By taking a few precautions, you can reduce your risk of a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) while flying.
Do Your Research
Before booking a flight, ask your health care professional about the risk of developing a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) once aboard an aircraft and about key precautions the health care professional recommends taking. Studies have shown that most severe, life-threatening allergic reactions caused by peanuts on flights resulted from the ingestion of peanut-containing meals or snacks. If you’re cleared for air travel, call your airline to report your allergies and find out about the foods and snacks being served. Before you leave, locate an allergist or hospital near your destination in case of a life-threatening allergic reaction while you’re away.
Bring Your Own Food
Rather than relying on airport food vendors or the airline, pack your own snacks for the trip, and bring extra in case you’re delayed. The Transportation Security Administration permits air travelers to carry food from home onto planes — just make sure it’s wrapped or in a container.
When you reach your gate, tell the airline staff about your allergy. While airlines can’t guarantee flights will be free of your trigger foods, they may ask passengers in your row, and in the rows around you, to refrain from eating them.
Clean Your Seat and Surrounding Area
If possible, board the plane early so you can have your seat and area around you cleaned to remove food residue. You may want to use a cover over your seat to help keep any allergens left behind from previous passengers from coming into direct contact with you.
In Case of a Life-Threatening Allergic Reaction (Anaphylaxis), Alert the Crew
If you begin to experience anaphylaxis, tell a member of the flight crew immediately.
Always Carry Your EpiPen® (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors
Pack your EpiPen 2-Pak in your carry-on bag. When you board the plane, keep it with you, not in the overhead bin — if you need it, you’ll want to be able to access it quickly.
For more helpful information about flying with allergies, visit the Food Allergy Research & Education website.
How Does Your Airline Handle Allergies?
Most major airlines have policies on handling food allergies. To learn more, contact the airline.
TSA Regulations for Medications
After your medication has been screened by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel, you can carry it on board with you. Make sure your medication is labeled to help with identification and it is helpful to have your name on it. You should request that your EpiPen Auto-Injectors be inspected visually rather than x-rayed since the effects of x-rays on epinephrine are unknown.
For more information about current guidelines, visit the TSA website.
It’s not necessary, but you may want to bring a note from your physician explaining that your EpiPen Auto-Injector contains a medication for anaphylaxis.