A JET2 passenger has spoken out after the airline’s staff allegedly refused to stop serving food and drink containing an ingredient she is deathly allergic to.
Chloe Fitzpatrick was flying from Manchester to Ibiza last month and duly informed staff of her airborne allergy to strawberries – an ingredient which could cause her to go into anaphylactic shock.
Despite being common procedure to ensure staff have time to dispose of any products containing the ingredient, Chloe claims that the cabin crew manager was immediately “unhappy” about doing so.
The 23-year-old alleges that the manager was instead concerned about the “loss of commission” from being unable to serve drinks like rose wine and pink gin.
She claims that the staff ignored her pleas after a “degrading” 45-minute deliberation, instead choosing to continue serving the products and making Chloe wear a face mask and sit near a filtered vent.
Chloe alleges that after initially being asked to leave the aircraft so that staff could discuss whether she was “suitable to fly”, she was seen by an “extremely patronising” medic.
The medic – who Chloe claims was not a doctor nor an allergy specialist – allegedly told her that she should undergo tests before every flight to check whether she even still had the allergy.
It was then that Chloe says she was let back on the flight with a promise that her allergy would be announced over the speaker system.
However, upon finding their seats and taking off, Chloe claims it was clear that they had not removed any products with strawberries in them.
Instead, the cabin crew were allegedly only serving them to people not “in close proximity” to Chloe.
This left the holiday-maker “petrified” as she says she was left “thousands of feet off the ground surrounded by products that could potentially kill [her]”.
Taking to social media last week, Chloe shared the full story of her heartbreaking experience.
She wrote: “I am still in utter shock and disbelief following my recent experience on a Jet2 flight on Friday 18 Aug 2023. I flew out to Ibiza on Flight LS1731 departing 16:05.
“As most of you know, I have a severe allergy. Prior to making a booking and then at the check-in desk I have always been told to notify the onboard crew when boarding the aircraft.
“When it was time to board the aircraft the check-in staff scanned our boarding passes and we were allowed to board the plane with special assistance.
“This was to allow time for the crew to remove any strawberry products from the inflight food service.
“As soon as the cabin crew manager was notified, she instantly seemed unhappy about removing the strawberry products.
“The list of strawberry products consisted of rose wine, pink gin, strawberry daiquiris, Fruit Pastilles and Haribo sweets.
“I believe, because this was a Friday night flight to Ibiza, she was concerned more about the potential loss of commission from not being able to sell the alcoholic products than my welfare.
“We were then asked to exit the aircraft whilst the manager and the pilot discussed whether I was suitable to fly. This was so degrading, embarrassing and discriminatory against me.
“I understand that they cannot guarantee a strawberry-free flight as they have no control over what passengers bring on board.
“But the airline does have a duty of care to minimise the risk by stopping serving the products they have onboard and to make an in-flight announcement to ensure passengers who may have brought these products on themselves are aware of my allergy.
“I know I take a risk flying and in fact even leaving the safety of my own home is an informed risk I take every single day in order to live as normal a life as possible.
“I always have my two EpiPens with me to keep myself as safe as possible and to use in case of an emergency.
“I usually feel confident flying as all airlines usually assist with minimising the risk. I am still struggling to believe that on this particular flight to Ibiza Jet2 refused to do this.
“Eventually, the crew agreed to let me fly and explained that this would be at my own risk.
“They would make an announcement about my strawberry allergy, sit me near a filtered vent and give me a mask to wear.
“The flight eventually took off and an announcement was made about my allergy.
“But then it became clear that they had not removed the strawberry products from the inflight service.
“They had decided to only not serve these products to people on the rows in close proximity to us, not the whole of the flight.
“As you can imagine I was petrified. 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. In day-to-day life, I have the ability to physically remove myself from potential risk when strawberry products are in the vicinity.
“On an aircraft with recycled air, I cannot do this.
“The cabin crew did not make the conditions of the flight clear; had we known strawberry products were still going to be sold we would not have boarded the plane.
“The decision made by the crew put my life at risk.
“The decision to still serve those products was and remains dangerous, disgraceful, discriminatory and shows a lack of awareness with regards to life threatening allergies.
The post received over 900 likes, more than 800 shares and dozens of comments as many were left disgusted by Jet2’s alleged handling of the situation.
Maddie Knight wrote: “That’s so upsetting and dangerous. I hope you’re feeling okay now.
“The airline should consider themselves lucky that you didn’t have a serious reaction as it would have been 100% their fault.”
Kate Conboy said: “Utterly unforgivable treatment by a company who should know better.”
Sheila Elliot commented: “Glad you’re okay, Chloe. That’s so, so disgraceful.”
Breanna Alice added: “As if your life isn’t hard enough already as it is. What an absolute disgrace – I am so, so sorry that you and your family have had this awful experience.
Rachel Wilcock wrote: “So sorry that you had to experience this, Chloe. You would think after Natasha [Ednan-Laperouse] passed away on a flight, airlines would be doing all they can to do the right thing.
“Accepting that you can’t control what people bring onto a flight (a fear you live with every time you step out the door) the airline most certainly has a duty of care to keep you safe on that flight by controlling what they stock.
“The more I think about this, the more enraged I am. Sending you lots of love, sweetheart.”
Writing in conclusion to her situation, Chloe revealed that Jet2 had further confirmed via text that they were unwilling to stop selling strawberry products onboard her return flight.
She went on to add that she no longer felt safe on a Jet2 airplane, leaving her and her sister to book a flight home through Ryanair instead – who she said she was “so grateful” to, for following guidelines.
She added: “As per industry guidelines Ryanair ceased the sale of their in-flight products containing strawberries and made two announcements outlining to other passengers the risk of opening any strawberry based products on board.
“I believe this is an embarrassing reflection on Jet2 as a company.
“My recent experience has made me feel extremely anxious about flying with other airlines in case this happens again. It has affected my confidence and I am really afraid of any future air travel.”
Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, died in 2016 after suffering an anaphylactic shock to sesame seeds in a Pret a Manger baguette she had bought at Heathrow before catching a flight.
Her death led to the introduction of Natasha’s Law – put in place to protect people with food allergies who rely on the transparency of ingredients and food labelling for prepacked foods.
Jet2 has been approached for comment.