The Canadian Transportation Agency has ruled that Air Canada must provide a buffer zone on flights for people with nut allergies.
The ruling was triggered after Sophia Huyer and Rhonda Nugent, who both have nut allergies, filed a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency regarding difficulties they experienced while traveling with Air Canada. The agency ruled Huyer's allergy can be classified as a disability, and must be accommodated.
The airline must consider passengers with nut allergies as having a disability and provide them with specific accommodations accordingly within 30 days, the agency says. The Canadian Transportation Agency has also ordered Air Canada to create appropriate section of seating where the airlines passengers with nut allergies would be seated.
"It is clear from the evidence that there is a need for a formal policy to accommodate persons with disabilities due to their allergy to peanuts or nuts," the agency said in its ruling. "Such a policy would remove the uncertainty that an individual experiences each and every time they travel, mitigating the risk that they will be exposed to an allergen with the possibility of experiencing serious consequences as a result."
According to the Canadian Transportation Agency, "An exclusion or buffer zone where passengers within that zone will be advised that they can only eat foods that are peanut-free or nut-free and that they will only be offered peanut-free or nut-free foods as part of Air Canada's onboard snack or meal will also address the risk of other passengers eating peanuts or nuts," the agency said in its ruling.
Air Canada stopped serving peanuts years ago, but the airline still serves cashews and other snacks that contain nuts. Currently the Canadian Transportation Agency ruling only affects Air Canada, but could just as well become apart of all aircraft carrier policy. An agency spokesperson said other airlines typically follow suit in such situations.
The nut-free zone is among a long list of recent changes introduced on airlines, such as allowances for animals on planes, allowances for those with allergies to animals, and a Supreme Court ruling that those deemed medically obese be allowed to have two seats when flying.
Further information regarding nut allergies
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