Having food allergies is already tricky enough, and things get even harder when you are flying. You don’t have many menu options, and a lot of them can end up containing stuff you can’t eat. If your allergies are very severe, you might even risk problems from being on a plane with certain foods. Follow these tips to make sure you stay safe when you are flying with a food allergy.
Be Prepared for Any Emergencies
The very first thing you need to do when you are flying with an allergy is think about worst case scenarios. It isn’t fun, but it means you are more likely to stay safe in case you do encounter an allergen. Start by packing any allergy medication you might need. Put it in a bag you will have with you at all times instead of sticking it in checked luggage. Write up an emergency care plan that you can give to medical staff in case something happens. If your reactions are very severe, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet with more information.
Though it isn’t always necessary, a doctor’s note about your prescriptions can be useful. Documentation helps you smooth things over if security has any questions. If you have liquids that are bigger than 3.4 ounces, remember that you can bring them with you since they are medically exempt from normal rules. Just inform the TSA agent about your medications before getting your luggage scanned.
Know Which Airlines Are Best for Traveling On
When it comes to flying with allergies, the airline you pick makes a big difference. Each airline has different policies for how they handle customers who have allergies. Some let you schedule buffer rows and provide certain meals while others may serve nuts on board or have other problematic behavior.Here are the basic allergy policies for all the major United States airlines.
Here are the basic allergy policies for all the major United States airlines.
- Alaska Airlines: This airline does serve nuts and does not offer special allergen free meals.
- American Airlines: This airline does serve nuts and does not offer buffer rows. However, they do provide special meals.
- Delta: This airline does not serve nuts, and it does provide buffer rows and allergen free meals.
- Frontier: Frontier does not specify any of their allergen policies on their website.
- Hawaiian Airlines: This airline does serve nuts and does not offer special allergen free meals.
- JetBlue: This airline does not serve nuts, and it does provide buffer rows and allergen free meals.
- Southwest: This airline does not serve nuts or offer special allergen r ree meals.
- Spirit Airlines: This airline does serve nuts and does not offer special allergen free meals.
- United Airlines: This Airline does serve nuts and does not offer buffer rows. However, they do provide special meals.
As you can see, Delta and JetBlue provide the most accommodations for those with allergies. Though they do not keep all passengers from bringing nuts on board, you do not have to worry about them passing out nuts to all the people.
Talk to the Airline When You Book the Flight
Make sure you alert the airline before you go to the airport. You can call their customer service line to talk about your allergy. You can request a buffer zone or ask that flight attendants wipe down your seat before the flight. Calling in advance gives them time to prepare allergen free meals or snacks too.
Pack Safe Snacks
Sometimes when you travel, you just don’t want to deal with allergies. Bringing some safe snacks lets you eat when you don’t want the hassle of hunting down allergen-free food. Good options for the airplane can include:
If you are going to be in an area without reliable food sources for a while, you might want to bring some heartier non-perishable foods like canned goods, protein bars, or instant noodles. Make sure you have enough allergen-free food to get you through a few meals if necessary.
See Which Restaurants Are in the Airport
To cut back on hassle, take the time to research before you go to the airport. Look up all the restaurants in the airport and view their online menus. Most of the major chains that provide food in airport terminals will have allergen information you can check.
Know How to Discuss Allergies in Foreign Languages
If your flight is an international one in a place with a foreign language, it adds a whole new level of difficulty. Check out a phrase book and learn how to state that you are allergic to certain items in any language you will encounter. If you are worried about pronunciation, you can prepare little flash cards that say what your allergies are in the other language. Some airports have translating services for tourists, so they may be able to help you out with discussing allergies.