6 hour flight to maui, and terrified

Posted on: Wed, 04/28/2004 - 7:40am
momofjtnr's picture
Joined: 04/28/2004 - 09:00

My ds is 6 years old with a fatal PA and TNA. We haven't flown since knowing this, and am terrified of the experience. I've read a lot of the postings, and have some good ideas now of covering the seats, wiping the trays, etc. We will be on American Trans Air from Phoenix to Maui next month. Has anybody ever experienced an anaphylactic reaction on route over the ocean? Most of this flight will be over the ocean, and I will be bringing both epi-pens and benedryl. Will that be enough to save his life, since we wont be able to land in an emergency? Somebody please help! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

Has anyone tried wearing a mask during the flight to limit the airborne recirculated air issues? I've seen a lot about the macadamia nuts on return flights and that scares me, and the nurse at the allergists office said that would be a great idea. Has anyone ever tried it with success?

Posted on: Wed, 04/28/2004 - 12:33pm
Sandra Y's picture
Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

I have never used a mask for my son. I'm not sure how effective it would be. There are masks available for people who paint or use other chemicals in their work, and those masks are rated depending on what substances they are filtering.
When people have reactions to peanuts on a plane, I believe they are reacting to tiny peanut protein particles in the air. I don't know what kind of mask could filter those particles. I don't think an ordinary cloth mask would work, but I don't really know.
Have you spoken to anyone at the airline and asked about your situation? If they serve nuts, it might be helpful to know how they're served, too.
We always fly on United, since they don't serve peanuts. They do serve nuts in business class/first class, but they are served in little dishes, so you don't have a bunch of people popping open bags of nuts and releasing nut-dust into the air.
I hope you can get some answers before your trip so you can relax on the plane! I assume your child will be eating food that you bring along with you, rather than airline food. From what I've read, you can't really count on the airline food to be safe from cross contamination. Good luck!

Posted on: Wed, 04/28/2004 - 1:50pm
Driving Me Nutty's picture
Joined: 05/01/2003 - 09:00

I can't answer your questions specifically but I would suggest talking to your allergist about giving your child an antihistamine before the flight. I know that the body can fight the allergen better if they have the antihistamine already in their system when they come in contact with an allergen.
I hope this makes sense. Sorry, its late but wanted to throw this idea out there-

Posted on: Wed, 04/28/2004 - 2:18pm
momofjtnr's picture
Joined: 04/28/2004 - 09:00

Thank you both for your input! I may look further into the mask thing, but know that it is probably just a precautionary thing that may not work anyway, but better be safe than sorry. The airline says that they cant make it a peanut free flight, which bothers me, and they are making me sign a release form before we fly, releasing them from responsibility if something should happen. I understand their point, but what about my right as a parent trying to keep their child safe?
I will look into the antihistamine before boarding also, what a novel idea. the allergist has been helpful and informative, and assures me that the epi-pens and benedryl should be sufficient, and is also giving me info on the pediatric protocol, which also includes some type of steroid treatment as well. I'll be surprised if I dont get an ulcer by the end of this trip! ha ha!! We always travel with his own 'snack food' as he is a very picky eater also.
Thanks again to both of you for your words of wisdom and encouragement!!

Posted on: Fri, 04/30/2004 - 4:15am
deegann's picture
Joined: 07/27/2003 - 09:00

[This message has been edited by deegann (edited August 26, 2004).]

Posted on: Fri, 05/07/2004 - 1:12pm
Shawn's picture
Joined: 09/07/1999 - 09:00

Our first TransAtlantic flight (Charleston, SC to Franfurt, Germany) was in 2000, on an ATA plane. At that time, at least, ATA served peanuts. However, since this particular flight had been chartered by the US Military, we went through their central office to insure no peanuts. We were informed that no peanuts were served on military charter flights, that they used a pretzel/cracker mix instead.
Unfortunately, with that assurance, no one bothered to inform the flight crew of our son's allergy, and I didn't think to do it myself. About an hour into the flight, I saw the flight attendants passing out the snacks. Within minutes - when they were still some distance from our seats - I could smell the peanuts. We were frantic! DH raced up the aisle to talk to the attendants. One of the passengers had asked if they could have peanuts, so they just started passing out the ones they had left over on board from a previous flight. They immediately put the rest of the peanuts away, but I spent the rest of the flight - all seven hours, overnight - watching DS.
Since then, I've learned to
1) tell your travel agent when booking the flight;
2) call the airline's customer service line directly;
3) verify at the counter at check-in that the passenger list has a notice about the allergy;
4) verify same with the representative at the gate, requesting preboarding (usually all passengers with small children are given this option, anyway); and
5) verify with the head flight attendant as soon as we board the plane.

