By far, WestJet has the most comprehensive allergy policy. We can only hope that the other airlines will follow suit at some point in the near future. The following information was taken from the company’s website.
“WestJet does its best to accommodate guests with allergies; however, as our aircraft are open to the public, we cannot guarantee an allergen-free environment. We respect the concerns of our guests who have allergies triggered by nuts, peanuts, animal dander, fur or saliva. The following information outlines the measures WestJet employs to address concerns of this nature, while maintaining a balanced guest experience approach for all guests. We recognize that guests who have severe allergies and all persons with special needs are an important and valued segment of the travelling public. It is our intention to provide our guests with a clear and transparent allergy policy, so they can make informed decisions when travelling with WestJet.”
“Our aircraft are lightly groomed (e.g., removal of garbage, vacuuming if required, etc.) by WestJet pilots, flight attendants and employees at the end of every flight. Professional cleaning is performed on selected flights during the day, and all aircraft are professionally cleaned at the end of every day. Our crews have 24/7 access to medical advice via MedAire’s MedLink Global Response Center, which is accessible via radio-telephone from every aircraft, regardless of its location. WestJet carries vials of epinephrine and syringes onboard our aircraft, which are available for use during an emergency by any qualified health professional onboard, or by a flight attendant under the real-time supervision of MedLink’s medical personnel.”
Information on WestJet’s Air Filtration System:
“WestJet flies only Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft, and each aircraft is equipped with an industry-leading air circulation system containing a HEPA filter, manufactured by Donaldson Filtration Systems of Bloomington, MN. These filters achieve a viral removal efficiency of greater than 99.99909 per cent and bacterial removal efficiency of greater than 99.99996 per cent. This rating is based on the 0.3 micron contaminant benchmark – considerably smaller than animal dander, which is approximately 2.5 microns in size. It is also important to know that WestJet’s Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft introduces fresh air into the cabin every two to three minutes (20 to 30 air changes per hour). The idea that all aircraft air is recirculated is a common misconception.”
What we do for guests with nut allergies:
“WestJet can’t guarantee an allergen-free environment. We do not serve nut products onboard our aircraft; however, some of WestJet’s onboard snacks may contain traces of nuts or peanuts. Also, we do not screen any food items that other WestJet guests may bring onboard that may cause allergic reactions. As such, nut residue, oils or other allergens may be present on tray tables, seat cushions or elsewhere in the cabin, and may not be removed despite regular grooming. Because WestJet understands the medical implications of severe nut or peanut-related allergies, guests who inform a flight attendant or member of the flight crew about having a severe nut or peanut-related allergy will be asked if they have an epinephrine auto-injector (e.g., EpiPen®, Twinject®) with them. WestJet will request that other guests within three rows* of a guest with a severe allergy to nuts or nut products refrain from consuming food product(s) with nuts, nut products or peanuts that the allergic guest may react to. It is important to note that WestJet cannot enforce compliance.”
“*Please note the “three rows” includes the row the guest is seated in, plus two rows behind and two rows in front. For example, if an allergic guest is in row 5, guests in rows 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 will be requested to refrain from consuming foods with nuts or peanuts. In addition, a public address Allergy Announcement will be made on board when a guest self identifies as being allergic to nuts or nut products and requests a cabin-wide announcement to be made.” The announcement will be similar to the following:
“Sorry for the interruption. We have a guest travelling with us today who has a severe allergy to peanuts/nuts. We ask that you do not open or consume any peanuts, nuts or nut products during this flight. Thanks for your help.
Recommendations for guest with allergies:
“Guests who have allergies to nuts, peanuts or animals should pack any necessary medication they require (e.g., antihistamines, EpiPen®, Twinject®, asthma inhalers, etc.) in their carry-on baggage, not in their checked baggage. While our food items do not contain nuts or peanuts, some of WestJet’s on board snacks may contain traces of nuts or peanuts, and we recommend that guests with severe allergies to nuts or peanuts bring their own food items. Please note that we do not have microwaves or refrigerators onboard. Guests who are not comfortable with the possible exposure to allergens in the aircraft cabin may wish to consider an alternate means of transportation in order to avoid the risk of a reaction.”
“When guests identify themselves to WestJet as having severe allergies at the time of booking, we are able to provide clarity on WestJet’s policies and procedures relevant to allergic/asthmatic reactions. WestJet requests guests who are planning to bring animals in the cabin to notify us 48 hours in advance. When booking a flight, guests who have an allergy to animals can call WestJet and ask how many animals are currently booked on their flight. It is important to know that, while this number will be accurate at the time it is requested, it may change, due to last-minute flight purchases, refunds or exchanges.”