Love Island star Jack Fowler has revealed he had an extreme allergic reaction after being served ice cream containing nuts on a flight.
He said his throat closed and he felt his tongue begin to swell “within seconds” of being served the food, despite repeated reminders to staff that he had a life-threatening allergy.
The 27-year-old, who appeared on the ITV2 show in 2018, said he felt “extremely lucky” to have immediately noticed something was wrong with the vanilla ice cream, which he spat out before discovering it had crushed pistachio nuts in it.
The former reality TV contestant, who said he was left struggling to breathe, said it was the second time during his flight with Qatar Airways that he had been served nuts, having been offered pastries with nuts after boarding the plane.
He wrote on Instagram: “I told Qatar Airways hostesses five times I was anaphylactic to nuts (life-threatening allergy). As well as asking for reassurance when every meal was served to me, that it was nut-free.
“To be given nuts TWICE is such a massive failure from Qatar Airways. Within seconds I couldn’t breath properly after eating the crushed pistachio nuts beneath my vanilla ice cream.
“My throat closed and my tongue felt like it was swelling. I was told the vanilla ice cream was my safest option. It wasn’t. Qatar Airways you have failed in so many ways. I’m extremely lucky. The next person might not be.”
In the post, Fowler warned all airlines that more needed to be done to protect those with severe allergies.
He said that the pilot had contacted different countries to divert him to for treatment, but it was not necessary because Fowler had reacted so quickly.
“But I cannot begin to tell you how scary that was. I told you five times I’m allergic. You gave me nuts twice. I could’ve died. The next person might not be so lucky. Absolute shambles,” he wrote.
The ice cream incident came one hour after Fowler had written on Instagram about what he thought was a lucky escape avoiding nuts on a pastry that he was served.
He wrote on his Story: “I told my airhost at the beginning of the flight that I am anaphylactic to all nuts (extremely allergic to nuts). He made a note and assured me it wouldn’t be a problem.
“After selecting my meals, I was later served pastries with nuts on it. Thankfully I spotted them and didn’t eat it. And when notifying my hostess about it, he was extremely sorry.
“But this is the kind of situation could’ve gone soooo bad. Me eating a nut in the air despite me even taking an EpiPen, would have caused me to have a serious shock and quite possibly die.
“We would have had to divert and land in order for me to get treated in time. Moral of this story is: if you’re a flight attendant reading this, make sure you have a system that works and prevents this type of thing from happening.”
In the post, he also encouraged allergy-sufferers to speak up and not to “feel like you are being a nuisance” for having a dietary requirement.
Fellow Love Island stars Montana Brown, Ellie Brown, Wes Nelson and Kaz Crossley all shared messages of support and relief that he had survived the incident.
Musician Tom Zanetti said: “That’s insane. Glad u knew what u was u doing and glad ur ok pal.”
A spokesperson for Qatar Airways said: “Passenger health and safety is of paramount importance to Qatar Airways and we require all passengers with severe food allergies to notify the airline no less than 48 hours in advance of flying with a completed medical information form (MEDIF) as instructed on our website.
“The airline will work with the passenger to reduce the risk of contamination but as flights are public, an allergen-free environment is not guaranteed.
“We are aware of an issue concerning a passenger who had a reaction to nuts on board and are investigating the incident.”
Additional reporting by Press Association