Kiwi fruit [allergy, advising BA]

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Old Jun 12, 19, 5:05 am
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Kiwi fruit [allergy, advising BA]

I am allergic to kiwi. Symptoms start with tingling then stinging in back of throat, then closing of airways, etc.

What is the proper way to inform BA of this allergy? I'll be in either first or business class.

I've rarely (once in 10 years) been affected by it, but the last time I flew BA was on a family vacation years ago (2013-ish) in coach. My sister had a terrible experience with her seafood allergy.
She requested a vegetarian meal and received pasta with red sauce, something she commonly eats.
She proceeded to have an allergic reaction. This probably meant utensil cross-contamination with seafood had occurred during meal packaging. I believe it was an aluminum tray foil wrapped.
The BA flight attendant was uncaring and said something like "you are probably allergic to tomato sauce" which she isn't.

I remember that meal like it was yesterday. I had ordered the same veg meal. (Although I'm not vegetarian, it seemed those days that vegetarian meals were higher quality. But not this time...) The pasta was scorching hot. I had to spit it out immediately to keep it from burning my mouth. On second bite, the pasta tasted like mush and I nearly had a gag reflex. Then several minutes later my sister took off her sweater, which is her symptom #1 proceeding tachycardia of her allergic reaction.

I'm SO grateful that my only food allergy is something not typical, like Kiwi. Being allergic to wheat or seafood seems so much more of a pain.

I've developed chemical allergies to propylene glycol (in car anti-freeze but also shampoos, lotions, some hand sanitizer) and formaldehyde (so I can't read 4 paper newspapers a day like I used to, or drink beer from Vietnam
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Old Jun 12, 19, 5:53 am
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I presume you carry an epi-pen?

What I would do is get a note added to your PNR by calling BA, and then mention it again to the Customer Service Manager or Director on boarding. And let the crew know where your epi-pen is.

Kiwi fruit does appear in breakfast items, there is a fruit component and a few slices of kiwi fruit can end up there. They arrive on the aircraft in containers with lids to them. I don't think anyone can guarantee that cross-contamination is never going to happen. On the other hand kiwi fruit is relatively expensive commercially, compared to other fruits, so things like kiwi coulis don't reguarly feature on BA's menus. By all means ask to see Chef's Chat to see the allergens there (I don't think kiwi is going to be specifically listed, however), available in the galley on boarding, and hopefully that will provide reassurance.
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Old Jun 12, 19, 7:32 am
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My wife is allergic to kiwi fruit (along with 21 other foods). She now brings her own food as it's not practical or reasonable for the airline to provide her with a meal. To take complete control you can pick some food to go from the caviar house. They will do a nice salad and smoked salmon to take on the flight. We've found that's the crew in CW and F will plate it up for her
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Old Jun 12, 19, 7:49 am
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Good luck - BA isn't very good at providing specific accommodation for certain allergies that don't yet have special meals catered. I've been lucky so that I've always had one of the normal meals without the specific allergens I suffer the most from - but Kiwi isn't one of those allergens they list. BA also doesn't guarantee anything is free from cross-contamination.

That aside, crews have always been very helpful, but the system is not great at all.

The only airline which I have flown that has a modern and adequate system is JAL where they have meals that are free of the 27 most serious/common allergens. This is a great system I wish other airlines adopted.
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Old Jun 12, 19, 7:50 am
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Ah someone with common sense. Being a particularly fussy eater I always take my own food on board and I only travel in F or J if no First on aircraft! This is down to me and nothing to do with BA!
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Old Jun 12, 19, 9:49 am
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I'm very sympathetic to this, my mother was allergic to kiwis and there were some moments when she went off due to possible cross contamination. I had to be especially careful on flights. I often wonder if certain food combinations can trigger the same reaction.
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Old Jun 12, 19, 9:59 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
I presume you carry an epi-pen?.
I don't. It only happened once in 10 years... I should get a script for this vacation trip.

Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
What I would do is get a note added to your PNR by calling BA, and then mention it again to the Customer Service Manager or Director on boarding.
OK.

Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
On the other hand kiwi fruit is relatively expensive commercially, compared to other fruits, so things like kiwi coulis don't regularly feature on BA's menus..
You are the second person to mention kiwi as a possible coulis ingredient to me.

Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
By all means ask to see Chef's Chat to see the allergens there (I don't think kiwi is going to be specifically listed, however), available in the galley on boarding, and hopefully that will provide reassurance.
OK. I found this when googling what Chef's Chat could look like:
Chefs Chat
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Old Jun 12, 19, 10:02 am
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Originally Posted by DelTroon View Post
Ah someone with common sense. Being a particularly fussy eater I always take my own food on board and I only travel in F or J if no First on aircraft! This is down to me and nothing to do with BA!
I am curious - what are your favorites to bring on board?
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Old Jun 12, 19, 10:09 am
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Originally Posted by MareLuce View Post
I don't. It only happened once in 10 years... I should get a script for this vacation trip.
If your symptoms go as far as closing your airway then that needs a discussion between you and your medical practitioner about sensible precautions. If you are 6 miles up across the Atlantic in a thin tube flying at 500 mph, the options are limited.
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Old Jun 12, 19, 10:10 am
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Originally Posted by F1flyer View Post
My wife is allergic to kiwi fruit (along with 21 other foods).
Could I ask - does the 21 foods include avocados or bananas? My Dr. said allergies to kiwis are rare in the US, more common in Europe, and are frequently accompanied by allergies to avocados, bananas, and latex, which don't bother me at all.

I should ask my dr if it's possible to have a test that positively confirms a kiwi allergy.
I know I definitely had 1 reaction eons ago after eating only kiwi when in Boston, and I've avoided it since.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 12:03 am
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Originally Posted by MareLuce View Post
Could I ask - does the 21 foods include avocados or bananas? My Dr. said allergies to kiwis are rare in the US, more common in Europe, and are frequently accompanied by allergies to avocados, bananas, and latex, which don't bother me at all.

I should ask my dr if it's possible to have a test that positively confirms a kiwi allergy.
I know I definitely had 1 reaction eons ago after eating only kiwi when in Boston, and I've avoided it since.
Yes, avocado, banana, strawberry are also on the list. Latex, in general, isn't an issue for her.

Your Dr will be able to perform a controlled skin pick test that will identify any food that you're allergic to. You bring the suspected foods to test.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 12:19 am
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A couple of other points:
  • My wife will often cook up a meal (chicken, veggies, rice or similar) and freeze it the night before we travel. Take it out when we're leaving the house and it is ready to eat shortly after takeoff.
  • She will take tins of fish, cracker-bread, salad and nuts to get her through.
  • In Europe, some of the airside shops that sell fresh food will provide an insulated bag + cool block. This is very useful.
  • You have to be careful taking tins of fish through security. She's been pulled up a few times because of the liquid content in the tins, This is getting more common.
  • She carries 2 epi-pens and other medication. She also carries a letter from her Dr explaining the need for the medication.
She manages her food challenges extremely well day-to-day but travel is a real pain. We travel to Australia a couple of times a year so that is 30 hours door-to-door that she has to cater for herself. Kiwi was what started all of this off. We were being 'healthy' about 6 years ago and getting into the nutri-bullet morning routine. Unfortunately 2 kiwi fruit put her in the back of an ambulance. The 21 foods + kiwi give her an anaphylactic response. No previous allergies and she had just turned 40!
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