Direct flights cross country severe food allergy?

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by tinker-belle, Mar 7, 2013.

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  1. tinker-belle

    tinker-belle Mouseketeer

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    Hi. We are planning a trip from northern Jersey to Disneyland next year, however our little one has a life threatening peanut allergy. We learned that southwest and jetblue are good with allergies...
    ...but we were also told to book the first flight of the day since it is just after the plane had been cleaned out.

    It doesn't seem that southwest has direct flights from Newark or JFK to California. They have stop overs (which means we may have to switch flights, which means he is no longer on the first flight of the day/which he would need to be)

    I'm also having a bit difficulty finding direct with Jetblue.

    Anyone with severe allergies have experience flying cross country? Thanks!
     
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  3. disfan07

    disfan07 DIS Veteran

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    We've done it a few times. I have a life threatening peanut, tre nut, egg and shlellfish allergy along with about 8 other allergies ranging in severity.

    Honestly, we've never had any problems. But we only fly with 3 airlines. Virgin America, JetBlue, and southwest.

    We usually book the first flight of the day when leaving but never when coming home. And when flying southwest (which is who we usually fy) it's never direct.

    For us, we preboard for medical reasons. That gives us time to wipe down my seat, the seat next to me(it's always the seat of someone I'm travelling with) and put blankets/sheets over the seat. I also wear a mask when fkying just in case (my allergists advice)

    Good luck with the flight. Im scared of flying anyway so this just adds another layer to that fear bt we have never had any problems and I have flown cross country about a dozen times sincei was diagnosed with life threatening allergies.
     
  4. lost*in*cyberspace

    lost*in*cyberspace DIS Veteran

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    You are confusing a direct flight with a non-stop flight. They are not the same thing. A direct flight does have stops; you may or may not change planes.

    Some airlines serve peanuts, some don't. You can check individual websites to make sure; keep in mind you can't control what other passengers bring on the plane.

    This issue has been discussed on the DIS boards many times; try a search, especially of the Transportation Board.
     
  5. Kellykins1218

    Kellykins1218 DIS Veteran

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    Very true. My son is disabled and has feeding issues. We always have peanut butter sandwiches for him when we fly because peanut butter is one of the few proteins he can eat without vomiting. We've never been on a peanut-free flight so we've never had an issue.
     
  6. jmartinez1895

    jmartinez1895 DIS Veteran

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    We have been on a flight once with a person who was allergic to peanuts. They preboarded with us and we ended up sitting behind them. The flight attendant made an announcement that one snacks would be served and to please not open any packages that contain peanut products. Near the end of the flight the person started to not feel well and put on a mask and took some oral medication. I noticed that they pulled out the epi pen and had it just in case. We found out that a person in the back of the plane gave a child a PB and J.
    Some people will be nice and understand, but there are others who do not understand how serious allergies can be. There will be some people, as posted above, that have a medical need for a peanut item and then sadly there are people who just don't care.
    No airline is going to be bale to promise you a 100% peanut free flight. If your allergy is life threatening then I would also consider driving ( I hate long drives so I understand what a pain that would be).
     
  7. chloelovesdisney

    chloelovesdisney DIS Veteran

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    It may not be that the family in the back didn't care, that may have been all they had brought to feed their child.
     
  8. scdak

    scdak DIS Veteran

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    I fly Delta often and if they have anyone on board that lists peanuts as an allergy a couple of things have happened, several times it was announced that a certain number of rows ahead of and behind the person would not be offered peanuts and it was requested that no one in the rows ate anything with peanuts, which I would like to think most people would abide by but that's not a guarantee, other times they made the announcement about not eating peanut products and they only offered pretzels or their cookies for the flight. However, I only take flights of short duration (less than 2 hours) so I am not sure how it works for a longer distance flight. I am not sure if Delta is an option for you but it gives you another opinion.
     
