Girl, 14, with nut allergy nearly died on flight after man ate peanuts

EXCLUSIVE: Girl, 14, with severe nut allergy nearly died aboard BA flight after passenger ‘refused to stop eating peanuts despite TWICE being told by cabin crew he was putting the teenager’s life at risk’

  • EXCLUSIVE: A mother feared she’d lost her daughter to a severe peanut reaction 
  • Poppy Jones, 14, flew from Antigua when a passenger opened a pack of peanuts 
  • Cabin crew had twice warned the man it was unsafe due to Poppy’s allergies
  • Poppy blacked out and needed oxygen as well as two shots of an EpiPen 
  • Mother Joanna said: ‘It was a nightmare for all of us and I thought she might die’

A mother has told of her mid-air terror after her teenage daughter blacked out and suffered an allergic reaction at 30,000 feet on a British Airways when a passenger opened a packet of peanuts on board.

Joanna Jones, 39, was flying to London from Antigua when her 14-year-old daughter Poppy needed oxygen and two EpiPen shots during the nightmare eight-hour flight after suffering a severe reaction to the nuts.

As Poppy’s condition worsened, a quick-thinking nurse on board dashed to help – while the captain considered making an emergency landing.

Eventually the pilot landed the plane safely at Gatwick and Poppy was rushed to hospital.

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Joanna said: ’It was a nightmare for all of us and I really thought she might die. It was really, really frightening and it was all down to a passenger who carried on eating nuts despite at least two announcements not to.

‘When we boarded the crew asked passengers not to eat peanuts as my daughter has an allergy but as we took off I saw a man around ten rows in front eating nuts.

Joanna Jones (right), 39, said she feared the worst when daughter Poppy (left), 14, suffered a severe allergic reaction during a transatlantic flight from London to Antigua

‘I was worried and asked if we could be moved but there was no availability and the crew asked him to stop eating the nuts but he ignored the requests and carried on.’ 

While over the Atlantic and three hours short of Gatwick, Poppy suddenly went into anaphylaxis and was saved after Joanna gave her two shots from Epipens she had with her.

The pens contain epinephrine which is a life -saving medication administered when someone suffers a severe allergic reaction. ​

Frantic cabin crew made an appeal for a ‘doctor onboard’ and a nurse came forward who helped carry stabilise Poppy with an onboard oxygen mask in an emergency medical kit.

Doctors were also alerted via an emergency call centre in Arizona who relayed instructions back to the captain and crew.

Joanna, from Tooting, south London, said: ‘It was so frightening. The pilot declared a medical emergency and at one point they were considering making an emergency landing but in the end he decided to carry on to Gatwick.

Poppy Jones, 14, needed oxygen and two shots of an epi-pen during a nightmare eight hour flight from London to Antigua

‘The nurse who was on board and responded to a call helped us and kept an eye on Poppy’s blood pressure with a monitor but even that wasn’t working properly.

‘When we landed an ambulance met us and rushed us straight to hospital where we spent the rest of the day until Poppy was well enough to be discharged.

‘It was a horrible experience and it could have all been avoided if this man had listened to the announcements and not eaten nuts.

‘People seem to think this isn’t a serious issue but it is and the airlines should do more they should make it illegal for people to eat nuts onboard a plane if someone is allergic to them.

‘All the crew could do was ask him to stop eating them but he wouldn’t he carried on and just didn’t seem to care that he was putting my daughter’s life at risk.

‘We had asked to change cabin section but the crew couldn’t do that and when she went into anaphylaxis it was awful – she’s had attacks before but never on a plane and that’s what made it all the more frightening.’

Joanna, a carer, who had been on holiday with her mother and two other children, added: ‘It was our first real break after lockdown and the holiday was fine it was just the journey back that was a nightmare.

Poppy Jones, 14, with mother Joanna (right) with other family members, is now safe at home following the medical emergency in the plane

‘Airlines should do more to protect people who have nut allergies – they should ban nuts completely from all flights and if someone refuses to obey then action should e taken on them as well.

‘Surely someone’s life is worth more than eating a few nuts ? It’s crazy that more isn’t being done about this issue. All the cabin crew can do is ask someone not to eat nuts and that’s it – it’s ridiculous.

‘I honestly thought she was going to die and it’s now put me off flying in the future because I just can’t take the risk again.

‘Poppy and I feel that it is in others best interests that people know what can happen and we hope for a change in legislation to ban nuts completely onboard flights and for their to be consequences for those who ignore this.’

A British Airways spokesman said: ‘The safety and welfare of our customers is always our priority, and we take the issue of allergens very seriously.

‘Our crew cared for a customer who appeared to suffer an allergic reaction onboard, and they arranged for paramedics to meet the aircraft.’

They added there was no issue with any of the onboard equipment and that crew had followed all procedures and had made announcements asking passengers not to eat nuts during the flight because of Poppy’s condition.

In 2016 student Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, from Fulham, south west London, died after an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger sandwich while flying to Nice on holiday. 

She collapsed after eating an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette she had bought at Heathrow, which contained sesame which shew was allergic to and which was not marked on the ingredients.

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