After planning, packing, and researching, navigating airports is the next step. Here are our PURE Travel Tips for the “during the trip” part that usually poses the most concern about food allergies.
1. Navigating Security
If you have ever traveled with packed food before, chances are that you have been stopped for a bag search during security. Here are some tips that have helped us avoid being flagged (not guaranteed, but definitely help).
If you are having your bag checked, ask the officer to change their gloves since they usually have searched through other bags beforehand.
Ice packs are usually an issue unless they are completely frozen, so keep this in mind.
Plastic silverware and aluminum foil have occasionally become an issue. We recommend keeping everything that could be flagged towards the top of your bag or in a separate pouch so that all of your safe foods do not have to be unpacked.
2. Purchase safe, packaged snacks in the airport beforehand or pack your own snacks for the plane.
We recommend only eating packed, safe food and familiar snacks before traveling in the air.
Packing safe snacks or purchasing safe snacks beforehand is a great way to know what you’ll be eating will be safe. We usually try to eat mostly in the airport as opposed to on the flight, unless it is an extra long flight. Additionally, prepared food from airport restaurants or the plane’s kitchen are things we usually keep clear from. Eating out is tricky regardless, but you don’t want to run into any issues before flying. In-air reactions are very scary. You can approach this according to your comfort levels with eating out, however, we feel that navigating dining out contributes to the stress from traveling.
We always stock up on safe foods and have one zipper grocery bag with everything inside. It helps us keep organized in the car as well as know we’ll have safe products to eat throughout the trip.
3. Pre-Boarding to Wipe Down Seats:
Once you get to your gate at the airport you can request to pre-board the flight so you can wipe down your area beforehand. Some airlines have an option to select when you first purchase the tickets online too. Pre-boarding helps alleviate the stress of rushing onto a plane and not having enough time to wash things down safely before others board. We always find it very reassuring to know that the space is clean before flying. Since traveling can be stressful, it is important to remember key actions like this that will make it easier.
4. Talk to flight attendants about allergies, check the snacks being served on the plane, have them make an announcement so nobody eats peanuts/nuts on plane (if applicable to your allergies).
Most airlines are very flexible about not serving nuts on a flight as well as making announcements and buffer zones so nobody eats them on the plane during the flight. It is always good to double check the snack options for the flight and request that the airline doesn't serve nuts. This is a great thing to mention when you first board the flight. The front flight attendant is the first person you see on a plane, so they are the perfect person to mention it to. They also can personally notify the passengers in-front of and behind my seats that someone nearby has severe allergies to x. This is their way of being more direct with notifying people of the severity of allergies and especially on an airplane. Overall, communication is key and speaking up about your needs and requests will help to keep you safe.
Although there is a lot to manage and think about during airport travel, once you get in the routine of knowing how to be prepared, then you will gain more confidence. Using your allergy smart sense and being very organized well before you travel makes it easier. Then you will be on your way for a fun adventure!
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