Love Island star says he nearly died on plane after being served food containing deathly allergen

Love Island star says he nearly died on plane after being served food containing deathly allergen

Love Island star Jack Fowler has revealed he was rushed to the hospital after experiencing a serious allergic reaction on a flight.

The reality TV star, 28, shared a video of himself using his EpiPen during an Emirates flight to Dubai. In his Instagram post, which was shared on June 17, Fowler explained that he suffered an allergic reaction after being served chicken curry containing cashew nuts, despite allegedly informing an Emirates flight attendant that he had a severe nut allergy.

“[I] can’t believe I’m having to post this. And I’m posting because people should be aware of the severity of how bad food allergies can be and the complete negligence from @emirates airline,” he began his caption. “I recently flew with Emirates Airline where I was given a cashew nut. I made my flight attendant aware of my nut allergy twice before being given a chicken curry. I wasn’t given a menu to choose from, instead I was asked directly if I wanted chicken or fish. I opted for the chicken.”

 (Instagram / Jack Fowler)
(Instagram / Jack Fowler)

Fowler, who appeared on season four of Love Island UK and was the winner of Love Island Games, claimed he told the flight attendant that he was “ severely allergic to all nuts” but was told that there were “no nuts in the chicken curry.”

“When I received the meal I asked the same flight attendant again to make sure, and again was told that it does not have nuts included. Trusting my flight attendant, I began to eat the chicken curry. Immediately my throat closed up and breathing became extremely difficult,” he wrote.

As Fowler told the flight attendant that he couldn’t breathe, his friend demanded to see the in-flight food menu and discovered that the chicken curry did indeed contain cashew nuts.

“This left me with the real possibility of dying on the plane, as I knew I needed emergency treatment immediately. I was given five tanks of oxygen, as well as administering my Adrenaline Pen (EpiPen). I told the flight supervisor, ‘If you don’t land this plane soon, I will die on this plane,’” Fowler recalled, which prompted the pilot to “speed up the journey.”

Once the Emirates plane landed, the reality star said he was rushed to the Dubai International Airport hospital where he received further treatment.

“What needs to happen for airlines to take food allergies seriously??” Fowler wrote, before directly calling out Emirates in his post. “I’m lucky to be able to have a platform to make as many people aware of your complete negligence. You are responsible for your passengers and their safety. Giving a passenger food which they’ve stated TWICE will cause extreme harm is unacceptable.”

He added: “I hope all airlines and cabin crew who come across this post take note. We board your flights and trust the cabin crew to aid us in a safe flight. Take more care.”

In addition to the lengthy caption, Fowler included a video of himself administering the EpiPen in his Instagram post. The Love Island star – dressed casually in a white T-shirt, blue sweatpants, and a white baseball cap – appeared red in the face as he shot the EpiPen needle into his leg.

Another photo showed him sitting in the plane seat with an oxygen mask strapped to his face, while a pulse oximeter attached to his finger tracked his levels. A fourth image saw Fowler sitting in the airport terminal after the flight landed in Dubai, as an emergency medical technician took his blood pressure. The semi-professional footballer also included a photo of himself lying in the hospital bed, as well as a close-up image of the “creamy chicken curry with cashew nuts” he was served on the plane.

An adrenaline pen, often referred to by the brand name EpiPen, is an auto-injectable device that delivers epinephrine – a life-saving medication used to treat severe allergic reactions, also known as anaphylaxis. According to the UNC School of Medicine, one must place the orange tip of the EpiPen – which contains the needle – against the middle of the outer thigh at an angle perpendicular to the thigh during an allergic reaction. Push the auto-injector firmly into the leg until it “clicks,” signaling that the injection has started. Then, hold it firmly in place for three seconds before removing the auto-injector from the thigh.

The Independent has contacted Emirates Airlines for comment.

This isn’t the first time Fowler has experienced a severe allergic reaction on a flight. In 2023, the Love Island star called out Qatar Airways after he was served ice cream containing nuts. Similarly, Fowler said his throat closed and he felt his tongue begin to swell “within seconds” of being served the food. According to his Instagram post, Fowler made repeated reminders to staff that he had a life-threatening allergy.

He also claimed 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.

“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,” Fowler wrote on Instagram. “To be given nuts TWICE is such a massive failure from Qatar Airways. Within seconds I couldn’t breathe 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.”

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.”