Last week Swiss Air announced that they were set to become the world’s first allergy friendly airline. To confidently make that announcement, they did it after they’d received the quality seal of approval from the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF).
Many news stories and social media have proclaimed Swiss Air Allergy Free but that’s not what they’ve proclaimed, nor, in my opinion should we ever be calling anything allergy free. Since so many people have so many differing allergies from food to environmental, what’s one man’s allergy free is definitely not another’s. So let’s call Swiss Air Allergy Friendly, or in their words, “Allergy-minded”. What does that actually mean?
To get that quality seal of approval from ECARF, Swiss Air addressed many different allergy concerns in both the cabin and their lounges. These include:
- Air quality filtering to address pets and pollens
- No respiratory tract irritating air freshening substances
- Upholstery to minimize allergic concerns
- Lactose free and gluten free in-flight options
- Special diet options for pre-ordered meals
- Hypo-allergenic soap in the washrooms
- Staff trained for allergy responses
- Histamine tablets available on board
While no airline can guarantee a no-risk flight, Swiss Air has certainly thought of many ways to reduce the risk for many different travellers. And we can only hope that where they’ve gone, North American airlines will follow. Can you imagine all of the flight attendants being completely versed in your food allergy concerns rather than the indifference/disbelief that many of us encounter now?
Swiss Air has raised the bar and it’s time for other forward thinking airlines to get on board. Let your favorite airline know!