It’s déjà vu all over again. The Department of Transportation has announced that they are seeking comments from airline passengers on the possibility of banning not only the airline from providing peanuts or peanut snacks, but also the possibility of attempting to ban passengers from bringing their own peanut-containing snacks on board.
A recent report, commissioned by the federal government, found that many people who think they have food allergies actually do not, and that the field is rife with poorly done studies, misdiagnoses and tests that can give misleading results.
“...the true incidence of food allergies is only about eight percent for children and less than five percent for adults,”said Dr. Marc Riedl, author of the paper and an allergist and immunologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, according to the New York Times story. “Yet about 30 percent of the population believe they have food allergies.”
Given this information, that allergies are misdiagnosed a great deal of the time, it is ludicrous to think about banning this incredibly popular food item or even creating peanut-free zones.
If the DOT really needs something to do, I have created a list of things they can ban:
• People who talk loudly on their cell phones, as if anyone really cared about their conversation.
• People who get huffy when I will not walk up the escalator and instead choose to let the escalator do the work.
• Airline employees who have perfected the art of looking busy while doing nothing, since I have to “do it all myself” as in check-in, get my own boarding pass, pay for bags myself with a credit card, hoist my bag onto the weigh station where the person behind the counter slaps a destination ticket on it, then schlep the bag over to the folks who put it through the scanner.
• Reclining airplane seats that cut you in half if you happen to have your tray table down or at least dumps everything from the tray table into your lap.
• Smirking from passengers in the first class section of the plane as I pass through to my economy seat. It should be “No smoking and no smirking!”
If the DOT really wants passenger friendly airline travel, banning peanuts is not the way to go. To submit a comment, go to www.regulations.gov.
The most frightening comment on that Web site is that, “on average, federal agencies and departments issue nearly 8,000 regulations per year.” That’s how often they infringe on our freedoms. Let’s hope they come to their senses on this issue and keep the one bright spot in flying available to travelers.