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mathnerd
02-26-2015, 09:48 PM
A few days ago I was returning home on a coast to coast flight. Apparently, some tomato juice splashed into the ice bin of the beverage cart, which contaminated my ice water and caused an allergic reaction. I have extremely severe reactions to tomatoes, and have had reactions bad enough to need to be intubated and/or shocked back into a normal sinus rhythm. The flight crew was awesome, and there happened to be not one, but three physicians on board, and between that and the medications I had with me (4 epipens, benadryll, albuterol), we were able to get me stable enough to keep the flight going, instead of diverting it to Dallas like they were prepared to do when the reaction first started.

So, they get me stable, clear my row and get me comfortable. Once the drama settled down, the flight crew began their second beverage service. A guy in the row in front of me asked for tomato juice. The flight attendant informed him that they would not be serving any tomato juice for the remainder of the flight, since that was the likeliest source of the medical emergency, and they didn't want to take any chances. Well you would have thought they just told him they were going to shove him out of the plane at 30,000 feet. This guy went absolutely ballistic, cursing and screaming and making all sorts of ruckus. The crew wouldn't back down, and and he eventually calmed down, but not before threatening to file a formal complaint against the crew. Gee, really? You can't have a particular kind of juice because it might kill the person in the row behind you, and they were doing everything they could to get us home instead of having to land at a different airport, so this ruins your flight? If I was able to breathe well, I'd have gotten up and punched him. Seriously, where are your priorities!

On the flip side, I can't say enough good things about the way the crew handled things. They were completely prepared to land the plane as soon as the trouble started, and did everything exactly right to keep me breathing. The doctors on board, who were just passengers themselves really helped, but I think the crew would have been a-ok even if they weren't there.

wolfie
02-27-2015, 12:50 AM
A guy in the row in front of me asked for tomato juice. The flight attendant informed him that they would not be serving any tomato juice for the remainder of the flight, since that was the likeliest source of the medical emergency, and they didn't want to take any chances. Well you would have thought they just told him they were going to shove him out of the plane at 30,000 feet. This guy went absolutely ballistic, cursing and screaming and making all sorts of ruckus.

What would his reaction have been if they'd told him they ran out of tomato juice (possibly due to catering screwing up - supplying an extra case of orange juice instead of the second case of tomato juice)? With this being post-9/11, I'm surprised this guy wasn't hauled off the plane in handcuffs.

BTW, if the flight crew told me they were going to shove me out at 30,000 feet, I'd question their knowledge of the plane's safety features - the first movement of a door being opened is INWARD, and the pressurization (needed for survival at that altitude, so they wouldn't be able to depressurize in order to open the door) puts it beyond human strength to open the door - not to mention that on many narrow-body aircraft the hinges are at the FRONT, so they'd have to swing it against the 500+ MPH slipstream.

They were completely prepared to land the plane as soon as the trouble started, and did everything exactly right to keep me breathing.

Just being cynical, but I've heard that the paperwork for "passenger died on the aircraft" is FAR more than that for "we had to divert, but unfortunately the passenger died in the ambulance".

Ternasthebard
02-27-2015, 01:00 AM
Just being cynical, but I've heard that the paperwork for "passenger died on the aircraft" is FAR more than that for "we had to divert, but unfortunately the passenger died in the ambulance".

Just being a bit more cynical than that, but I could have sworn hearing somewhere that the reimbursement/pay off for having a passenger die on the flight costs them less than having to deal with angry customers that might attempt to sue them for diverting the flight.

MoonCat
02-27-2015, 02:03 AM
Mathnerd, glad you're okay! :)

Seshat
02-27-2015, 02:05 AM
Box of chocolates time, mathnerd. Sent to the crew of that flight. Also, a hamper of assorted tomato products (assembled by someone ELSE), for irony's sake. :D

Monterey Jack
02-27-2015, 02:50 AM
Did the tomato juice asshole look like this, by any chance...? :D

http://media0.giphy.com/media/HsIS4nDEIMA3S/giphy.gif

mathnerd
02-27-2015, 03:11 AM
Wolfie, yeah, I imagine the paperwork is a nightmare. And while I didn't hear everything that went on with the asshole in front of me, I'm sure he was reminded that misbehaving on the flight was a really bad idea.

