Flying with allergies

Flying with allergies

  • 02 August 2023
  • News

You’ve booked your flights and the countdown is on for your summer holiday. If you have serious allergies, you may be feeling anxious about the flight, however, the good news is that there are things you can do to prepare for these journeys.

Take a look at some of top tips below to stay safe and confident while travelling.

Before you go

  1. Research the policies – If you haven’t booked your flight yet now is the perfect time to look at the different airline allergy policies. If you’ve already chosen your airline then it is still a very good idea to look at their policy. It’s also a chance to check that the airline you’re dealing with is actually the one operating the flight as some are franchised out to different airlines. For any special arrangements you secure, make sure you get this in writing. We’ve listed some airline policies here.
  2. Pick a time – if you haven’t already, choosing a particular time of day may lower your chances of coming into contact with contaminated surfaces. As aeroplanes are usually cleaned overnight, a morning flight may be a better option, particularly if you have a nut allergy. If you have a milk or egg allergy, a flight outside of breakfast hours may be more suitable.
  3. Book your seats –If you are travelling with young children or caring for someone with an allergy then it’s important that you sit together to help them manage this.
  4. Concerns – discuss any worries you have with your airline directly or your GP.

DON’T FORGET – organise your travel insurance. Failure to declare your allergy could mean a claim is rejected so it’s very important to make sure this is covered.

Flight day

  1. Your medication should be on you at all times so make sure you have them in your hand luggage, as well as your allergy action plan and emergency contact numbers. Wearing medical identification such as a medical alert bracelet can also help. In some cases, you may be asked for documentation for the medicine you are travelling with. All brands of adrenaline auto-injector (AAI) have Travel Certificates available on their website. More information here.
  2. Leave early for the airport so you have plenty of time to check any special arrangements you have made.
  3. When you get to your seat, use wet wipes to wipe down all surfaces.
  4. Inform those you are travelling with of your allergies or, if you are travelling alone, let a flight attendant know.
  5. Avoid using airline pillows or blankets as they are often not cleaned between flights, just rewrapped.
  6. Don’t take any unnecessary risks, for example eating food or snacks that your are not 100% sure are safe.

If you do have a reaction, use your AAI as soon as symptoms start and inform the flight crew immediately. If possible, go to an area of the plane to lie down, but avoid unnecessary physical activity.