Travelling with food allergies
1. Before booking your flight, read the airline’s allergy policy. Many airlines post their policy on their website, though it may be difficult to find the exact website page.
2. For individuals with peanut/nut allergy, try to choose an airline that does not serve complimentary peanut/nut snacks with the beverage service. This will greatly decrease the risk of exposure to peanuts/nuts during the flight. What is more, never ask an airline to guarantee you a ‘peanut-free or nut free flight’ flight. No airline will ever give you such a guarantee.
3. When booking, notify the reservation agent of your food allergy, and ask if your information can be forwarded to the flight crew. For passengers with peanut/nut allergy, ask if a lower-risk snack can be served during the flight (e.g. pretzels instead of packaged peanut/nut snacks).
4. For security purposes, keep your adrenaline in its original packaging and have your emergency plan with your medication. It is also recommended that you have your adrenaline prescription, and a travel plan or letter from your doctor confirming your food allergy and indicating you need to carry your medication and food/drinks with you. Otherwise, you can download a Travel Plan, developed by The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology, and get your doctor to sign it. What is more, always wear medical identification (e.g. MedicAlert) indicating your allergies.
5. If possible, ask the gate agent to let you pre-board the plane in order to inspect/clean your seating area. Wipe down the seat to help prevent contact reactions or inadvertent skin contact with food particles or spills. Eating food off a contaminated surface area could lead to accidental ingestion of allergens through contamination.
6. Never eat airline food; pack your own food. However, you may want to check with the airline to see if there are any restrictions as to which types of food you are allowed to bring on board or to your destination.
7. Always keep your adrenaline with you; do not store in the overhead bin. Let others you’re traveling with know about your allergies so they know what to do in case of emergency on the flight and where your auto-injector is.
8. Consider informing passengers sitting in your area about your food allergy. Keep in mind, however, that the airline will probably not make an announcement to the other passengers, and that passengers can eat food they have brought onto the aircraft.
9. Always be courteous and polite with the flight crew. They are there to help you and we need to help educate them without making unrealistic or unnecessary demands.
10. Never take a risk, especially when in the air away from access to medical help; this is not the time or place at 35,000 feet.
Worldwide availability of Auto-injectors
Australia – Anapen and EpiPen – available from pharmacies
Canada – EpiPen and Twinject – available on prescription only
Chile – Adreject (EpiPen) – available on prescription only
European Union – Anapen, EpiPen (AKA Fastjekt) and Jext – available on prescription only and not all brands may be available in all countries within the union
Hong Kong – EpiPen is imported when prescribed by specialist or at Queen Mary Hospital as a paying patient
Israel – EpiPen – available on prescription only and will be ordered in by the pharmacy
Japan – EpiPen – available on prescription only from specialist or main hospital
Spain - Altellus (EpiPen) and Jext – available from pharmacies
United Kingdom – Anapen, EpiPen and Jext – available on prescription only
USA – Adrenaclick, EpiPen and Twinject – available on prescription only
A more detailed review of the availability of adrenaline auto-injectors overseas is in the member’s section here