panic feeling about vacation

Posted on: Tue, 01/16/2007 - 10:57am
skocsis's picture
Joined: 08/28/2004 - 09:00

We just made all the final preparations for our trip to Disney World this summer. It's basically a free trip thanks to our friends job. His company has a house in Celebration, FL that employees get to use. It comes with 2 mini-vans in addition to the house- not bad!

My panic attacks come when I think about putting my PA 5 year old son on a plane. Our friend says we are flying Continental, which according to this site, isn't allergy friendly. My question is...has anyone with PA ever flown on a plane that served peanuts on the flight? If so, any reactions? Are you smell sensitive? Do surgical type masks help?

I'm really nervous, but I hate for my kids to miss out on this practically free trip to Disney.

Thanks for the input

Posted on: Tue, 01/16/2007 - 11:10am
Mrsdocrse's picture
Joined: 01/16/2007 - 09:00

I have flown several times with my PA son... My first advice is call the airline ahead of time and speak with someone and find out what thier policy is.. Have the airline put in the passenger record that your child have a life threatening PA. If they know in advance they will sometimes Subsitute pretzels for a snack. when I checked in at the airport at the gate I went early and spoke with the gate agent. I advised them of the situation and they alerted the head flight attendant. ( I am assuming that you are flying with him and that you will have and epi pen.... with you?)... They let me board early ao that I could wipe down the tray table and seat with out holding up traffic. Then checked with the people around a few rows in front and behind and asked it anyone had snacks that they brought on board that contained peanuts... In my case no one had... but I did get one one flight that a little girl sitting in front of us had a peanut butter sandwich... I asked the mom for he not to allow her daughter to touch my son.. and explained... All went went well several times... and I must say on that trip we went to Disney they were fabulous with dealing with the allergy! Hope that helps..

Posted on: Tue, 01/16/2007 - 11:30am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

I am assuming Mrsdrocse did not fly Continental. We did. Here is what happened. We were supposed to fly Los Angeles to Nashville, changing planes in Houston. Dd was diagnosed four days before we flew and we already had tickets. I did not want to scrap the tickets and lose the money, although Continental is notoriously NOT pa friendly. We made it to Houston okay, but in Houston they decided not to let us board due to dd`s pa. They would not let us fly to our destination, they would not let us fly home. They would not let us fly, period. I later found out from FAAN that Continental is notorious for refusing to let pa passengers board. We ended up flying another airline. Eventually after numerous letters of complaint, we got a partial refund from Continental and some frequent flyer miles to "try us again" (yeah, right). We used their frequent flyer miles on a partner airline.
So sorry for the bad news, but better to find out now. You don`t want to get stuck somewhere where they won`t let you even board. Maybe they have gotten better, but I don`t think so. This was in 2000, but others on this board have had problems on Continental within the last year or two. They think they do not need to accomodate pa.

Posted on: Tue, 01/16/2007 - 12:11pm
skocsis's picture
Joined: 08/28/2004 - 09:00

Yikes!- Has anyone else been told they couldn't board the plane with PA? Now, I'm even more nervous!

Posted on: Tue, 01/16/2007 - 1:13pm
gw_mom3's picture
Joined: 02/14/2000 - 09:00

I'd be more nervous now about what might happen after boarding rather than them refusing to let you on board. Apparently they are not going to accomodate anyone with allergies in any way at all. [img][/img]

Posted on: Tue, 01/16/2007 - 1:28pm
NicoleinNH's picture
Joined: 06/21/2003 - 09:00

[This message has been edited by NicoleinNH (edited June 10, 2007).]

Posted on: Wed, 01/17/2007 - 12:13am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

I agree with Nicole. It is not worth risking your child`s life for a free ticket. Better to find out now how unsafe Continental is rather than to find out the day you fly.

Posted on: Wed, 01/17/2007 - 1:44am
saknjmom's picture
Joined: 04/02/2003 - 09:00

We have traveled extensively with DS prior to and after PA diagnosis.
We've had a lot of different results. I have NEVER had good luck calling ahead. It seems that it doesn't matter. We have flown on continental several times. Twice, I think they were somewhat reluctant to let us board. I think that the fact that we were very calm and matter o fact made the difference in them letting us on.
One time, though the captain and the crew seemed to be very allergy aware and they were able to change to pretzels on Continental.
Once on Continental, they agreed they wouldn't serve nuts. We were three rows from the back and we started smelling nuts. They ran out of food and served the last row a drinking cup full of mixed nuts. The stewardass (notice the spelling) said too bad, what are these folks supposed to eat???? My husband spoke with the 6 passengers and they threw the nuts out.
Our friends flew continental to Hawaii (very long trip from NJ) and they were fantastic with their PA daughter.
If you look on the travel area of this board, you can see more information.
Prior to our knowledge of DSs allergies, he did have hives and itchiness on the plane. Now, I know to dress him in long sleeves, pants, long socks. We also wipe the tray, armrests etc. with wipes before he sits down.
Flying can be very a very nerve wracking experience. I try to avoid Continental. United is my preference. I've had good and bad with Frontier.
The way I look at it, flying is a risk. BUT, you have to weigh the situation you are in with the allergies and make a decision. My son has never had an inhalation reaction, but has had rashes and hives from contact. Your situation may be different.
People bring food on the plane, you really don't know what's been eaten previously in your seat.
Be prepared, bring plenty of benadryl, as many epi pens as you have available, inhaler if that applies to you, something to wipe the seats/trays. And of course, some food for your child to eat.
Good Luck

Posted on: Wed, 01/17/2007 - 4:03am
BriandBrinasmom's picture
Joined: 10/20/2006 - 09:00

I think it depends on how sensitive your child is.
Honestly...have you ever thought about a playground? Half the children on the playground had peanut butter for lunch, and most of them are getting a whole lot closer to your child there than they would be if they were sitting in the row ahead on a plane. Same with school, or at the store. If your child is one of the few who could react to peanut protein residue in the air, you'd probably know it by now.
In my humble opinion, you take more risk by driving your child to the airport in the first place than you do by having him on a plane with peanuts.
Incidently, my son has his own frequent flyer mile cards. He's flown on about 40 airplanes since birth and never had a problem. And yes, there have been peanuts on the airplane at times - he just didn't eat them and we've never had a problem.

Posted on: Wed, 01/17/2007 - 4:06am
BriandBrinasmom's picture
Joined: 10/20/2006 - 09:00

By the way, I work for a company that makes surgical masks. Please don't put a mask on your child. It's stigmatizing! Plus, surgical masks only filter down to a certain particle size. My guess (and it is a guess, but an educated one) is that peanut protein small enough to be aerosoled will go through a standard mask.
Plus, most masks are not sized for children, so particles are likely to go around it unless you're planning to tape it down. Please just don't go there.

Posted on: Wed, 01/17/2007 - 4:36am
Christabelle's picture
Joined: 10/03/2004 - 09:00

The idea of taking a plane anywhere makes me shudder. They are too-PC-to-be-safe, germy, peanuty tubes of death. We just don't fly, period. The peanut issue is secondary here for us, so it never comes up as a possibility. Much like the pool, we don't do it unless it's our own private one (pool or jet).
If everyone took my approach, the economy would collapse. I would do the next best thing in your case - I would go with the safest possible airline for peanuts, etc, and just eat the $$.
Good luck with this one! I don't think there's a great overall answer.


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