Heidi did not always need her EpiPen but she has always had allergies of one kind or another. Traveling with her when she was little was much easier as she was content with her bottle / sippy cup. Now she is older though she is more aware that she is missing out on something when the flight attendants come through with the food trolley.
Having the EpiPen added an extra layer to our preparations, the lady I spoke to at Qantas help desk recommended having a letter on hand from our doctor stating that Heidi had allergies and required the EpiPen, just in case there were any questions at airport security. So we did that and had the letter in Heidi’s EpiPen bag all ready to be pulled out. Thankfully it was not needed. I also made sure to have the EpiPen tucked into the seat pocket infront of me during flight, ready to be grabbed in an instant if necessary. Thankfully it was not needed either.
From Qantas Website:
Because of the wide variety of possible allergens to which a customer may be sensitive, and the fact that other Qantas customers may bring allergens with them, Qantas cannot guarantee an allergy free environment onboard or in our lounges. For this reason, we recommend that you carry any allergy medication you may need with you, including adrenalin auto injectors, in the cabin of the aircraft, keep them within easy reach and be ready to administer the medication if necessary. See the Inflight Assistance page for more information about food allergies and the Qantas Peanut Policy.
We always fly Qantas because every experience I’ve had on their competitor airlines has been unpleasant and stressful, whilst with Qantas we have a much more enjoyable travel experience. When we have flown at meal times I’ve been able to request a fruit platter for Heidi which she really enjoys, loves her fresh fruit does my Heidi girl. This time round our flight was between meals and we were not able to put in special requests, both ways the ‘refreshments’ were not Heidi friendly.
On the flight up we had:
Some divine shortbread biscuits from Luken and May, containing Macadamia nut. A equally lovely Plum Streusel which I had thought would be Heidi friendly but it contained almond meal. A very delicious Granny Smith apple which I really enjoyed but Heidi would not touch because it was Green not Pink.
The flight home was the same Luken and May short bread, another granny smith apple and an almond cake.
I would seem that Qantas Peanut Policy does not extend to the use of other nuts. So the only nut free choices were the apples, at least they had something, although it did make me wonder how those with more sensitive contact / airborn allergies would fare. Maybe they don’t go on plane flights.
In point form here are a few tips we’ve picked up over the last 5 years about going on plane flights and working around Heidi’s varying food allergies.
- Flying between meals is actually easier for short trips, even though you are not able to put in any special food requests.
- If you are flying at meal times you can request special meals on Qantas flights, I didn’t see any nut free options listed but the fruit platter has met our needs in the past – it is also dairy free, wheat free, soy free, seafood free and egg free which are all allergies that I’m most grateful Heidi has grown out of.
- Make sure to have eaten before boarding – I usually go the easy route of getting to the airport a little early and grabbing a Hungry Jacks kids meal for Heidi. That ensures a full tummy and no hunger complaints mid flight.
- I packed a bottle of water and some Heidi friendly snacks – a small bag of Cheerios, some lollies to suck on during take off and landing, Mum even very generously made some sandwiches for the flight home. While it is rare we need them during the flight I find having them on hand is reassuring, they usually get eaten on the drive from the airport to home.
As with so many aspects of parenting, being prepared makes for happy times, in this case a happy uneventful flight.
I’m building up a series of posts about travel with special needs:
We Play – On The Plane