Flying with Food Allergies

Managing Allergies During Travel

About 12 million Americans suffer from food allergies, according to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN). The good news is that people with food allergies fly safely every day. If you or a loved one has a food allergy, use these FAAN tips to help reach your destination without incident.

Before You Fly
• Plan your trip well in advance so you can discuss the matter with an airline you find most responsive to your needs.

• While it may cost more, book your flight by phone, not online or through a travel agent. Because you will be requesting special accommodations, such as a peanut free zone, or food with no allergens, it is important you speak with someone and get the name and number of the reservations agent so you can reconfirm your request if necessary. Contacting the airline’s medical department, especially on international flights, is advisable.

• If possible, choose the first flight in the morning, because there will have been more time for crews to clean the aircraft.

• TSA allows you to bring epinephrine on board, but it is advisable to have a letter from your doctor, and the prescription label for the medicine on hand.

Once On Board the Aircraft
• Do not eat airline meals or snacks. Bring your own food and consider packing additional snacks in case a flight is delayed.

• Wipe down the seat and tray table to reduce the possibility of a contact reaction.

• Keep medications easily available; in the event of a reaction you need immediate access. Contents can shift in the overhead bin, making quick access to the medicine difficult.

Keep in mind that airline policies regarding accommodating individuals range from carrier to carrier, but no airline (or airport) can guarantee an allergen-free flight and no airline can control what food passengers bring on board.