We were on a Jet Blue flight from Orlando to Rhode Island. Our family was returning from a vacation and we had 2 nut allergic children in our party, my niece and my daughter. My husband and my sister both spoke to the Jet Blue attendant and informed him that we were traveling with two children with nut allergies and that they need to clean & wipe the area down. He allowed us to pre board after he double checked with the crew. When we got on board the flight crew seemed surprised we were there as they were still readying the cabin.
They allowed us to stay and we proceeded to wipe down the seat tray, arm rests but did not wipe the seat itself (as it was cloth).
About 25 minutes into the flight, my daughter was rubbing her eyes continually & acting strangely (I cannot think of a more accurate description). I asked her what was wrong. When she looked up at me her eye became alarmingly swollen and she looked like ET. I turned to my husband and said “I think she’s having an allergic reaction”. I ran to get the crew to let them know my daughter was having a reaction. I asked if they had Benadryl or an Epi-pen, no one seemed alarmed. At this point I had no idea why this was happening. Meanwhile I gave her Benadryl but as her symptoms worsened her face and neck swelled, and she said her throat felt funny so we gave her the epi-pen. She seemed stable after we gave her the epinephrine.
My friend who was sitting in the row behind her then spoke up and said, ” I saw a pistachio under her seat.” My sister also saw reminisce of something that looked like pistachio dust and crumbs on the ground. The flight attendant was notified and picked it up. I believe someone in her row must have been eating nuts on the flight before us. As noted before, I did not wipe down the actual seat and I suspect that was where she was exposed. It all made sense! She is highly allergic to pistachios.
I then went to the crew and asked if they could make an announcement for passengers not to eat nuts. They refused and were unsympathetic to the cascade of events taking place. They definitely did not give what was happening serious attention as they did not think it was necessary.
At that point they asked if there were any doctors on board. The crew then refused to let the doctors have access to the medical kit, as they determined they did not have proper id. My husband is an ex-police officer and he has never seen a situation where medical attention was warranted and physicians are told to stand down. Why did the crew do this? I do not understand. They even made it difficult for me to get ice for her eye. Sending me from one end of the plane to the other. Offering me zero assistance other than water to drink.
I have never felt so helpless. The flight attendant continued to make light of the situation, making jokes about nuts. No one offered to land the plane. I asked for an ambulance to meet us when we landed and one of the crew members repeatedly questioned my decision saying are you sure you want that she seems fine now. They tried to play down the events the whole way through although something changed during the last 20 minutes of the flight. They seemed to panic and allowed the doctors only then access to the med kit and a stethoscope to listen to her heart. I also noticed they were telling the passengers around us that there was a girl on board who had a reaction to nuts. I assume they were telling them not to eat any nuts, but I’m not sure.
Picture this my 8 year old daughter for the duration of the flight upset and scared telling me not to let her die on a plane, she didn’t want to die and the flight attendants making light of this situation. I’m wondering in my head why they aren’t landing this plane. Why didn’t I speak up? They were totally ignorant and negligent.
Right before we landed the pilot made an announcement that there was a medical emergency on board, so when we land there will be Medics, ambulance and lots of emergency trucks and lights, please don’t panic and stay in your seats. They are here to help the passenger leave the flight. When they came on board as we were leaving the crew member pulled me back & said, you better make sure they’re not charging you for this. Are you sure you want to do this?
When we finally got to the hospital the doctors were shocked they did not immediately land the plane and said we were lucky she was alive.
Unfortunately she rebounded last night and we had to call the ambulance and she got another dose of epinephrine and steroids.
I don’t think I can ever fly again until safe polices are put in place and flight crews are educated about the seriousness of life threatening reaction.