Midair in a Peanut-Free Zone

Kristen Lopez Eastlick is program manager for the Guest Choice Network, a coalition based in Washington of restaurant owners and managers

Item: "The U.S. Department of Transportation has proposed to the 10 major U.S. airlines a set of guidelines designed to accommodate passengers with peanut allergies. Its solution: Each plane should have designated 'peanut-free zones.' " The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 2.


Good afternoon. Welcome aboard your flight. Before we take off, I'll be explaining some new safety features. In compliance with new federal recommendations designed to protect those among you with peanut allergies, rows 17 through 25 have been designated a "peanut-free zone." Also, please be advised that passengers seated in rows 16 and 26 are in the peanut-free "buffer zone." Passengers sitting in the buffer zone should note federal guidelines prohibit them from serving as a conduit for any peanut transfer into the peanut-free zone. Nor should they eat any peanut-containing foods such as Snickers or PB & J and breathe in the direction of the peanut-free zone.

Should turbulence occur during the snack service, the captain will turn on the no-peanut light. Passengers eating peanuts should immediately secure them in a safe place. Should peanuts accidentally be set loose in the cabin, oxygen masks will automatically drop from the ceiling in the peanut-free zone.

In addition, due to the much-publicized issue of multiple chemical sensitivity, Rows 45 through 60 have been designated the "scent-free zone." Passengers in this area may not apply perfumes, colognes or scented deodorants or have showered this morning using fancy soaps, shampoos or hair conditioners. Passengers should let one of the attendants know if any of their carry-on luggage was out of their possession long enough for scented products to have been placed in that luggage without their knowledge. For the further comfort and safety of our MCS passengers, all lavatory deodorizers have been removed, leaving everything in a more natural chemical-free state.

Also, for the comfort and safety of those who get jittery when they consume caffeine, there is a caffeine-free zone, which overlaps the peanut-free zone. And for those who do not approve of alcohol consumption, the entire coach class has been designated an "alcohol-free zone." Should we receive sufficient requests, we will gladly establish meat-free, grain-free and flirt-free zones.

In addition, at the urging of anti-gambling activists, playing cards have been removed from this airplane.

Thank you, and please enjoy your flight.

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