panic feeling about vacation


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

On Jan 16, 2007

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.. Therese

On Jan 16, 2007

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.

On Jan 16, 2007

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

On Jan 16, 2007

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]

------------------ ============== [b]~Gale~[/b]

On Jan 16, 2007


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

On Jan 17, 2007

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.

On Jan 17, 2007

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

On Jan 17, 2007

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.

On Jan 17, 2007

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.

On Jan 17, 2007

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.

On Jan 17, 2007

We live in Houston, Continental's home, and we will not fly them with DS. You can see my/my husbands (under my name) posts about this under the Gearing up for a fight with Continental thread.

We booked those tickets several weeks ahead, and Continental would not agree to serve pretzels rather than peanuts. I spoke with the head of customer service (whose office is just a couple of miles from my own in Downtown Houston, and got nowhere.

I really, really hate the fact that I have to fly Contintal tomorrow for business (w/o DS), because I do not want to support a company with such idiotic policies.

We have flown a lot with DS, and DS has had rash/hive reactions on SW when no nuts were served, I wiped down all surfaces and he had no contact with the seat because of a crib sheet covering it (which is a good idea anyway). And I gave him a prophylactic dose of benadryl.

He hasn't had a problem otherwise.

If there is any other way to get to Disney, I would do it.

On Jan 17, 2007


Originally posted by BriandBrinasmom: [b] 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. [/b]

But on a playground or in an airport, if your child has a reaction you can get them to the ER right away. In a plane you're at the mercy of the pilot landing quickly and having emergency care waiting on the ground. I would feel much more helpless if I was flying with a child having a reaction and being able to do nothing but wait for the plane to land.

------------------ ============== [b]~Gale~[/b]

On Jan 17, 2007

FAAN did a study on this very issue. The reason that it is so much more risky to be on an airplane with pa compared to a playground is that with 200 passengers opening bags of peanuts all at once, a large amount of peanut dust is released into the air, which is then recirculated, not the case at all on a playground. The FAAN study found that the risk of a reaction on a plane went up if 25 or more people were eating peanuts. This is the whole rationale behind requesting a peanut free flight and the reason that Continental`s excuse about being unable to control what passengers bring on board is so flimsy. A few passengers on a plane with their pbj or peanut M and Ms is nowhere near as risky as 200 passengers opening their bags of peanuts.

On Jan 17, 2007

If you really think your son shouldn't fly on Continental, maybe you and your son could fly together on a different airline and everyone else could take the free flight from Continental. That shouldn't cost too much, just for two tickets, especially considering everything else is free. I think you should do whatever is necessary to make sure the trip happens, because peanut allergy is not a good reason for kids to miss out on the fun things in life!

On Jan 18, 2007

I haven't been on Continental due to the problems I read on this board. Flying for the first time is very scary...regardless of the airlines.

Any chance you could talk to DH's company to see if they'd credit you the cost of the tickets so that you could apply that amount to another airline? Are the tickets transferrable? Could you e-bay them and use the funds to buy new tickets?

FYI, we flew Jet Blue to Orlando last year and they were absolutely wonderful. At our request, the flight was as peanut-free as they could make it (every airline gives a "cannot promise passengers will not bring PB on") but additionally, the flight crew was so wonderful (and nervous), they refrained from offering Biscotti as it had almonds on it. They said they would prefer it that way. They were so good I was thinking they must have been trained on anaphylaxis...I mean really be as concerned as they were.

And since flying can be so are some things we did that helped me to relax. We bought masks that will filter particles that small. We told the booking agent, the check-in crew and the flight attendants that we'd pull them out if we grew concerned about DD and that we'd all put them on in support of her.(Could you imagine what the other passengers would be thinking??? ) We also covered her chair with a queen sized sheet and washed the chair, window, and general area before sitting down. We were allowed to board early because of her condition. We also brought 6 epi-pens on board hoping that would buy her time in case they crew couldn't or wouldn't land immediately in an emergency.

[This message has been edited by LaurensMom (edited January 18, 2007).]

On Jan 18, 2007

I am in a similar situation - trying to book flights to Orlando in April. I just posted a question on the airlines board, but this thread has been very helpful. I also spoke with a rep from Continental who was very helpful. I don't think we'll be flying with them this trip, though. Thanks!

On Jan 19, 2007

Thanks everyone...I haven't made any decisions but your posts have been very informative!