California Family Removed From Allegiant Air Flight Over Son's Peanut Allergy
The family said they "felt discriminated against" when they were asked to leave.
— -- A California man said he and his family recently felt "discriminated against" after they were asked to leave an Allegiant Air flight because of their son's severe peanut allergy.
Kyson Dana, 28, told ABC News the incident happened on Monday when he, his wife Sara Dana and their 1-year-old son Theo boarded an Allegiant Air plane at Provo Municipal Airport in Utah that was headed to San Francisco.
As they were boarding, Sara, 28, told a flight attendant Theo had a severe peanut allergy and asked if "they could make any small accommodations such as not serving peanuts during the flight," Kyson said. He added that he and his wife carried an EpiPen just in case of an emergency and reiterated that "the airline wasn't accountable for anything that could happen."
Allegiant says on its website that the airline "does not guarantee an allergen-free flight" but that it "will attempt to re-seat a passenger affected by an allergy in an effort to minimize the passenger's exposure to the allergen."
Though one flight attendant "was very rude" and urged the family not to fly, a second flight attendant was "nice and helpful" and actually asked people to avoid eating peanuts, according to Kyson.
But a third flight attendant said the pilot wanted them "removed from the plane," Kyson said. He and his wife were "rushed out" and a request to speak to the pilot was refused, Kyson noted.
Though Allegiant offered to book another flight for the family, it was scheduled to leave five days later, Kyson said. However, an airport employee who "felt bad" for the family, "pulled some strings" and got them onto an American Airlines flight the same day free of charge, Kyson said.
Allegiant has since sent the family an apology email that Kyson forwarded to ABC News today.
"On behalf of the entire Allegiant team, please allow me to offer my sincere apology for the inconveniences this incident has caused for you and your family," the email read. "We regret that you were denied boarding due to any misunderstanding regarding the severity of your child’s peanut allergy. I realize that medical issues can be highly challenging. We just wanted to make sure you arrived home safely."
Allegiant also sent the following statement to ABC News: "Upon boarding flight 1005 on May 2, 2016, the Dana family indicated to our flight crew that their son had a severe peanut allergy. The flight crew then contacted a third party organization that advises Allegiant and other carriers when making decisions about the safety of passengers with potential medical issues onboard an aircraft. The third party organization, which includes on-call medical doctors available to provide guidance, advised that the family not fly on that specific flight. Allegiant provided the family with airline tickets on another carrier, and they arrived at their destination later that night."
Kyson said he hopes his family's story will help start a larger discussion about how airlines treat people with allergies.