being instructed to take the baggage off.”

A week later, Neary remains shocked and upset. “It was discriminatory, they shouldn’t be able to do that.”

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said Air Canada would not comment on the specifics of the Nearys’ experience or on the pilot seeing a flight risk. Fitzpatrick was still trying to determine if there is an incident report and whether Air Canada would investigate the Nearys’ complaint.

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