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Flying with Food Allergies

by Danielle Peles

Imagine the thrill of embarking on a new adventure, the anticipation of exploring a new culture, or the joy of reuniting with friends and family at your destination. However, for individuals with food allergies, the prospect of air travel can introduce a layer of anxiety and concern. The confined space, limited food options, and unfamiliar surroundings can make flying with food allergies a daunting experience.

Fortunately, with careful planning and advocacy, individuals with food allergies can relax and feel safe throughout their travel experience. One strategy people with food allergies can use is preparing safe foods to bring with them on flights. Often, in-flight dining meals are not individually packaged. Even if one food item in the meal is deemed safe, it could be right next to an unsafe food. Additionally, foods pre-prepared for in-flight dining could have had cross-contact with an allergen in the kitchen. On top of this, on a flight, you can only sometimes access every ingredient used when making the meals. A potential allergic reaction with limited or no access to medical care in the air is not worth any of these risks.

It is also important when boarding an airplane to advocate for yourself and inform the air hostesses of your allergen. If the people around you are aware of your situation, you are better equipped in case of an emergency. The air hostesses will sometimes agree to not serve any menu item that contains an allergen or make an announcement to create a “buffer” zone in order to keep people with allergies safer. Additionally, you might be able to pre-board an airplane to be able to wipe down your seating area. This helps prevent an allergic reaction in case the person who had been sitting in the seat before had eaten something containing your allergen. Having a plan in mind is crucial to keep yourself safe and healthy, especially when on an airplane with limited medical care.

Preparing a plan and speaking up for yourself is important because people around you are often willing and want to help. With the proper preparationpeople with food allergies can travel safely and stress-free.

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