  9. maxiesmom

    maxiesmom The Mean Squinty Eye Works

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    The flight did serve snacks. And I'm sorry if they had only brought pb&j along for their child, but if so they shouldn't have fed it to them. Better their child go hungry than risk a passenger have a mid air emergency, and the plane be forced to land. They are fortunate it didn't come to that.
     
  10. Kellykins1218

    Kellykins1218 DIS Veteran

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    I disagree. Just because they served snacks doesn't mean that everyone could eat them. I'd never let my disabled child go hungry on a long flight.
     
  11. bandit90

    bandit90 Mouseketeer

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    I remember once on a Southwest flight that they announced that they wouldn't be serving snacks of any kind because there was a person with a severe allergy and everything's been processed in a place with peanuts and for people to please not open/eat anything with peanuts for safety reasons. I heard quite a few people grumbling because there's a store in Midway airport that apparently has good nuts, but otherwise everything went well.
     
  12. stitchlovestink

    stitchlovestink DIS Veteran

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    Taken from Southwest's website page Customers with Disabilities:

    Peanut Dust Allergies

    Because it is nearly impossible for persons who have an allergy to peanut dust to avoid triggering a reaction if peanut dust is in the air, Southwest Airlines is unable to guarantee a peanut-free or allergen-free flight. We have procedures in place to assist our Customers with severe allergies to peanut dust and will make every attempt not to serve packaged peanuts on the aircraft when our Customers alert us of their allergy to peanut dust.

    We ask Customers with peanut dust allergies making reservations over the phone to advise our Customer Representatives of the allergy at the time the reservation is made. If the reservation is made via a travel agent, the Customer should telephone 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792) afterward to speak with a Customer Representative. If the reservation is made via southwest.com, the Customer may advise us of the allergy on the "Southwest Airlines Payment and Passenger Information" screen by clicking on the link to "Add/Edit Disability Assistance Options."

    We suggest that Customers with peanut dust allergies book travel on early morning flights as our aircraft undergo a thorough cleaning only at the end of the day.

    We ask the Customer with the allergy (or someone speaking on the Customer's behalf) to check in at the departure gate one hour prior to departure and speak with the Customer Service Agent (CSA) regarding the Customer's allergy. Please allow enough time to park, check luggage and/or receive your boarding pass, and to pass through the security checkpoint. Our CSA will provide the Customer with a Peanut Dust Allergy Document and ask him/her to present the document to the Flight Attendant upon boarding. If the Customer has a connection, the CSA will provide the Customer with two documents, one of which should be retained to present to the Flight Attendant on the connecting flight.

    Our CSA will advise the Operations (Boarding) Agent so that service of packaged peanuts can be suspended for that flight. Our Operations Agent will notify the Provisioning and/or Ramp Supervisor to stock the aircraft with a sufficient supply of pretzels or alternate snacks. The Operations Agent will also notify the Flight Attendants of the Customer's final destination and advise them that we cannot serve packaged peanuts until the Customer deplanes.

    As some of our other snack items may contain peanut particles, peanut oil, or have been packaged in a peanut facility, Customers who have allergic reactions to eating/ingesting peanuts should read the ingredients on any packaged snack before consumption. Of course, all Customers are welcome to bring their own snacks with them.

    Southwest cannot prevent other Customers from bringing peanuts or products containing peanuts onboard our flights. In addition, Southwest cannot give assurances that remnants of peanuts and/or peanut dust/oil will not remain on the aircraft floor, seats, or tray tables from the flights earlier in the aircraft's routing.

    In addition, Southwest Airlines cannot guarantee that a flight will be free of other allergens such as perfumes, lotions, cleaning solutions, etc.