Mooncat and Seshat, thanks. :) I've been trying to track down an appropriate email or snail mail address to write a letter praising the flight crew for how they handled things. I'd also like to ask them to forward a letter of thanks to the physicians on board who helped out. I know they won't give me the contact information for those people, but I'm hoping they'll forward something.

As for what the tomato juice asshole looked like, I have no idea, but the gif made me chuckle. I spent most of the rest of the flight staring at the ceiling, as I was laid down across the entire row of seats.

Mr Hero
02-27-2015, 04:37 AM
Was the guy in the row in front of you there the whole time you were having a reaction? You'd think those immediately near you would be most understanding why they aren't serving tomato juice the remainder of the flight. What a douche!

mathnerd
02-27-2015, 06:36 PM
He was indeed. You'd think after hearing somebody gasping for breath for the 5-7 minutes he'd have been a little bit more understanding. (guessing on the time here...I gave my self the first epipen, waited for a few minutes and didn't get any relief so gave myself the second one, which cleared things up fairly quickly, then took a couple puffs of my inhaler and took benydryll, in an effort to ward off a rebound reaction).

But no, apparently all that mattered was he couldn't get his precious tomato juice. Some people should never be allowed out in public.

notalwaysright
02-27-2015, 06:49 PM
I'm growing more and more concerned that one day when I see a SC throwing a tantrum over something stupid, like not getting tomato juice, I'm going to start mimicking a toddler. Just start loudly saying, "But I wan it I wan it I wan it! Now now now now!"

Some time ago when I was at the community college, we were in one of those nice stadium style lecture rooms and a guy just abruptly got up and ran out, leaving all his stuff... Turns out he was very allergic to peanuts, and the person behind him started eating a Payday (a candy bar made of almost entirely peanuts), and the guy started having a reaction just from being nearby. The teacher made an announcement, from then on, no food period. I have no known allergies, and nobody in my direct family does either, so it's not on my mind too much. But I can't imagine insisting on eating say, peanuts, DIRECTLY after someone has a reaction to them. Can you say self-absorbed?

mathnerd
02-27-2015, 07:10 PM
It's one thing if you don't know that you're going to be causing a problem by eating something that's going to trigger a reaction in a person nearby, but to insist on something after something like that has happened is just selfish.

I'm usually extremely careful about what I eat, and carry a ton of rescue drugs with me at all times, but to be honest, a contaminated ice bin on a flight didn't even occur to me. It never dawned on me that they might have tomato juice on board, but it makes sense that they would, now that I think about it. In the future, I'm going to ask the airlines (prior to boarding) if I can be provided with a factory sealed water/soda instead of having it poured into a cup over ice. I'm pretty sure this particular airline will be more than happy to accommodate that request in the future, given they now have experience with what happens if I get exposed, and I'm pretty sure that it's not an unreasonable request to make of other airlines.

mhkohne
02-28-2015, 01:06 AM
It's one thing if you don't know that you're going to be causing a problem by eating something that's going to trigger a reaction in a person nearby, but to insist on something after something like that has happened is just selfish.

I'm usually extremely careful about what I eat, and carry a ton of rescue drugs with me at all times, but to be honest, a contaminated ice bin on a flight didn't even occur to me. It never dawned on me that they might have tomato juice on board, but it makes sense that they would, now that I think about it. In the future, I'm going to ask the airlines (prior to boarding) if I can be provided with a factory sealed water/soda instead of having it poured into a cup over ice. I'm pretty sure this particular airline will be more than happy to accommodate that request in the future, given they now have experience with what happens if I get exposed, and I'm pretty sure that it's not an unreasonable request to make of other airlines.

The wierd thing is that tomato juice actually tastes different at altitude: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/weird/WHYY-Why-do-we-Drink-Tomato-Juice-on-Planes--278032761.html

which is why people drink so much of it in the air. Totally bizzare.

I'm sure most any airline will be happy to provide sealed cans, though I don't know if they'll be cold or not. Also would depend on them having cans - I seem to remember seeing 2 litres n a recent flight, but that could be a memory trick.

mathnerd
02-28-2015, 01:40 AM
They generally have small, chilled water bottles for first class. I don't fly first class, but I think asking ahead of time for something like that if the rest of the choices are 1-2l bottles wouldn't be too much to ask considering the circumstances.

notalwaysright
02-28-2015, 02:07 AM
It's one thing if you don't know that you're going to be causing a problem by eating something that's going to trigger a reaction in a person nearby, but to insist on something after something like that has happened is just selfish.