Posted on: Fri, 05/28/2004 - 11:57am
audreyanita's picture
Joined: 01/16/2004 - 09:00

We just flew from Denver to Maui last month with our Peanut and Tree Nut allerigic child. I had the exact same concerns as you, I was terrified to take my child on such a long flight across the ocean. We saw our allergist about a month before our flight. He said to give a dose of Zyrtec befor we boarded the flight. We had Benedryl and 4 or 5 Epipens on the flight with us. I brought some chlorox wipes on the plane and boarded before the rest of the family and throughly wiped down our seating area. We flew on United to Honolulu and both ways the flight attendants made an annoucement about our son's allergy. They requested that passengers brought any products on board containing any nuts, that they refrain from consuming them. We brought all of our son's food and snacks on board but the rest of the family did eat the airline food.
I was very worried about the macadamia nuts not only on the plane but in Maui as well. We were staying at a hotel and eating out daily. Since my son is allergic to some tree nuts (walnut, pecan, hazelnut) as well as peanuts, we decided to have him tested to macadamia. Surprisingly, he did not test positive to macadamia! This gave me such peace of mind and it was worth a trip to the doctor. We would neve feed him macadamia nuts but just knowing that if he happended to come into contact with one, he should be okay. I also have to say that people in hotels and restaurants were so helpful and understanding about his allergy. We did not have any problems at all and it was an amazing family vacation! Please let me know if you have more questions.

Posted on: Sun, 05/30/2004 - 1:26am
fuzzyfurball's picture
Joined: 06/27/2002 - 09:00

I would also suggest getting a refund and going on a different flight. I almost flew ATA and was told to get a refund b/c they will not fly (in 2002) PA people, nor people with seizures. They should be able to give a refund. I would HIGHLY recommend United--they don't serve peanuts and they acted very nicely to the fact that I am PA.

Posted on: Sun, 05/30/2004 - 9:53am
momofjtnr's picture
Joined: 04/28/2004 - 09:00

Thank you both for your experiences regarding the maui trip and flying. We actually just returned from maui early this morning. The allergist made a 'flying plan' for my ds that consisted of Prelone (steroid) the night before the flight, and also the morning of, as well as benedryl an hour before boarding and during the flight as well. We spoke with one of the head people with the FAAN the day before our trip, and he informed me of some useful information.
First of all, ATA is the "worst airline" for those who are food allergic. According to him, they do not make any accomodations for the passenger, and also can prevent you from boarding if "you pose any significant risk". He said the airlines feels that it would be "too expensive" to have to do an emergency landing, and that ATA has refused people from boarding in the past. Boy, that made me feel really important.
Fortunately, we had a safe and uneventful trip, both to and from Maui, and although my ds was medicated prior to the flight, and we wiped down everything around him, and brougt his own food, i still found myself watching him as he slept to make sure he was still breathing.
On the return trip, they did serve peanuts, about 15 minutes into the flight. The couple behind him were both eating the peanuts, and my son was sleeping with his face in the crack between his seat and his brothers. I took out a mask and put it on him and just sat there and watched him for the next 30 minutes. He was fine, and i wouldn't doubt if I got an ulcer on this trip. LOL.
Thanks again to all of you with your suggestions and comments. I must say, that we will not be traveling by plane for a very long time, as we also had 3 other children (4 and under, including a baby) to keep occupied. Needless to say, everything turned out ok, and we have learned a lot from this experience.

Posted on: Sun, 05/30/2004 - 10:38am
Sandra Y's picture
Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

Thanks for posting about your trip. I'm glad it was safe & I hope you had a great time.

Posted on: Sun, 05/30/2004 - 10:50am
e-mom's picture
Joined: 04/23/2000 - 09:00

Glad your trip ended up being safe.
Hey, at least now you know that your son is probably not airborne or contact sensitive. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


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