09/01/2015 12:05 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Family Banned From Flight Home From America Because Of Son's Nut Allergy


A family were banned from boarding a flight home from America - because their 11-year-old son is allergic to nuts.

Schoolboy Daniel Levitan and his family warned American Airlines about his potentially fatal condition before it flew them to Florida on Boxing Day.

But they were barred from their return flight 10 days later by boarding staff at Fort Myers.

Daniel's mum Judith, 41, St Albans, Hertfordshire, told her local paper: "It was ridiculous. We were told to get a doctor's letter to prove Daniel wouldn't die on the flight."

Daniel, his mum, dad Howard, 46, and brother Joel, 14, were at the gate at Florida's Fort Myers airport on Sunday when they asked for a tannoy announcement advising fellow fliers not to eat nuts - but an American Airlines staff member refused.

Daniel's parents explained his throat could have closed in a 'worst case scenario', which led to them being barred altogether.

The AA staff member then demanded to see a 'fit to fly' certificate before sending the family away and cancelling their tickets.

The row meant the family had to stay another two nights in Florida and spend £200 on phone calls rearranging flights for two days later.

Judith said: "Daniel was left mortified and embarrassed from being made a spectacle of and he thought he'd ruined the holiday."

Daniel suffered a severe allergic reaction to peanuts at the age of one, when his throat closed up and he had to be taken to hospital.

A doctor advised Judith and husband Howard to keep him clear of all nuts in future. Since then he has kept an epipen by his side and suffered only minor wheezing and skin rashes.

His parents said they warned British Airways, which arranged the American Airlines flights, about Daniel's allergy three weeks before setting off on the winter break.

They were told the airline would happily 'make accommodations' for the family as long as they told staff as they boarded the plane.

Although AA does not serve bags of peanuts on its planes, it does serve 'warmed nuts' and passengers are allowed to eat their own food.

The family were eventually let on a flight two days later, but claim AA staff still refused to make an announcement about Daniel's condition.

A passenger then opened a packet of nuts in the seat behind the family - prompting a nervous Daniel to have a panic attack and start hyperventilating into a paper bag.

Judith said: "We had to ask other passengers not to eat nuts ourselves and they couldn't believe it when they said American Airlines wouldn't make an announcement."

The family have now made formal complaints against both airlines.

An American Airlines spokesman said: "We are sorry that the Levitan family experienced disruptions to their travel plans.

"The safety of our passengers is always our primary concern. In line with the US Department of Transport (DOT 14 CFR Part 382.23), in cases where there is reasonable doubt that an individual can complete a flight safely, without requiring extraordinary medical assistance during the flight, we may request a medical certificate.

"This can apply to an allergy that is considered extremely severe.

"For the Levitan family, we were able to provide a hotel voucher for the 4 Jan and they were rebooked – at no extra cost – on a flight home at the earliest possible occasion."

More on Parentdish

Girl, 4, with severe allergies stopped breathing on flight