“Allergy-friendly” is a funny way to put it, but Swiss International Airlines just became the first airline to get that certification from the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation.
The airline has removed fresh flowers from the cabins and, starting May 1, all Swiss flights will offer lactose- and gluten-free food and beverage alternatives, a choice of pillows stuffed with synthetic materials as an alternative to down-filled versions, and unscented soaps in the lavatories.
And while the airline does not serve peanuts, it cannot claim to be peanut-free because some food items might be prepared using peanut oil. However, “pets are not a problem on board as we have a special air filter that pulls particles and animal hair downwards and out of the cabin,” said Klatt-Walsh.
While it seems odd to call an airline allergy-friendly, many are very much not allergy-friendly. I’ve advised people to never say they have an allergy on a plane unless it is life -threatening.
Having an allergy can get you thrown off a plane. So when you mention your pet-hair allergy to the flight-attendant, you are thinking about getting a seat change. The flight-attendant is thinking about having to emergency land due to someone going into anaphylactic shock. They would rather kick you off the plane than deal with that.
But it makes sense when you look at cases where people downplayed their allergy and airplanes had to emergency land. Like in this case, a woman is suing United after someone opened a bag of peanuts on a plane, causing a reaction so strong, they had to divert.
If you have a severe allergy like that, you should be notifying the airlines and trying to figure out a solution. But if you have a mild skin irritation from cats, lets say, I wouldn’t throw the word “allergy” around.
I think people say allergy to make sure they are taken seriously, but this may get you taken off the plane. I’d say, “If it’s possible, I’d like to be moved from this seat. I get a little itchy around cats and it’s nothing serious, but I’d really appreciate it if you could move me.”