Airlines + Food Allergies = Stress?

Posted 6.4.08 | Sarah O'Brien

Let’s face it. Traveling with children at anytime can be a little stressful. The planning, packing and pricing is hard! Add a child with allergies, and even the coolest, most collected supermom can get a little stressed.

Of course, stories like this one don’t help:

“Tehmina Haque did take the necessary precautions before taking a flight from New York to Los Angeles with her 4-year-old son who is allergic to peanuts. For months, she was assured peanuts would not be served on the American Airlines flight, but on the day of, the flight attendants changed their mind and served the peanuts anyway. Tehmina is now suing the airline company.”

For the full story, click here.

I know this is a frustrating and scary article for food allergy parents. Even Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee on Children and Families, deals with these food allergy issues. His daughter has a peanut allergy, and he recently spoke at a hearing to examine the impact of food allergies on children and families, and said:

“(W)e fly a lot, obviously, going back and forth to Connecticut a lot, and without naming any particular airlines, the difficulty sometimes of getting them to understand that peanuts — calling ahead of time, stopping at the gate before you get in, getting on the plane, invariably the flight attendants have not been told by anybody, so they then look at you with annoyance.”

But there are steps you can take to make airline travel easier with your allergy prone little one. Check out for a checklist to prepare for flight travel. I really like the idea of taking an early morning flight because the flights are cleaned overnight, removing much of the allergens from the day before.

And for all you medical food/formula parents out there -- With all of the strict rules about carrying liquids onto planes, here are a few extra tips regarding bringing formula like Neocate on a plane:

  • You can still carry baby formula (and breast milk) in carry-on baggage, as long as you’re traveling with a baby or toddler;
  • Security officers will not taste the formula;
  • Juice and all other liquids are prohibited;

Overall, bring only as much formula as you need to get your little one to your final destination. Pack the rest (in powder form) in your checked luggage. This should help minimize the stress!


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About Us

Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.