SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – A Utah woman says her Delta flight crew saved her life when she had a severe allergic reaction to shellfish. Crab cakes were the in-flight meal of the day and just the smell nearly killed Linda Chapman.
Chapman has dealt with her allergy for 15 years and says she’s had many close calls, but never on a plane. She is a technology consultant for Microsoft and said, “I’ve flown for seven years every week and I’ve never been on a plane where they served seafood.”
She didn’t think too much of it when she packed her EpiPen in her checked luggage.
Then, the flight crew served crab cakes. “I had a reaction to crab and I went into a shock right away, my throat swells shut and my tongue swells up, I’ve had it many times and I know what to but it was so bad and so fast that I really couldn’t communicate to the crew very well and I just stopped breathing.”
The next thirty minutes were a blur of faces as Chapman struggled to stay conscious.
“I remember waking up to an oxygen mask and there was a doctor, or soon to be doctor I later found out, and I remember the Delta crew all standing there going through their flip chart communicating with the pilot, following procedure and the concern on everyone’s faces.”
Chapman said, “Had they not reacted very quickly and very seriously, I would have died.”
The doctor on board who helped Chapman takes his boards next week, and she says she plans on giving them a call to report on the job well done.
The Federal Aviation Administration requires planes to carry epinephrine and oxygen in their first aid kits. Beyond that, there’s no regulation for how airlines are required to handle food allergies. In most cases, airlines will accommodate people who notify the flight staff before-hand and will even wipe down the seat before boarding.