My friend has a severe nut allergy and brings multiple epipens aboard flights. This is apparently the safest thing to ensure the proper treatment of a potential allergic reaction, especially in the case a plane cannot land immediately. Should airlines not carry epipens on them? This seems like a worthwhile investment to protect them from liabilities at the least.

  • 2
    Bottled water isn't magic, it's just common water put in a bottle. Likewise, an epipen is just normal syringe/vial medicine put in an an autoinjector. The (rather overpriced) benefits of an epipen - greater ease of injection by a solitary person who is struggling - are wasted on an airflight where you have trained FAs and most likely, a phlebotomist on board. Mar 21, 2019 at 15:13
  • Are all epipens equal? A 'one epipen suits every allergy sufferers' kind of medication?
    – Willeke
    Mar 23, 2019 at 10:43
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    You highlight the liability of not carrying one, but what about the liability of carrying one and it being used incorrectly or inappropriately? You seem to be under the misapprehension that onboard staff have extensive medical training to be able to diagnose and treat allergic reactions such as this - they do not. Randomly administering drugs is not exactly the best thing to do, even in a life and death situation.
    – user29788
    Apr 2, 2019 at 20:31

3 Answers 3


Medical kits in the US contain doses of Epinephrine, though they aren't required to be in autoinjectors as far as I know (one Canadian airline stopped flying Epipens but continues to bring the drug in vial form). The airlines can exceed that standard in their kits.

There'd still be plenty of reason for your friend to carry their own, as it would be immediately accessible and wouldn't require relying on airline staff and/or someone volunteering to provide medical assistance to provide one.


Carry your own, the process of opening the doctor medical kit onboard airplanes involves showing a proper medical doctor ID to the crew.

There are flights where none of the passengers is a doctor. Do not rely on luck.

  • Would this be true even if someone is dying?
    – JonathanReez
    Apr 3, 2019 at 0:14
  • @JonathanReez the final decision is the captain's. But who would know someone is dying if no doctor onboard to decide so. Apr 3, 2019 at 0:21
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    @JonathanReez at the end of the day, someone can be dying from a variety of reasons, many of which look like an allergic reaction to a random passer-by - administering adrenaline however can worsen a lot of those conditions rather than improving them. Having a random person grab a medical kit and start to inject its contents is a huge issue and should be avoided at all cost - so yes, it should be true even if someone is dying.
    – user29788
    Apr 3, 2019 at 2:15

They generally carry epinephrine, but it is a very large dose designed for cardiac arrest rather than for allergic reactions and it is not an auto injector. So it can potentially be dangerous for allergic reactions

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