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long haul flight with multiple allergies

26 replies

snapper · 09/04/2002 07:49

Has anyone been on a flight to Australia with a child that has multiple allergies including all nuts, egg, diary, sesame?????
If so, ant suggestions?!
I will be travelling on my own with my 3 year old and am slightly apprehensive about the food issue, as we have about 35 hours travel time to get through.

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tufty · 09/04/2002 11:28

Have you contacted the British Allergy Foundation? I believe that they have some excellent advice/ info for such a situation. I also believe that you can oreder special food for the flight so long as the airline has enough warning. Haven't actually done it with my kids but hope it helps anyway.
Safe trip ...

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JJ · 09/04/2002 19:15

Snapper, not that far or with that many allergies, but we've been to and from the US many times with a little boy who is allergic to peanuts and dairy.

Here are my tips:
--if at all possible, fly with an airline that doesn't serve nuts as snacks. We only fly BA because they don't serve peanuts at all. It's ok if they can't guarantee the entire plane will be nut-free; they don't have control about what the other passengers will bring.
--tell them your dietary requirements and get the allergen-free meals for both of you, so that you can give him everything he'll eat and hoard the rest
--take your own food (maybe bagels? whatever you child likes to eat that's packable)
--eat right before you get on the plane
--take ALL of your EpiPens (get another prescription if you haven't got more than 3)
--also take: Piriton, an inhaler (even if he doesn't have asthma, an inhaler will help some reactions, especially if something bad gets airborne) and a steroid (prednisone or whatever they give him at the hospital here after a reaction). If he has a reaction, give him the EpiPen, the Piriton and the steriod.. if you have any questions about that and your GP seems unsure, just call the casualty unit and ask what they do. (The steroid will take a while to work, but you'll be in the air for a while, even if something bad happens.)

That's about it. The one thing we don't do is dope him up with an antihistamine before the plane. The good thing about a histamine reaction is that it's so visible, you can treat it fairly easily (at worst, with epinephrine until the antihistamine takes effect) and you'll see it even if there's just skin contact, so you'll know there's something there to avoid and remove.

I always plan for the worst and expect the best. It'll be fine, but it's reassuring to me, at least, to be prepared in case of emergency.

Good luck. Don't panic, you'll be fine. Now keeping him entertained for that long is another story....

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bloss · 10/04/2002 03:53

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robinw · 13/04/2002 06:18

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robinw · 20/10/2002 09:12

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SoupDragon · 20/10/2002 09:20

I would have thought the GPs letter was sufficient. The signs at airports seem to say that syringes etc needed for medical conditions were fine provided you declared them at check in and wherever your hand luggage is searched. Is it the "no sharp objects in hand luggage" what you're worried about?

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robinw · 20/10/2002 16:10

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SoupDragon · 20/10/2002 18:47

Having just travelled to Florida with a 3 1/2 yr old and a 1 1/2 yr old, I took a multitude of snacks etc and they didn't really want to eat anything! It was an 8+ hour flight. And Virgin don't serve nuts, they serve pretzels!

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JJ · 20/10/2002 19:38

Robin, the GPs letter should be sufficient. We went back over the summer and it was enough-- be sure to write on it everything you have (eg how many EpiPens and inhalers). The most important part is to tell every single person at every single checkpoint and at the check-in counter that you are carrying them. I only had to show the letter once and that was because I asked him if he wanted to see it.

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robinw · 21/10/2002 07:17

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Philippat · 21/10/2002 10:23

Not much good for the way there, I know, but you can buy inhalers in US drugstores without a prescription for the way back!

I have a friend in California who has a nut allegy son - she doesn't have much trouble but basically avoids all cupcakes/chocolate type things. He's a dreadful eater in restaurants anyway so pretty much only eats fries when out! Of course the big thing to avoid is PB&J sandwiches which all americans give their kids. Certainly on the west coast, the idea of nut allegy is well recognised, can't speak for other areas.

BTW, I'm sure you have already checked this but don't assume Virgin flights are ALWAYS nut free - Continental vary between nuts and pretzels depending on requests.

