Sorry American and United — these are the top 10 allergy-friendly airlines

Feb 20, 2020

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If you suffer from any type of allergy, you’re intimately acquainted with the additional layer of complexity it adds to your travels — especially when flying. That’s why TPG wrote the ultimate guide to traveling with allergies, and continues to look for best practices that can help make traveling just a bit easier for those with allergies (and those helping to manage someone else’s allergy).

That’s why the just-released inaugural list of “top rated allergy-friendly airlines” from Spokin piqued our interest. The app touts itself as “the easiest way to manage food allergies,” so we downloaded the app for a test drive and took a look at the crowd-sourced list of allergy-friendly airlines. Here’s our take.

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Spokin’s top-rated allergy-friendly airlines

Let’s start by looking at the airlines that topped Spokin’s list. According to the app’s users, these are the top allergy-friendly airlines in the U.S. and beyond. (Click each link to read about the airline’s allergy policies.)

  1. JetBlue Airways
  2. Southwest Airlines
  3. Delta Air Lines
  4. Alaska Airlines
  5. British Airways
  6. Air Canada
  7. Easyjet
  8. WestJet
  9. Virgin Atlantic Airways
  10. Iceland Air

What’s interesting is that Spokin’s top four airlines — JetBlue, Southwest, Delta and Alaska — also ranked in the top five of TPG’s 2019 best airlines for families study.

How were the results tabulated?

We reached out to Spokin’s CEO and founder, Susie Hultquist, to ask how the company ranked these airlines. The app allows members to share information and write reviews. Spokin harnessed that functionality to ask members to review airlines. About 1,000 members submitted reviews that helped create the ranking.

“We plan to make this an annual ranking but it’s also dynamic — meaning it’s continually reranking as reviews come in,” Hultquist told TPG.

So, an app user’s input is taken into consideration, and an algorithm adjusts the top-rated list as more travelers contribute their reviews.

“We have a section on our app called ‘top rated’ and you can filter by category, i.e. airlines,” Hultquist added, explaining that the app also has rankings for allergy-friendly hotels, restaurants, bakeries, colleges and other categories.

Screen shot courtesy of Spokin.

“The ranking is 100% based on app reviews,” Hultquist said. “Our app users can share positive or negative reviews. Our algorithm accounts the ratio of positive and negative reviews (negative reviews hurt more than a positive review helps).”

She noted that while Southwest has more positive reviews than negative, the negative ones pull them down to second place in the ranking. But, she says the airline is trending upward based on its willingness to remove peanuts from its aircraft (though Southwest is selling its famous nuts to non-flyers).

How to weigh in on the “best” airlines

Since the app will dynamically update its list of top-rated airlines, you can add your own airline review at any time. The app is free and available for iOS (iPhone and iPad). All you need to do is download the app, sign up for a free account and then find the type of business you’d like to review.

Screen shot courtesy of Spokin

Click on “Airline” from the category list and then find the airline you’d like to review.

Screen shot courtesy of Spokin

From there, you can write a review that specifically describes your experience managing an allergy on that airline. Your input can help someone else who’s planning a trip and trying to find the airline that’s best suited to handle his or her particular allergen issues.

We think the Spokin app shows real promise in the quest to help those with allergies manage their travels.

Featured image by Aureliy/Getty Images

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