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Korean Air stops serving peanuts

Decision comes after allergic passenger was left stranded at airport
Apr 01,2019
Korean Air will stop serving peanuts to protect passengers with allergies.

Korea’s largest airline stopped serving a honey-flavored peanut snack on March 25, announced the company Sunday. The airline instead hands out crackers as a snack.

The carrier will also eliminate all food ingredients that contain peanuts for its in-flight meals.

The decision was made as peanuts can trigger serious allergic reactions for some people, even if they don’t consume directly but are exposed to other people eating them, the company said.

The move to remove peanuts comes after Korean Air had to apologize for not accommodating a passenger’s request to refrain from serving peanuts around him.

Last month, a 16-year-old who was traveling from Atlanta to the Philippines via Seoul had to get off a Korean Air flight and was left stranded at Incheon International Airport after the company refused to accommodate his request to refrain from serving peanuts around him on the plane.

The boy’s parents, who booked the flight for him through Delta Air Lines, alerted the airline ahead of time about the peanut allergy, according to a report from USA Today. But Korean Air, a Delta Partner, told him that he would either have to get off the plane or risk exposure. The passenger, who has a potentially life-threatening peanut allergy, flew back to Atlanta with his brother.

Korean Air isn’t the first airline to stop serving peanuts.

Singapore Airlines, for example, stopped providing peanuts last April after a series of incidents with passengers having allergic reactions over the years.

In 2017, a 3-year-old boy on a flight to Singapore from Australia had an allergic reaction when passengers around him opened peanut snacks on the plane. A similar incident involved an Australian woman in 2016.

Australia’s flag carrier Qantas Airways, Air New Zealand and British Airways also no longer offer peanuts.

Korean Air says its decision has nothing to do with the 2014 nut rage scandal.

“The decision to ban peanuts and peanut-containing ingredients is the least safety measure [we could offer] for passengers allergic to peanuts,” said a press officer for the company.

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]