Emirates crew asks Indian-origin siblings with nut allergy to spend flight in cabin loo

One staff member suggested that they might feel more comfortable if they moved into a toilet with cushions and pillows.

twitter-logo BusinessToday.In   New Delhi     Last Updated: May 1, 2018  | 12:12 IST
Emirates crew asks Indian-origin siblings with nut allergy to spend flight in cabin loo
PC: Reuters

Two Indian-origin siblings were allegedly asked by Emirates cabin crew to 'sit in the loo' while meals with cashews were being served on the flight as they have a sever condition of nut allergy. Sundeep and Shannen Sahota, 33 and 24, who were on their way from England's Birmingham Airport to Dubai and Singapore said that they had warned the airline three times about their allergies. So, 40 minutes into the flight when they saw that the in-flight meals contained fried nuts, they were 'panic stricken'.

The siblings said that they had mentioned the severity of their condition to the Emirates staff multiple times, including while booking, check-in and even upon boarding the flight from Birmingham. The duo had spent 5,000 pounds on a trip to take their parents to Dubai and Singapore for their 60th birthdays.

When flight menus were passed around they panicked upon seeing that the chicken biryani contained fried cashew nuts. The Daily Express reported that once they informed the crew, one staff member suggested that they might feel more comfortable if they moved into a toilet with cushions and pillows. Following that the siblings spend the next seven hours sitting at the back of the plane covering their heads and nostrils with blankets.

Inhaling nut residue could have sent the duo into anaphylactic shock.

"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," said Shannen, an analyst from Wolverhampton. "We were stunned when a supervisor told us 'one way round it' was for us to spend the flight in the cabin loo," she further added.

Shannen Sahota also added that sitting at the back of the plane was 'uncomfortable, embarrassing and demaning', while Sundeep mentioned that Emirates ignored all the information they had given to them beforehand.

Emirates, however, claims the booking records do not reflect any mention of an allergy and it can never guarantee nut-free flights.

"We are sorry to hear about Ms Sahota's complaint. Emirates tries to cater to all passengers 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," the airline said in a statement. "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 here," the statement further said.

(With PTI inputs)

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