I have a severe allergy to strawberries and a spent three-hour flight in fear for my life because plane staff refused to stop serving food that could KILL me
- EXCLUSIVE: Chloe Fitzpatrick, 24, felt ‘discriminated’ against on a flight
- The passenger, who has a severe allergy, asked them not to serve certain items
- When cabin crew refused, she said she feared for her life on the two hour flight
A passenger with a life-threatening food allergy said she feared for her life aboard a flight, after claiming cabin crew refused to remove food and drink items which could have sent her into anaphylactic shock.
Chloe Fitzpatrick was travelling from Manchester to Ibiza on August 18, 2023 and said she had informed staff of her severe strawberry allergy, asking them not to serve any strawberry products on the flight.
The 24-year-old, who was travelling with her sister Lucy Fitzpatrick, said she felt ‘discriminated against’ when the cabin crew manager refused to remove any food and drink items from the flight.
Despite being seated underneath a ventilator, and wearing a mask Chloe said she spent the near-three hour journey strapped to her seat in fear.
Although having the life-threatening allergy since she was six months old, Chloe only informed staff members when she boarded the plane, claiming this method had previously been accepted.
Chloe Fitzpatrick (pictured) said she had informed staff of her severe strawberry allergy while boarding the plane from Manchester to Ibiza
After much delay, Chloe said she was eventually offered a mask by a staff member and was sat next to a vent, but claimed she was ‘petrified’ that the airline was still serving strawberry products
Speaking to MailOnline she said: ‘I couldn’t even go to the toilet which was a basic human right because how could I walk through an aisle with strawberry products?
‘Everybody around us was outraged at what was happening and couldn’t believe why they would serve the products.’
Chloe, who had been equipped with two EpiPens on the flight, said she believed the cabin crew manager was more concerned with ‘losing commission’ from selling food and drink items.
She said these items included rose wine, pink gin, strawberry daiquiris, Fruit Pastilles and Haribo sweets.
She explained that the flight was delayed for 45 minutes while the manager and pilot had a ‘degrading, embarrassing and discriminatory’ conversation regarding her suitability to fly.
The dance teacher from Lancashire said she was then assessed by an ‘extremely patronizing’ medic, who said she should undergo an allergy before evert flight.
Chloe, who travels up to three times a year, described this as a ‘waste of NHS resources’ and said it was ‘upsetting statement to make to someone who lives with a life long health condition.’
She was eventually permitted to board the flight, with the promise that an announcement would be made to passengers regarding her allergy, but claimed the crew were still serving strawberry items on board.
‘They had decided to not serve these products to people on the rows in close proximity to use not the whole flight.’ She added: ‘As you can imagine I was petrified.’
Lucy and Chloe Fitzpatrick (pictured) said they spent the majority of their four-night holiday with ‘anxiety’ hanging over them
Her sister Lucy said: ‘She deserves the right to go on a girls holiday, it’s a simple ask for a two hour flight to say ‘please don’t open these products.’
Lucy added that Chloe usually removes herself from situations which she doesn’t feel safe in, but in this scenario ‘couldn’t leave’ the flight.
The two said that while they understand the airline could not control what passengers brought onto the flight, they had a ‘duty of care’ to protect her.
The pair even offered to buy all the strawberry items on board to prevent Chloe from having an allergic reaction but said they were ‘ignored’ by the manager.
She added: ‘The only thing we could’ve done differently is notify them before the flight.
‘Nobody with an airborne allergy should step on the flight, because it’s just not safe.’
They said they were unable to enjoy their four-night holiday to the sunny Spanish Island and, while they attended their pre-booked events, said they spent ‘most of the time sat in the room crying.’
Chloe said she had to wait three weeks to hear back from the airline company, and said she was ‘hugely disappointed’ by the response.
‘Its not been taken seriously, it should’ve been escalated further. I just kept saying “What if I had died? what situation would this be right now?”
Chloe says she is now ‘massively anxious’ of stepping aboard another flight.
‘Its given me future anxiety and it’s going to take me a long time to get over it,’ she told MailOnline.
Chloe said she had to wait three weeks to hear back from the airline company, and said she was ‘hugely disappointed’ by the response
She says she actively avoids long-haul flights due to ‘unclear airline rules’ and the risk of a passenger bringing a strawberry item on board.
‘The airline is the only place you’re not safe with an airborne allergy,’ she added.
Since the encounter, the pair said they want to ‘raise awareness’ for people with airborne allergies, and said: ‘This is not just about Chloe’s experience.’
In response to the allegations, a spokesperson for the airline told MailOnline: ‘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.’
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