Delta passenger who suffered severe allergic reaction to nuts slams airline: ‘Really terrifying situation’
Posted For: Willie Wonka, HMFWIC
A Delta passenger has vowed to never fly the airline again after she suffered a dangerous reaction to nuts served after she alerted the crew about her allergy — and claimed the pilots refused to make an emergency landing.
Sara Metzger was flying from Sarasota, Florida, back home to Portland, Oregon, in April when she changed planes in Atlanta and informed the cabin crew of her allergy, Business Insider reported.
But when the flight attendants proceeded to hand out snacks, they included almonds, she told the news outlet.
Metzger reminded them of her allergy and was asked whether she’d like a buffer zone around her or wanted the crew to refrain from serving nuts altogether.
She requested that no nuts be served but later noticed that some passengers were snacking on almonds — and her throat began to swell and she started to itch.
Both are symptoms of anaphylaxis, an acute allergic reaction that can develop within seconds of exposure to an allergen. If not treated immediately, it can result in unconsciousness or death.
Metzger rushed to the lavatory and used an EpiPen, a hypodermic device that administers a dose of epinephrine to treat the reaction.
She asked the crew to inform the captain that an emergency landing was necessary — but a fellow passenger who said he was a cardiologist checked her and recommended that she wait to see if her condition improved.
Metzger then injected a second dose from an EpiPen when her symptoms persisted.
“At this point, none of the staff is really talking to me. They’re all talking through this doctor,” she told Insider, adding that his advice contradicted suggestions from medical staff on the ground that the plane land immediately.
“I’m just sitting there having the residual effects of this anaphylactic reaction, hoping that it doesn’t come back again and that I don’t die on this airplane. It was just a really terrifying situation to be in,” Metzger added.
She said she was told the pilots tried to find an airport to make an emergency landing before they arrived in Portland, where first responders allegedly had to wait for the other passengers to disembark before they were allowed onboard.
Metzger has filed a complaint with the Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings.
She argues that the airline failed to accommodate her disability and didn’t respond when she experienced the life-threatening condition.
“Despite Ms. Metzger’s medical peril and the directive of medical services on the ground, the pilot followed the preferences of the cardiologist/passenger rather than the obvious medical needs of Ms. Metzger or the directive from medical services on the ground,” the complaint states.
“The pilot refused to land,” it adds.
Metzger wants the airline to be fined for disability discrimination.
“It is totally up to the whim of the airline staff whether or not they’re going to put my life at risk and take my disability for what it is,” she told Insider.
“I don’t want to die on a Delta flight. So that’s not a risk that I’m going to take again,” she added.
A Delta spokesperson told Insider: “While we unfortunately cannot respond to this specific event, passenger safety is Delta’s top priority and our crew are trained and prepared to respond to onboard events as they occur.”
The incident comes after a similar situation involving a New Jersey woman who filed a complaint against United Airlines.
Linda Mandelbaum, a food allergy advocate from Livingston, claimed crew members aboard a March 13 flight from Texas back to the Garden State refused to inform nearby passengers about her son’s life-threatening peanut allergy.
She alleged that a supervising flight attendant reacted rudely to the request.
According to United’s website, passengers with severe food allergies are encouraged to request an “allergy buffer zone” by alerting nearby passengers — but it says it can’t stop people from consuming allergen-containing products.
Delta’s website states: “We’re committed to helping you travel comfortably. While we are unable to guarantee a peanut-free or allergen-free flight, we will try to make reasonable accommodations for any traveler’s needs.”
The airline did not immediately respond to The Post.