Congress Approves Legislation Requiring Epinephrine Auto-Injectors in Airline Emergency Medical Kits


Law allows for introduction of nasal and sublingual epinephrine once they become available.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is celebrating Congressional action that could lead to safer skies for travelers with potentially life-threatening allergies. The U.S. House and Senate passed legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration that includes a requirement that emergency medical kits (EMKs) on airplanes be equipped to treat anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction that progresses rapidly.

“This legislation represents a tremendous step forward for people with food allergies traveling on commercial airplanes,” said Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of AAFA. “Ready access to easy-to-use epinephrine can save lives. The requirements established in this bill will help ensure that this first-line treatment for anaphylaxis is available for use on all commercial flights.”

“Sen. Tammy Duckworth’s tenacious leadership on the EMK issue made this possible, and we thank her for seeing the legislation across the finish line,” Mendez added. 

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The legislation includes anaphylaxis among the conditions that EMKs on commercial planes must be equipped to treat. Additionally, the reauthorization calls for a review of the contents of these medical kits at least every five years. AAFA has consistently called on the FAA and Congress to act to ensure easy-to-use epinephrine is available on commercial airplanes.  

AAFA’s work on this issue dates back to 2018 and includes briefing House and Senate staff on the importance of updating EMKs, including key committee leadership. AAFA also connected people with food allergies with their Members of Congress to ensure patient voices were heard. In 2023, more than 300 AAFA advocates contacted Congress urging action on this issue.

“We’re grateful that lawmakers heard the voices of people with food allergies and included language that will ensure EMKs are updated as new treatments emerge,” said Jenna Riemenschneider, Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy at AAFA. “Today, that would mean including auto-injectors. But in the future, it could include other treatments such as nasal spray or under-the-tongue epinephrine. This is a significant change from the current standard and has the potential to make a difference in how serious allergic reactions on flights are treated.”

AAFA met with key stakeholders to amplify the importance of updating EMKs, including the Federal Aviation Administration, the Flight Attendants Association, Aerospace Medical Association, and Airlines for America.

Alexa Jordan, an advocate for updating EMKs with easy-to-use epinephrine, was a college student when she experienced anaphylaxis on a flight. The experience led her to work with AAFA to push Congress and the FAA to make changes.  

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“I remember thinking to myself, ‘I will never let this happen to anyone again,'” said Jordan. “I called Senator Duckworth’s office the day after my mid-flight reaction because I knew this was an obvious bipartisan piece of legislation we could all agree on. We want to keep all 20 million of us with food allergies safe on flights, and I think Section 368 (the portion of the FAA reauthorization that addresses EMKs) is an impactful first step. AAFA reached out early to me in my advocacy, and their team has been such a support to the Senator’s efforts.” 

Jordan launched a petition asking for EMK updates that received more than 200,000 signatures and her persistent advocacy ultimately paid off.  

“What I learned in this process is that our elected officials do listen to us when we are brave enough to raise our voices. It is easy to become discouraged by the length of time it takes to get bills passed, but this should not discourage us from writing letters to our representatives, organizing lobbying trips to the Capitol, or talking to our friends about change we know is needed.” 

The legislation’s passage coincides with Food Allergy Awareness Week (May 12-18) and the 40th anniversary of National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.  

Throughout the month of May, AAFA is raising awareness of the impact of conditions such as food allergies and highlighting education and advocacy activities.  

For more information, including a full calendar of events, fact sheets, infographics and more:     


About AAFA 
Founded in 1953, AAFA is the oldest and largest non-profit patient organization dedicated to saving lives and reducing the burden of disease for people with asthma, allergies, and related conditions through research, education, advocacy, and support. AAFA offers extensive support for individuals and families affected by asthma and allergic diseases, such as food allergies and atopic dermatitis (eczema). Through its online patient support communities, network of regional chapters, and collaborations with community-based groups, AAFA empowers patients and their families by providing practical, evidence-based information and community programs and services. AAFA is the only asthma and allergy patient advocacy group that is certified to meet the standards of excellence set by the National Health Council. For more information, visit: 

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