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How to travel with food allergies: Flying rules and precautions

Simon Calder’s Travel

A family with a daughter who has a severe allergy to peanuts was ordered off a flight to Turkey after they tried to ask passengers not to eat nuts on the four-hour trip.

Georgie Palmer, her husband Nick and their daughters were on a SunExpress flight from London Gatwick to Dalaman. Their 12-year-old, Rosie, has an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts, meaning she could die if she comes into contact with them. They asked the crew to make an announcement requesting passengers not to eat peanuts. This request was turned down, so instead the parents did their best to alert passengers in the plane.

A SunExpress spokesperson said: “Due to the insistent behaviour of the passenger to others on board that they should not consume nuts, the captain decided it would be safest if the family did not travel on our flight.”

The family say they spent £5,000 on new flights the following day with easyJet, and a night’s stay in a hotel.

In 2016, 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died from anaphylaxis in a hospital in France after suffering an allergic reaction on a British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Nice. She had eaten a baguette brought from Pret à Manger at the airport that contained sesame seeds.

These are the key questions and answers about flying with a food allergy.

What is a food allergy?

Some people’s immune system reacts to certain types of food as a threat. In most cases, the reaction is distressing but mild. But in severe cases an allergy can cause anaphylaxis – which the NHS calls “a life-threatening allergic reaction that happens very quickly”. The throat and tongue can swell to such an extent that they stop breathing.

According to the NHS, the most common allergic foods include milk, eggs, wheat and shellfish. But nuts and legumes are the most common sources of allergic reaction. They include: peanuts, cashews, pistachios, brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, soybeans, peas and chickpeas. Celery, mustard and sesame seeds are also potentially harmful.

The most effective emergency treatment is an injection of adrenaline. Many people with allergies carry adrenaline auto injectors, often known by the brand name EpiPen. The user injects a dose of the hormone into the thigh. For some people, a second dose may be required.

What are the international rules on flying and food allergies?

There no specific legislation for…

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