Travel · Trip Reports

Flying The Allergy Skies

Ever sat on an airplane and as they announced drink and snack service, they added at the end that peanuts wouldn’t be served, because there was someone on the flight with a severe allergy? Did you ever roll your eyes just a bit and sigh? Before we had our youngest son, I was probably there with you.


I have had a severe control issue with flying since his allergies became noted when he was a baby. The thought of being in a sealed tube, with dirty seats and the near constant chance of peanut and tree nuts being around is overwhelming. But with a trip to the East Coast this past week, I had to learn to deal with my fears.

Pick an airline that does care. And will actually help you. There is a reason Delta is highly rated for this. Certain airlines will tell you up front that maybe air travel isn’t for you. Delta will at least try.

Always smother people with politeness – please and thank you go far.

Make sure you call and note with the airline the allergies after you book. Once you get there, come up front to the desk, and ask if it is noted. You should get priority boarding.

Always, always be responsible and have your meds with you. It is the person’s issue to have them. For us, this means single use bottles of Benadryl and Epi-Pens & a cleaning kit.

If you can pull it off, send your bags through (we thankfully don’t pay for this when flying Delta). It means your hands are free, and you can move faster – and more so, you have less touching others stuff.

Be in line for priority boarding, and use your time wisely. You don’t get much time either – but you do miss the crowds. Carry unscented baby wipes, preferably Huggies (they are thick and well made), and a grocery bag for garbage. Wipe down the entire seat with one wipe, the arms with another, and keep going. I wipe down his seat and mine, and the wall if he is against the window. Tell the child to not touch the seat pockets. Scrub the tray, front and back. Then relax.

Smother your seat mates with kindness. Say hi, and ask them pleading that your child has allergies. It’s hard for a good person to be an ass. And if they are an ass, well, then you show them you have a steel spine 😉

Now then, something I have learned. If you are skin allergic (which he is), wear long pants and a long shirt. He was wearing a short sleeve shirt on the way back, and as we got off our plane from Atlanta, he must have rubbed a seat or armrest with his arm – he had been fine before, and within minutes he was aggressively itching. We had a very short layover and when we got to the next flight, I checked him out. I had to give him Benadryl and that stopped it. But it also meant he was falling asleep with 20 to 30 minutes, so be wary with little ones.

We found with Delta, the attendants were nice to us – and on one flight, a longer one, they did not sell the bag of energy mix chews that were full of nuts. A lady had asked the flight attendant if she could buy it (after meal service time, and had gone to the back to ask). The attendant came up to our row, and specifically asked me what the child’s level of allergies were – and if it was OK with me if they sold it. That was amazing service. Since the lady was 10 rows up, and Alistaire doesn’t have an air allergy (it is touch), I was fine with it.

And I say…good luck. Because it never gets easy. Just maybe easier to deal with.

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