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Swiss airline named world's first 'allergy-friendly' airline

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Spring allergy season is the worst for allergy sufferers and now one international airline is officially the first airline to be called "allergy-friendly." 

Swiss International Air Lines announced last week it received its allergy-friendly certification from the Berlin-based European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation. (Via YouTube / Swiss International Air Lines)

Commonly called ECARF, the foundation awards allergy-friendly seals to foods and cosmetics. Its advisory board uses varying criteria to evaluate hotels, restaurants and airlines. (Via European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation)

For hotels to get the allergy-friendly stamp of approval, they must have rooms with hardwood floors, allergy casings for mattresses and pillows, as well as no allergy-containing green plants. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Jean-Pierre Lavoie)

Airlines must offer food without nuts and hypoallergenic soaps in the restrooms to be considered allergy-friendly. (Via Wikimedia Commons / RHL Images)

So what exactly is Swiss International Air Lines doing to make allergy sufferers more comfortable on flights?

A writer for ABC reports the airline will be offering "individualized service product." This means, passengers can ask for lactose and gluten-free foods and drinks, including lactose-free chocolate and coffee creamer. 

"They'll also be making the switch to synthetic pillows, and will stop using decorative flowers and air fresheners to keep those with the nasal allergies breathing easily." ​(Via WRTV)

In a press release, the airline explained why it wanted to be named allergy friendly.

"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."

It's important to point out that being called allergy friendly does not make the airline completely allergy-free. 

For example, NBC says it's not actually peanut-free because, although the airline doesn't serve peanuts, it cannot guarantee the food it serves isn't cooked in peanut oil. 

A writer for Allergy Safe Travel argues Swiss International Air Lines isn't going far enough, especially when it comes to helping passengers with the dreaded nut allergy. 

"Online, Swiss Air says they cannot guarantee a nut-free flight nor can they control what passengers bring on the aircraft. In my mind, there's still too much ambiguity to fly Swiss Air." ​(Via Allergy Safe Travel)

Those issues aside, the airline says it will have its planned allergy-friendly modifications in place by May. 

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