Woman fearing for life after Jet2 wouldn't stop selling daiquiris on flight despite strawberry allergy
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A woman was left fearing for her life after an airline refused to stop selling strawberry daiquiris on her flight, despite her severe strawberry allergy.
Fitzpatrick, who suffers from a severe airborne strawberry allergy, said she felt 'discriminated against' when the cabin crew manager refused to stop selling food and drink products on board that could have sent her into anaphylactic shock.
She said she informed staff about her allergy as she boarded – asking for rosé wine, strawberry daiquiris, fruit pastilles and Haribo sweets to not be sold - claiming the approach had been accepted previously by other airlines.
However, Jet2 say their terms and conditions state that a severe allergy should be made aware to the team at the time of booking and, in this instance, this did not happen.
Instead, cabin crew made an announcement to inform passengers of her allergy, asking them not to consume strawberry products on the plane, but Fitzpatrick says Jet2 continued to sell the items from the food trolley.
Fitzpatrick, from Read in Lancashire, said: "If I had a reaction, I'd go into anaphylactic shock and my airways would start closing and could die.
"I couldn't even go to the toilets on the flight because I could have been surrounded by strawberry products that could make me seriously ill or could have killed me.
"I was strapped to my seat. I know it was only two hours but it's a basic human right to be able to go to the toilet. I was thousands of feet off the ground surrounded by products that could potentially kill me.
"This was also extremely distressing and heartbreaking for my sister too who was terrified that I could go into anaphylactic shock, rendering me unconscious and could potentially die in front of her. She felt absolutely helpless.
"Every day is a calculated risk when you have an airborne allergy but it [the incident] just made me feel discriminated against.
"We said we would buy all the strawberry products on the flight when we knew they [Jet2] weren't going to cease the sales and they refused this.
"In places like clubs and bars, I can remove myself from the situation when strawberry products are around and I do this all the time.
"On an aircraft its regulated air so I can't move [away from strawberries]. It is a confined space and this is the only place we ask for them not to sell it."
Their flight out to Ibiza was delayed by 45 minutes while the manager and pilot had a conversation with Fitzpatrick about whether or not she was able to fly – with a medic telling her over the phone she should have an allergy test done before every flight.
Fitzpatrick, who was equipped with two EpiPens on the flight, was eventually given the all-clear to fly, claiming an allergy test would be a 'waste of NHS resources' as she goes on holiday four or five times a year.
She said she had previously flown with Jet2 and the service had been ‘brilliant’, but the outward flight left her unable to enjoy the holiday as she was worried about the journey home.
Fitzpatrick said her sister rang the airline to give three days’ notice about her allergy needs for their inbound flight back to Manchester on Tuesday 22 August, but claims Jet2 confirmed in a text message it was not willing to cease the sales of strawberry products on the plane.
The sisters say they were left with no choice but to fork out hundreds more to fly home with another airline, with Fitzpatrick continuing: "It cost us £500 to get an alternative flight home with Ryanair because Jet2 would not let us fly. They [Ryanair] were brilliant and didn't sell these products on the flight.
"If other airlines can do it, I don't see why a big company like Jet2 couldn't."
Fitzpatrick reached out to Jet2 when she got home, and had to wait two weeks for a response – which she was ultimately disappointed by, saying she hasn’t been offered an apology or any compensation.
"Jet2 has not given us any compensation and I wonder if anything would be different if I did go into anaphylactic shock,” she said.
"I have also no received any apology from Jet2 for anything. I like to believe that allergy sufferers have the right and are able to go on short flights.
"Other allergies are taken more seriously. There is not enough exposure to other airborne allergies. There are more than just nut airborne allergies. It is not something that I would make up.
"I will never fly with Jet2 ever again. Neither will my family or friends.”
In response to Chloe's incident, a spokesperson from Jet2 said they were sorry to hear about her experience and said all severe allergies should be reported to Jet2 at the time of booking.
A Jet2 spokesperson said: "Ms Fitzpatrick only alerted us to her allergies when she boarded the aircraft.
"In such situations, we are unable to remove products as we cannot ensure the complete removal of all items that may contain allergens.
"Additionally, it is possible that customers may bring onboard products that contain allergens.
"However, our highly trained crew did everything they could to look after Ms Fitzpatrick despite this.
"In our terms and conditions, we make it clear that anyone with a severe allergy should make our team aware of this at the time of booking, which unfortunately did not happen on this occasion.
"We also make it clear that if we are made aware of a severe allergy and the customer is not carrying their required medication, they may be refused travel.
"We are sorry to hear of Ms. Fitzpatrick’s experience, however we took the necessary steps to address the situation, given the lack of notice, and provided Ms. Fitzpatrick with the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding her safety before continuing on with the flight."