    Well, I believe this would be just like the cases of the flight attendants siding with the people who want to sit in a seat that someone else is trying to save... Written policy says people are free to bring whatever snacks onboard they want. SW cannot guarantee a TRUE peanut free environment. If it is truly that critical, it is probably best not to put 'yourself' (the person with the lifethreatening allergy) in this situation as they have advised you of the risk. If another passenger chooses to bring their own snack onboard and it has a 'contaminant', SW will not 'stop' them for consuming that product. We can debate who rights should trump whose until the cows come home. The rules say you cannot make them NOT not consume their peanut containing product and honestly if that is what is all I had and my blood sugar was very low...Sorry, I'm eating it...my health is important too. I have to take care of myself as well. What I don't understand is how do people with peanut allergies function in the everyday world? I don't mean this as an arguement. But, how do you know that the person ahead of you didn't have peanut dust peanut butter residue or their fingers when they touched that door handle or shopping cart, or whatever just prior to you? I seriously find it hard to believe that you can wash your hands in public that much?? Again not trying to argue, just understand....

    Agreed... It's hard, because at what point does one person's rights superceed another's? But in this case, SW has made it clear that if you brought it with you, you will be able to consume it. They just will NOT SERVE peanut products themselves.
     
  13. KPeveler

    KPeveler Moderator Moderator

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    Not eating is not always an option. Even if that person is not technically disabled, many medications must be taken with food and there are many medical conditions which require regular meals or snacks.

    In that circumstance you get into a debate of who needs it more, to which there is no correct answer.
     
  14. chloelovesdisney

    chloelovesdisney DIS Veteran

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    The snack selections are pretty limited and a pack of biscotti or sunchips isn't going to cut it for many kids (if they can even eat those, my child doesn't). If it's a jumper flight for an hour, no big deal, but if it's 3 hours during lunch time, I'm not going to have my child cry because he's hungry all that time. I promise you all the other passengers aboard don't want that either, it would be a huge tantrum. I do feel bad for the passengers traveling with severe allergies, but you really can't expect other people not to eat. I would alert the flight attendant I had to moved far away from them if that's all I had on me.
     
  15. disfan07

    disfan07 DIS Veteran

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    Personally, in my opinion, I believe that people should use enough common sense that peanuts/peanut butter shoud not be the main food thy depend on on the plane.

    And I don't buy the argument about protein/only food my kid/I will eat etc. I have somehow managed to fly without ever eating peanuts or nuts of any kind and I always ave protein based snacks with me. I feel like if I can manage to figure out what to eat that does not have: wheat, nuts, dairy, soy, eggs, broccoli, raw fruit, raw veggie, sesame, oats or coconut
    than people shoud be able to figure out non nut based snacks for however long the light is.

    But that's just my opinion and I'm tired of hearing "well peanut butter is the only thing......"

    And yes....I wash my hands THAT much. I don't eat a single thing without scrubbing my hands. I wipe down all carts at grocery stores. I wipe down as much as possible and I scrub my hands before they go near my mouth. Functioning everyday is actually not carefree....at least not for me. But I also have idiopathic anaphylaxis which means that I can go and have gone into anaphylaxis for no known reason. So I am extremely careful about my surroundings. I very rarely eat anything outside of my home because of the risk. It sucks but it is what it takes to be safe. Andi rarely eat anything that requires me to use my hands because I have reacted because of cross contamination in situations like that before. 95% of what I eat is eaten with utensils.

    So I do everything I can to protect myself while travelling but all I ask is or some compassion and understanding from fellow passengers. I didn't ask for these allergies, let alone the severity of them, and if airlines are willing to try and work with me, I would hoe my fellw passengers would be understanding of the situation. But I guess until you have felt like a fish on dry land and thought you were going to die while in anaphylactic shock it's hard for some people to understand.
     
  16. crashbb

    crashbb DIS Veteran

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    The problem is, if they don't announce "no peanuts" until the flight is boarded, it doesn't give anyone a chance to get safe food (if the food they brought isn't safe or they were counting on seating the snacks provided by the airline). Not everyone flies enough to think about what they bring on.

