Depending on who you ask, flying is either a great and relaxing experience or a white-knuckle wrestle for your life for at least a couple of hours. Some people just don’t take flying very well. I mean, who can blame them, flying in a several-hundred-ton can through the sky at hundreds of miles an hour is certainly not very pleasant if you dwell on it.

Well, it turns out that things can always be worse. I’m not talking about screaming kids, though – allergies are the focus of today’s story.

Leah Williams stirred up an online ruckus by sharing her story about difficulties managing allergies while on a flight

Image credits: insider

She took a Eurowings flight back and forth, which took her allergies into account for the first flight, but allegedly refused to give such grace for the return

27-year-old Leah Williams took a Eurowings flight from Düsseldorf, Germany to London’s Heathrow Airport. All went swimmingly (or, rather flyingly, I guess) for this forward trip.

As Leah had experienced an anaphylactic shock reaction on a previous flight after someone opened a package of nuts near her, making her break out in hives, she makes sure to take precautions now.

She asked the attendants to make an announcement requesting that passengers refrain from eating products containing nuts during the flight and not to sell them during it.

Just in case you’re unaware, anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that can happen very quickly. Dangerous symptoms of anaphylaxis are swelling of the tongue and throat, blocking off airways, causing difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, and the like.


Image credits: Jack Sparrow (not the actual photo)

Allergic reactions can be rapid, severe, and most importantly, caused by very small amounts of allergens, which don’t need to be consumed, as many think

This reaction is usually treated by one or several shots of adrenaline, oxygen, or IV drips. That’s why people with known and severe reactions must have shots of adrenaline with them no matter what they do or where they go. Well, perhaps not at home, but in the outside world, you can never be too sure where allergens may be coming from.

As every allergic person may be allergic to different things and react differently, it’s important to be considerate to their requests.

There are also many types of allergies: medication, food, insect, latex, mold, pet, pollen… Each of these can be further broken down further, as, for example, food-allergic people may be allergic to milk, eggs, nuts, soy, on the list goes.

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Leah says that the attendants refused to notify passengers and refrain from selling nuts on this flight, contradicting Eurowings representatives

Let’s get back to Leah, though. On the return flight with the same airline, the crew refused to make the same accommodations, saying that it was against company policy. The attendant seemed to even be upset by this development, Leah said in an interview to Insider. It just looked like he wanted to move the line along.


The cabin crew also didn’t understand her allergy at all, suggesting that she needed an inhaler in case of a reaction.

Although according to Eurowings their crew is medically trained and have medication on hand, maybe it’d be a good idea to update that policy to train them about allergies some more.

Image credits: Kelly (not the actual photo)

This led to Leah purchasing every single bag of snack nuts on the flights, all 48 of them. To add insult to injury, the crew asked if Leah would be partaking in any of them, which she obviously refused.

They were bagged up and left at the front of the plane.

This precaution cost her about $185 (168 euros), about triple the price of her initial flight.

Nuts are a common snack on planes and most airlines don’t have any rules about passengers not being able to bring their own nuts onboard, so it’s quite difficult to eliminate allergens on planes, even if they are regularly cleaned.

Leah, according to various sources, is currently pursuing a refund for her expenses, especially as Eurowings is a budget-friendly airline. She says that Eurowings should feel ashamed of how they handled this issue and how they made her feel.


Image credits: FACES Patna (not the actual photo)

Bored Panda reached out to Eurowings for a comment, hopefully clearing this issue up

Bored Panda managed to reach out to Eurowings for a comment about the situation. To start, they mentioned that they are very sorry that the flight with them did not go smoothly and they regret the inconvenience it has caused to Leah – so that’s the apology out of the way.

According to them, Leah Williams was not forced to buy all of the packages on board. “On the contrary, our purser tried to offer her an alternative solution by informing all passengers sitting around her about Leah’s allergy. She agreed at first but then decided to still buy all the packages,” a representative said, slightly clashing with her story.

Eurowings operates over 600 flights daily, carrying over 80k passengers. As I mentioned, it’s impossible to exclude sources of allergens from flights for many reasons, meals and snacks on board and passenger cargo included. Therefore, Eurowings can’t guarantee that an aircraft is free of allergens, even if the planes are cleaned regularly and thoroughly. The HEPA filters used on board can help people suffering from cat hair and dust allergies. The system circulates the cabin air, supplementing it with outside air.

They direct people to their website with information about allergies and a paragraph about nut allergies within their General Conditions of Carriage (GCC).

Once again, Eurowings emphasizes that their medically trained crew has access to medication, but also recommends carrying allergy medication or an Epipen in the carry-on baggage. “A strong allergy sufferer should always be prepared for such an eventuality and has at least one, most of the time even two pens with anti-allergic with him/her as a preventive measure and usually informs our crews accordingly.”


Image credits: Dan4th Nicholas (not the actual photo)

Many people called Leah out for being a “snowflake” and the like, but when you consider that you’re weighing a literal life and death scenario along with a package of nuts, that argument kind of falls apart. Who’s the snowflake? The person who just wants to survive their flight or someone who can’t eat nuts for a couple hours?

What are your thoughts about Leah, Eurowings and this entire debacle? Leave your comments down below.

Many people poked fun at Leah and discredited her allergy, but what kind of person can’t resist peanuts for a couple of hours for the sake of another’s life?


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Image credits: Pew Nguyen (not the actual photo)

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