Afraid to Fly


I am looking for advice and/or support for when I fly. I am afraid to fly because of my peanut allergy. My fear is having a reaction on the plane and not being able to get help because I am trapped up in the air. I carry Benedryl and an Epi-Pen with me, but still am not sure that this would buy me enough time before I could get the plane to land and get to a medical facility - especially if we are flying over the Atlantic!

Any words of advice????

On Nov 7, 2000

Someone on the boards recommended trying to get a seat near the cock pit, that way if anyone gives you a hard time, you can go straight to the pilot.

On Nov 7, 2000

Michelle : my first question to you is : "how serious is your allergy?". I know some people have had reactions due to inhaling the dust from the packets of nuts which other passengers have opened. Would this affect you?

I was worried about this possibility and contacted the marketing managers of the airlines (in UK & Europe) I was going to use. They were very understanding and in fact stated that "whilst we do not issue peanuts per se, or use peanut-based snacks, we cannot stop other passengers from bringing nuts on board. We would suggest that you get the steward to mention your allergy during the 'Safety Features' talk at the beginning of the flight, and ask other passengers to be considerate. Additionally, ask for a seat near the front of the aircraft and ensure that you have your medication with you". Or something like that. I am not *so* sensitive (as far as I know) that inhaling the dust would give me problems. I took the risk. All was OK.

On Nov 8, 2000

My 4-yr-old is PA. Last exposure in the Delta Crown Room (he ate a pretzel from their snack mix). We always carry an epipen & used it for the 1st time. EMT arrived asap, taking him to the nearest hospital. We were told on our next flight that he made "news" at Delta and for a short time only they were "peanut free" until passenger complaints forced them to return to bad habits. They have told me to call 48 hrs in advance of each flight, sometimes it works, sometimes not. I don't find them to be terribly concerned over this problem. We will fly to Paris on TWA at Christmas (his 4th trip to Europe with no problems). What, other than alerting the airline and having epi-pens available, do I need to do to make it safe for him? What do you use to wipe down seats, trays, etc. Do I have Benadryl available or do I give him a dose before the flight? Anyone w/ a checklist? Many thanks.

On Nov 8, 2000

Michelle21 -

Maybe you could talk to your allergist about prescribing all the medication they would typically give you at a hospital if you had a bad reaction - that would be the epi-pen which you already have (maybe get an extra one or two?), Benadryl, a liquid steroid, and maybe an albuterol inhaler or nebulizer. I'm just basing this on what they gave my daughter when she had her reaction. This could help buy time and maybe ease your mind knowing you're prepared in a worst-case scenario.

p.s. If you're flying alone, I'd be sure that a flight attendant knew the steps to take and where all your medications were in the case of a reaction. Good luck!

On Nov 9, 2000

Thanks everyone for your great words of advice!

On Nov 11, 2000

Michelle- After many long discussions with Delta personnel about peanut allergy, I had no choice but to conclude that they don't care at all about the safety of individual passengers and certainly not my PA daughter. Only United is peanut free. I will only fly United. At least there, the risk is limited to what other passengers may carry on board, and that I can deal with. I think all PA people should only fly United, because (1) it is the safest way to fly, and (2) it supports the only airline that has been willing to resist the wicked peanut lobbies.[I always go out of my way to tell all United personnel how much I appreciate their stand on peanuts.] I would never subject my daughter to a flight where I know many people are going to be opening peanut packages at once and be smearing peanut oil all over the plane, and where I might have to rely on the pilot to believe me when I ask him to make an emergency landing because her life is in danger. My advice is fly United - or don't fly...and take three Epi-pens. Good luck.