And it seems like he was seated fairly close to you, so it's not like he was up in business or something. When I fly I feel like I hear everyone's conversation, feel everyone's cough or sneeze, smell everyone's food.

On a side note, I do pay attention when I bring food to work or a party. You know, stay away from nuts, try for a vegetarian dish or whatever seems relevant. I used to try to find something my friend with celiac could eat... Finally she told me that it was nice, but she's developed so many sensitivities that she brings her own meals.

BeeMused
02-28-2015, 07:27 PM
BTW, if the flight crew told me they were going to shove me out at 30,000 feet, I'd question their knowledge of the plane's safety features - the first movement of a door being opened is INWARD, and the pressurization (needed for survival at that altitude, so they wouldn't be able to depressurize in order to open the door) puts it beyond human strength to open the door - not to mention that on many narrow-body aircraft the hinges are at the FRONT, so they'd have to swing it against the 500+ MPH slipstream.


Perhaps we should talk to Boing and Airbus about a special SC ejection door. An airlock would do the trick, just ask the NASA.

I'm glad you came out OK, Mathnerd.

Evannah
02-28-2015, 09:14 PM
I'm glad you're okay! Some people are just horrid individuals with no compassion for anyone but themselves. Never mind you could have died, he was in a worse dilemma because he couldn't get his tomato juice. I swear, some people...

XCashier
03-01-2015, 04:49 AM
I've been trying to track down an appropriate email or snail mail address to write a letter praising the flight crew for how they handled things. I'd also like to ask them to forward a letter of thanks to the physicians on board who helped out. I know they won't give me the contact information for those people, but I'm hoping they'll forward something.

That's a wonderful gesture. Flight attendants hear complaints far too often and compliments not often enough. It would do them good to see a thank you letter, and it would look good to the boss, too. I don't know if they'd be able to forward anything to the physicians, but maybe a Letter to the Editor of the local newspaper might work?

I'm glad you're okay, that must've been frightening. And that guy...I'd call him a jackass, but that would be insulting to the jackasses. :p

justhere
03-01-2015, 09:47 PM
That's a wonderful gesture. Flight attendants hear complaints far too often and compliments not often enough. It would do them good to see a thank you letter, and it would look good to the boss, too. I don't know if they'd be able to forward anything to the physicians, but maybe a Letter to the Editor of the local newspaper might work?

I'm glad you're okay, that must've been frightening. And that guy...I'd call him a jackass, but that would be insulting to the jackasses. :p

One of my kids has food allergies and one of the allergens we deal with is dairy - I'd never think of milk in an ice bin, but if it can happen with tomato juice, it can happen with milk, so this is something I will consider and share with others for future consideration.

Regarding thanking the flight attendants, when some of my coworkers received above the top customer service during a flight a few years ago, they also wanted to send a letter commending the flight attendants who helped them. In the end, they sent a letter to the in-flight magazine, with all the identifying info. It was published in the magazine and they were told by one of the flight attendants that a copy was placed in their files (they take that flight frequently enough they see the same flight attendants and captains frequently).

mathnerd
03-02-2015, 12:23 AM
Justhere, the whole ice bin thing was something that I'd never even thought of, and I'm extremely careful with what I eat; sometimes to the point of being over the top about it. Sometimes something happens that makes you realize that it's pretty much impossible to think of everything.

dalesys
03-02-2015, 12:37 AM
... impossible to think of everything.
Achilles vs, Tortoise. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid - Douglas Hofstadter :p

RootedPhoenix
03-06-2015, 05:48 AM
:eek: I'm really glad you're okay! *hands you chocolate*

mathnerd
03-06-2015, 06:42 AM
Yum! Thanks.

Yeah, the whole thing is pretty scary. I don't actually know what it looks like to watch somebody in anaphylaxis, as I've never seen anybody else having a reaction, and my last priority is finding a mirror when it's my own life at stake. I can imagine it's pretty disconcerting to see/hear though, which is one of the reasons I was so dumbfounded at the idiot's temper tantrum.