Swiss International Air Lines will be introducing a number of ground and inflight products from May onwards that are specifically designed to enhance the air travel experience for allergy sufferers. These innovations will include new alternative (lactose- and gluten-free) food and drinks, along with changes to the cabin interior.
SWISS has teamed up with the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF) to offer its guests an even more individualised service product that is particularly geared to travellers with allergies. The new product, which will be introduced from the beginning of May onwards, will see lactose- and gluten- free food and beverage alternatives (such as lactose-free coffee cream and a lactose-free version of the popular SWISS chocolate bar) offered as standard on all SWISS flights.
Depending on the length of the flight, SWISS guests with allergies or other intolerances may further request special snacks (candy bars, yoghurt or cakes) that pay due and full regard to their condition. Alternative dairy and bread products will also be available in all SWISS Lounges in Switzerland. And, as at present, allergy sufferers will be able to order special meals tailored to their needs in all seating classes on long-haul services and in Business Class within Europe up to 24 hours before their scheduled departure.
SWISS is making allergy-friendly modifications to its cabins, too. First and Business Class passengers will now be offered pillows stuffed with synthetic materials as an alternative to the down-filled version. SWISS is also ceasing its use in the cabin of decorative flowers and air fresheners that might cause nose and throat irritations; and the on-board toilets will now feature soaps that are particularly gentle on the skin.
“We have seen a steady increase over the past few years in our customers’ need for an air travel environment that pays due regard to any allergic conditions,” explains Frank Maier, SWISS’s Head of Product & Services. “So we’ve been working with ECARF to provide a concrete response to these demands and make everyone’s air travel experience as pleasant and problem-free as possible.”
“The numbers of people suffering from allergies have been increasing throughout the industrialised world for several years now,” adds Professor Torsten Zuberbier, the Director of ECARF, which is based in Berlin. “Over 30 per cent of Europe’s population are directly affected by one or more allergies – not to mention those indirectly affected, such as their families. Yet only around ten per cent of sufferers get the right medical treatment; and allergies are still often not taken seriously, even by the sufferers themselves.”
SWISS is the first airline in the world to meet the ECARF criteria for ‘allergy-friendly’ airlines. As a result, SWISS can now place the ECARF seal of approval on its service product range.