A couple of teenage brothers were removed from a plane because one of the brothers suffers from peanut allergies. The two boys from Atlanta Georgia, aged 15 and 16, were headed to the Philippines to visit their father who was temporarily based in Manila. The father, Rakesh Patel, told Delta about his son’s severe peanut allergy and was told his kid would be accommodated. The boys were put on a Delta flight from Atlanta, that would see them land in Seoul, South Korea, before heading to Manila. However, when they reached Seoul, South Korea to take a connecting flight to Manila on Korean Air, they couldn’t get on the flight because peanuts would be served, reports WSB-TV.
The problem arose when the boys tried to get on their connecting flight on Korean Air. A Korean Air employee told the boys that peanuts would be served and that they either could get on the plane and deal with it or get off. The boys tried to work out another option with the employee and that’s when the employee tried to force the boys off the plane.
“The gate agent reaches over and tries to tug on my son’s shirt to encourage him to get off the plane,” Rakesh Patel told WSB-TV. “It’s not easy being in that position when you are that far from your kids.”
The boys were stranded in Seoul and had to return back to Atlanta because the airline would not accommodate the teenagers.
Rakesh Patel ended up filing a complaint and asked for a refund.
“You guys really need to make sure your partner airlines have the same policies,” Patel said. “We just need to come up with some fair policies that allow passengers with severe allergies to be treated respectfully, fairly and allow them to travel. It was not my fault. It was not my children’s fault. It was one of your partner airlines.”
Delta and Korean Air issued an apology and said that they are looking into what happened.
“We’re sorry for this family’s ordeal, particularly during what is already a difficult time for them. Delta and our partner Korean Air are communicating with the family and examining the processes surrounding this incident; we will use our findings in our work to create a consistent experience for customers flying Delta and our partner airlines.” – Delta Air Lines
“Korean Air is aware that peanut and food allergies are an industry issue and no airline can guarantee a food allergy-free environment. But we are reviewing ways to deal with this issue in a safe and feasible way. We totally understand the risks faced by passengers with nut and food allergies and will certainly try to accommodate them better in the future.
Korean Air has apologized to Mr. and Mrs. Patel and their sons. Customer service is a mainstay of the Delta and Korean Air partnership and we regret that the Patel’s experience did not reflect our common values. That is not our style and we can and will do better.” – Korean Air