College student claims flight attendants locked her inside an airplane bathroom after she suffered from severe food allergy
Life-threatening food allergies are becoming increasingly common in America yet it appears airlines are yet to properly prepare themselves to serve customers with even more commonly known allergic conditions. College student Alexa Jordan had a seriously traumatizing experience with airline staff in May 2016 when she went into anaphylactic shock while flying home to Chicago after her first year at Harvard.
After she took a bite of a salad she had purchased at the Boston airport, Jordan began to feel her allergies kicking in. The salad was supposedly free of tree nuts, to which Jordan is severely allergic, and she began to enter anaphylactic shock.
Jordan informed the flight attendants about her emergency and told them that she was going to the bathroom to use the only auto-injector of epinephrine she had with her. What they did after that came as a massive shock to Jordan. The attendants reportedly locked the young woman inside the bathroom while she was struggling to stay conscious and in danger of losing her life. "I was left alone ... going in and out of consciousness sitting on the bathroom floor," Jordon told CNN. "My throat remained extremely tight, and I was terrified that it would not improve without a second shot.
"They should not have let me go in there alone," Jordon said. "When you inject epinephrine, it has the potential to negatively impact your heart and can be very dangerous unmonitored."
"Right now, there is no way an individual can predict clearly what their threshold is for what's going to cause anaphylaxis," said Lisa Gable, a former US ambassador who serves as the CEO of advocacy group FARE (Food, Allergy, Resource & Education).
"Nor are allergic reactions consistent across individuals," Gable said. "With one individual it maybe two bites of the food, another person one bite, and for a third it may be the point of contact on the skin."
To lock a sick person in a small enclosed space while they are going through a serious medical emergency is an appalling act under any circumstances. The fact that there is plenty of research and information publicly available on food allergies makes incidents like Jordan's extremely shocking and reminds us of the distance that we're yet to cover when it comes to ensuring passenger safety on airplanes.