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robinw · 21/10/2002 19:37

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robinw · 21/10/2002 19:38

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SoupDragon · 21/10/2002 21:05

Robinw - whereabouts in the US are you flying to? On the planes Virgin use on the Gatwick/Miami route, I recommend asking for seat row 22-ish (I think) as they are in a small compartment of just 3 rows right behind Upper Class.

Someone once said that being rich meant never turning right when you get on a plane (ie 1st class is always left). Well, these seats are left as you get on and it's the closest we're likely to get to flying 1st class!

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Alibubbles · 21/10/2002 21:44

I have to say we have flown transatlantic at least 16 times in the last four years and it never occurred to us to declare DD's epipen!

Infact they all had their hand luggage searched on a school trip to US, teacher had her tweezers confiscated but no comment was passed about DD's epipen.

I think that as we have been carrying it for so long we forget we have it. I know DD went off to France this week and I just assume she has taken one with her. ( I know she has, but I don't check) all her friends are very good about checking things for her as well. An exchange has done her vocab a lot of good, explaining it in french, and it hasn't been a problem with the host family either.

It does get easier, I assure you and yes you do stop worrying as time goes by.

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jasper · 22/10/2002 02:25

Did you hear that thing on the news today about a woman who got £13,000 compensation from Virgin as she was seriously squashed by a very fat lady sitting next to her on an 11 hour flight?
What an awful experience, but how embarrassing too for the fat lady.

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robinw · 22/10/2002 07:45

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Alibubbles · 22/10/2002 08:20

robinw. I am so sorry to hear that it is affecting your child's friendships, thats sad. I know how you must be feeling as I had a little girl to play once and the mum said , you know she is diabetic, and I said, is that a problem? The mum said I was the first person to have her back and have her for tea.

I suppose as a childminder I just take these things in my stride, I see the child first not the special need or disability. I'm used to all sorts of allergies, ailments diet problems etc.

My daughter educated her friends and they are more fanatical about it than her about checking things. They have always told their parents, and I often find when I talk to people and casually mention it, they say Oh my DD has already told us and checked what we are having for tea etc!

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SoupDragon · 22/10/2002 10:13

Robinw, we reserved seats too and then asked for bulkhead seats when we checked in - you can't reserve these. In fact, we alsways reserve seats and I don't think we've ever actually used them!

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GillW · 22/10/2002 11:10

Soupdragon - who do you fly with? We've never NOT been able to reserve bulkhead seats if we're travelling with a baby.

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SoupDragon · 22/10/2002 11:21

We flew Virgin - the bulkheads are reserved for passengers wanting a Skycot. DS2 at 18 months old, was too old to book a sky cot and therefore reserve bulkhead seats.

We've booked bulkhead seats when booking a skycot but you can't do it without.

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janh · 22/10/2002 11:37

jasper, yes, I saw that - the news report I heard mentioned that on US airlines, if a passenger is too large for a single seat they make them pay for two - even more embarrassing! (But then there are millions of seriously obese people in the US so they must be used to it.)

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GillW · 22/10/2002 12:05

Hi Soupdragon - at the moment we mostly seem to fly BA (courtesy of free airmiles/exec club flights), and DS isn't too old yet for their bulkhead seats as they have a toddler seat (a bit like a car seat) which you can use until they're 2 years old. Once he's older than that and we have to pay for a seat for him anyway, it probably won't be quite so important.

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robinw · 22/10/2002 19:27

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SoupDragon · 25/10/2002 14:42

Well, this time we checked in the night before with Virgin's Twilight Check-in service! We only live about 30 minutes from Gatwick so we all popped down there the night before, checked in (no queues) and had tea there. Turned up the next morning, 50 minutes before departure, had breakfast and went straight to the gate. Perfect!

Even if you've reserved seats, you do still have to check in early unfortunately. If the flight's full, they may well allocate your reserved seats to someone else. Having said that, our flight this year was only about 2/3 full.

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