Here at One Dish Cuisine Cafe, Deli and Bakery, we have the most amazing customers! The following letter is from our young customer, Leah, who is a teenager, asking American Airlines to re-think their food allergy policy. Leah has a peanut allergy and so does her brother. I think you all will beyond impressed with this letter and the research she did in order to write this wonderful letter!
13 March, 2017
Mr. Robert Isom, American Airlines
Dear Mr. Isom,
American Airlines is an amazing machine of prominent leadership, in charge of thousands of people per day. And leaders all over the world should continuously be in tune to human needs and safety, making sure that those they are in charge of are both safe and happy. This includes the 3 million people in the world who suffer from anaphylactic nut allergies, who put their lives and safety into your hands (Idiom?) whenever they fly American. According to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), “every 3 minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room” (Logos). People with food allergies live in fear of this statistic, everyday tasks made tricky. Flying is a whole other story. But American can be the airline allergic people come to, the airline they trust (Anaphora). It is American’s time to step up as a leader in the food allergy community, American’s time to save lives everyday because of positive safety measures installed for food allergies. It is American’s time, Mr. Isom. (Repetition)
Recently, there have been complaints against your airline for mishandling and lack of knowledge regarding food allergies. In a New York Times article, lawyer Mary Vargas (Ethos) states that “when [nut allergic] families request permission to pre board [and wipe their seat free of nut allergens]…they risk being taken off the flight” a negligent mark on American Airlines’ policies (Rabin 2). Not only is this bad publicity for an airline like American, and heartbreaking for those being kicked off the plane, it may be illegal. According to FARE, “American Airlines’ policy is a violation of the Air Carrier Access Act, which provides that no air carrier may discriminate against any…individual with a disability” [Logos/Ethos] (Russell 3). Since food allergies are a fatal disability under the law, American Airlines not allowing passengers to accommodate for their allergies (no “nut buffer zones”, no pre-boarding, etc) is not legal. Should American really be defined by discriminatory policies and illegal actions? (Rhetorical Question) That goes against all the excellent values of quality, dedication, and service that the airline stands for! And everytime American denies a nut allergic passenger the right to fly, or hassles them about a disability they cannot control, they not only lose a customer. They truly hurt someone, or worse, endanger their life.
Food allergies are not only tricky to manage, they are terrifying (Personification). The constant checking of the labels. The knowledge that a peanut butter sandwich is poison (Metaphor). All people with food allergies want is to feel safe, and be treated like any other person. Take it from Roseanne Bloom, a mother who was kicked off an American plane because her two sons had nut allergies. She writes, “several AA employees approached us…and told us we were not able to fly [on American]…your employees were condescending and rude…my boys felt discriminated against and were treated as if they had done something wrong…what had we done wrong?” [Pathos] (Bloom 2). What did they do wrong? (Rhetorical Question) Why should anybody be stopped because of an immune system response they cannot control? Denying nut allergic passengers the right to fly is not the answer to the problem. It hurts more than it benefits. When a young girl flies American and reports “employees were joking about her severe allergies…[being] very rude” it not only reflects negatively on the airline, it makes a disabled person feel terrible about something that they cannot control [Pathos] (Rabin 3). Food allergic people do not deserve to be treated like scum (Simile), or even worse than non allergic counterparts- it’s the opposite. They deserve to be on an airline that takes the time to care about their needs, and ensure they have a safe flight. Just like they would anyone else. Other airlines have already began to find solutions to make sure allergies are not an issue on their flight. American Airlines undoubtedly has the power and standing to follow suit. Will you take this opportunity to help the 15 million in the world with food allergies? (Logos, Rhetorical Question)
Other airlines, such as Delta and JetBlue, have already found solutions (Bandwagon) to protect those with food allergies and help them get where they need to go. In an NY Times article, Sydney Silverman reports an excellent food allergy experience with Delta Airlines- recalling “a flight attendant asking people…‘Is it o.k if I don’t serve you peanuts on the flight?’, and they all said yes” [Dialogue] (Rabin 3). The attendant also made an announcement over the intercom to say they were not serving peanuts because of an on board allergy. No passengers complained or fought the allergy- and the flight went smoothly. Meanwhile, American’s policy says ‘We are not able to provide nut buffer zones, nor are we able to allow passengers to pre board to wipe down seats’. The policy also proclaims that nuts will still be served in the midst of a food allergy. These policies must be changed as food allergies continue to rise, and more allergic passengers look for an airline to protect them in the sky. One may agree with Dr. Andrew Craig of the American Peanut Council, [Ethos] who says that “the evidence about the perceived risks of eating nuts on planes has been presented [as low]” (Craig 2). But one man’s findings do not erase the story of Alisa Gleason, who “went into anaphylactic shock on board a…flight when a woman sitting several rows in front…opened a bag of peanuts” (Wicker 2). Or the story of a young 4 yr old, when “a passenger [despite warnings] sitting several rows away…opened a bag of nuts. The girl stopped breathing but luckily survived” (Wicker 3). Those stories could have gone many different ways. They could have ended in tragedy and loss. Or they could have not happened at all, because an airline took time to secure passenger safety. There could have been buffer zones, stricter warnings for non allergic passengers on board, a no nut flight, etc. (Enumeration) Allergies are on the rise, and sufferers need someone to take the time to care and protect them. It can be you, Mr. Isom. (Direct Address) A little extra time and preparation can save a life. Your motto says you are “The World’s Greatest Flyers.” And if you care about those with food allergies, saving lives and gaining new customers everyday- you truly will be.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read this letter, and hope it inspired an idea of change in American Airline’s policies of dealing with food allergies. A lot of people do not really understand food allergies, or their fatality. But American can be the ones to help them understand, through excellent policies and safety measures. Because while allergic people still struggle to fly safely, the issue of food allergies on planes remains unresolved. American can be the ones to solve it once and for all, providing a safe place for nut allergic customers. The rewards of saving lives of nut-allergic people outweigh the benefits of discriminating against them. Thank you.
Bloom, Roseanne. “American Airlines Nut Policy.” 25 Dec. 2016. Letter.
Craig, Andrew. “Nuts on Planes.” PeanutUSA.com, 2014, http://www.peanutsusa.com/about-peanuts/health-nutrition/186-nuts-on-planes-myths-media-and-facts.html. Accessed 10 Mar. 2017.
Rabin, Roni Caryn. “Travelers With Nut Allergies Clash With Airlines.” NyTimes.com, 26 Jan. 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/well/family/travelers-with-nut-allergies-clash-with-airlines.html. Accessed 6 Mar. 2017.
Russell, Ben. “WATCH LIVE: Streaming Now: NBC 5 News logo_dfw_2x HomeNews LocalNBC 5 InvestigatesNBC 5 RespondsHealth ConnectionTexas NewsVideo Vault U.S. & WorldWeirdTraffic WeatherSportsEntertainment Few Clouds69° Connect American Airlines Allergy Policy Discriminates: Complaint.” Nbc.com, 11 Jan. 2017, http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Allergy-Advocates-File-Complaint-Against-American-Airlines-410365005.html. Accessed 7 Mar. 2017.
Wicker, Amy. “Flying with Nut Allergies.” AllergySafeTravel.com, Jan. 2015, allergysafetravel.com/2015/01/flying-with-nut-allergies-a-call-to-action-2/. Accessed 9 Mar. 2017.