    Actually I fly a lot, and I've only once been on a flight where they made the announcement - and it was a big problem for me as it was a 5.5 hour flight and I had brought food with nuts, because of my own food issues (Celiac disease and allergy to milk proteins), it was difficult to find food that I could eat. Luckily, I was flying business class and had ordered a safe meal, so I was okay, but had I been flying economy, I would have had to eat my food with nuts in it. Had I been warned in the gate area, I would have been able to find safe food in the airport.

    So, it is very easy to say "Well, I have food allergies and I can find food", but presumably you knew about your allergies (and limitations) before getting on the plane. These other people didn't get any warning.
     
  17. Kellykins1218

    Kellykins1218 DIS Veteran

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    And you have every right to your opinion. I just happen to disagree. BTW nobody is asking you to "buy" anything. Facts are facts whether you want to believe them or not. My child will be eating peanut butter on our flight in 2 weeks because, yes, it is all I can bring for him. We would move to another part of the plane if needed but I'm not letting my child go hungry.
     
  18. tinker-belle

    tinker-belle Mouseketeer

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    Hi. Thanks for your replies. Before posting this, I did do lots of research & it seemed southwest & jetblue are the safest. Jetblue never serves peanuts and will create a barrier. Southwest usually serves peanuts, but if they know someone is with an allergy, they won't serve peanuts that flight & will make the announcement.
    I also read about getting the seat cover, pre-boarding, wiping down etc.

    And I read about getting the first flight of the day, but I'm confused about how southwest travels. I know they don't fly directly cross country. What I'm confused about is when they stop, is it just a stop with no one getting off the plane (it speaks about a half hour wait in Boston), or do people deplane and new people come on/do we switch planes to continue on the flight.... because if we switch plane, we are no longer on the first flight of the day/cleanest flight of the day.

    When we go to Florida, we've taken the auto train and gotten our own bedroom to stay 'separate' from the passengers that may be eating nuts. (we don't go into the dining car either). However, to get from the tri-state area all the way to California it's a bit more difficult.

    Thanks for all your responses!
     
  19. tinker-belle

    tinker-belle Mouseketeer

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    how do people with peanut allergies function in the everyday world? I don't mean this as an arguement. But, how do you know that the person ahead of you didn't have peanut dust peanut butter residue or their fingers when they touched that door handle or shopping cart, or whatever just prior to you? I seriously find it hard to believe that you can wash your hands in public that much?? Again not trying to argue, just understand....


    Hi. As a mom of a 4 year old who has life threatening allergies- it has been very difficult. We learned of his allergy when he almost died when he was 2 and a half. Since then just buy walking by an open bin of shelled peanuts in shoprite, he broke out in hives and started coughing violently- I got him out of the store & it subsided, but I haven't brought him back since.
    We have him registered in a private peanut free school.
    However, he's had some 'touch' reactions too-- in fact in disney. His face broke out in hives as well as his ear--- thankfully it ended there, but chances are he hugged a character that someone else did.
    We are teaching him not to touch his face after touching other things, but his life did change. He cannot go to his friends houses for playdates, he can't even go to most of our family's homes, or synagogue. We also have cases of baby wipes to help clean things off/him off ;)

    Yes, it is a scary world out there for those with life threatening allergies, it's only when I had him (my 3rd child), did I really understand what they mean by, 'it takes a village to raise a child,'.
     
  20. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    Southwest does a lot of stops. Passengers continuing on to the next destination will remain onboard. It all depends on whether you are taking a "direct" flight with stops, or multiple connecting flights. A direct flight with stops will begin at point A, travel through other airports to destination Z, but you remain on the same airplane (think of it like taking the train or bus). If the flight number remains the same along the route (say Boston to Newark to Chicago) then you will stay on the plane. If the flight number changes for each leg, you might have "connecting" flights which means leaving the first plane and boarding another airplane. I'm not 100% certain, so your best bet is to call the airline directly to confirm whether you can stay onboard or if the itinerary requires changing planes.

    Good luck and enjoy your vacation!
     
  21. lost*in*cyberspace

    lost*in*cyberspace DIS Veteran

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    A direct flight can have a plane change (no flight number change).
     
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