Flying Internationally with a PA son

Posted on: Sat, 03/16/2013 - 3:26pm
andy8922's picture
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Joined: 03/16/2013 - 22:10

We are planning on going to visit family in South Africa in the fall. I am worried about the plane ride for my 3 yr old son who has a peanut and tree nut allergy. We would be flying from Cleveland, OH to Washington DC, then from DC to Johannesburg on South African Airways with a stop over in Dakar in Senegal ( we don't have to get off the plane at this stop). I am terrified to travel with him for so long and with the possibilities of delays with all the stops. What if he has a reaction on the plane? What if I run out of food for him? I'm thinking about not bringing him with. Has anyone had any experiences like this? What would you recommend?
Thank You

Posted on: Tue, 03/19/2013 - 11:45am
CanEatOreos's picture
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Joined: 07/20/2012 - 08:11

The very first flight we took after my son's P/TN allergy diagnosis, I insisted my husband clean the seat. Right away, he found a peanut. I still love that peanut. It was the first time I felt like I had any control. And now my husband now will put up with all my preventive measures. Plan for the worst but don't forget to enjoy the journey.

Posted on: Thu, 03/21/2013 - 1:47am
CHNAMA's picture
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Joined: 06/04/2012 - 17:21

First of all contact the airline and talk to them about their peanut policy. Do they carry peanuts on board? Will they change that for the flight you are on? Will they make announcements to the rows in front and in back of you and ask people not to eat any peanut products they have brought on board? Can you have early boarding so you can inspect and clean the area before your son gets on board. We flew to China in December on Delta Airlines and the flight crew was fantastic. I know the feeling. I left my older daughter behind when I went to adopt her younger sister in China because I was so afraid of what might happen. Since then she has been on more airplane trips than I can remember and she has been on two trips to China and has done very well on both the flights and the travel. I don't know about languages in South Africa, when we travel in China, we have cards we carry that tell she has a severe peanut allergy written in Chinese. Before each meal we give it to the servers at the restaurant. I hope this helps a little.

Posted on: Thu, 03/21/2013 - 2:12am
mamameetcha's picture
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Joined: 03/21/2013 - 08:47

My son has severe peanut and treenut allergies (both touch sensitive). The farthest I've taken him so far is Boston-California a few times. My advice to you is to be "that crazy mom". The squeaky wheel gets the oil.
1. Call the airline ahead of time and have them make a note to alert the crew of a "very severe" nut allergy. Ask if they can clear your flight of nuts. 2.Arrive at least 30 minutes before your flight and pull the flight attendants aside. Explain that your child has multiple nut allergies, not just peanut. You will need at least two rows in front and behind you cleared of nuts. 3. Pre-board the flight to wipe down your seats and the surrounding seats/floor. 4. When the surrounding rows board, lean over and ask everyone to refrain from eating nuts. Explain that your child is hyper sensitive (even if he is not). They will feel awkward and understand. 5. Obviously bring benadryl/epi-pens and try to fly early in the morning after the plane has been cleaned.
The advice above about bringing a card with a translated nut warning is brilliant. I'll keep that one in my back pocket for sure. Good luck and have a blast! Everything will be OK if you are proactive :)

Posted on: Thu, 03/21/2013 - 10:44am
kelly mc's picture
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Joined: 03/21/2013 - 17:36

My son also has severe peanut allergy and reacts when he touches peanut residue. I agree with the above comments. Call the airline, ask to preboard and wipe everything! I pack baggies of wipes. One set of baggies has clorox wipes which I use on the seat, arm rest, seat belt, tray table and back of the seat that the tray table touches. The other set has hand wipes, which he uses before he eats anything on the plane. Bring a second set for the flight home:) After he had a reaction on a plane, we took an additional step. We now bring a bed sheet which we drape over his entire seat. It moves around and is a pain, but everything is covered then! The sheet folds up flat so it fits in his carry on back pack. Good luck and safe travels:)

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