For those of us who are chemically sensitive to synthetic fragrances, this is a traveling nightmare. It’s hard enough to avoid the personal fragrances that people wear, such as perfumes or aftershave, body washes, hair products, scented soaps and laundry products that cling to clothes.
That’s not to mention the pesticide residue and Lysol spray that often permeate airplane cabins.
At least, I can wear a face mask and take a small air filtration device to try to create a clean air space around my head. But purposely dispensing fragrance into the cabin air on top of all the rest…that’s just too much.
I remember a flight to South Africa a few years ago. I had to try to avoid the awful smell of heavy perfumes and body powders used by one of the attendants. That was enough to make that as memorable as anything else on my 18 hour flight!
Airlines New “Signature Scents” for Airplane Cabins
Today, I don’t know if I could even handle a flight…and frankly, I’m not eager to fly much any more. Several airlines have made an already difficult situation much worse by using synthetic fragrances in planes. Pauline Kenny of Slow Travels notes that, “The airlines call them “signature scents” and say they are part of building their brand and enhancing customer experience.
Luckily, for regulatory reasons, they can’t use scent diffusers (plugin air fresheners) on the planes but they are using them in their lounges and terminals. In the cabins they are spraying the scents and infusing the hot towels with the scent.
Airlines using signature scents: Delta, United Continental, Turkish Airlines and Air Canada rouge. Spain’s Iberia and Alaska Airlines are about to start using them.
Two airlines tried this and then changed their minds: Quantas and British Airways. Many people complained and they did not continue using fragrance.
Airlines say they are being subtle with these fragrances, so passengers who are sensitive won’t notice them.”
Health Hazards of Synthetic Fragrances
And I’m not the only one who has serious health reactions to scented products. Kenny also says that a study in the Journal of Environmental Health reports that, “30.5% of the American population found scented products irritating.
- 30.5% reported irritation being near someone wearing a scented product
- 19% reported headaches, breathing difficulties or other problems when exposed to air fresheners or deodorizers
- 10.9% reported irritated by scent from laundry products, fabric softeners, or dryer sheets that are vented outside
- The percentages were higher among those with asthma or chemical
Yes, people are affected by these synthetic fragrances.”
A Case for Better Air Filtration in Airplane Cabins
Ok. Wouldn’t it just be better to leave off the signature scents and use better air filtration methods to circulate fresh air? Good to note that Quantas and British Airlines stopped with the fragrances after customers complained.
If you want to check ahead of your next flight to see if your airlines uses signature scents in their cabins, just give them a call. And if so, maybe even lodge a complaint saying you prefer fragrance free flights.
Maybe they’ll decide to stop with the fake smell of a spring meadow. 🙂
Image Credit: Airlineberg.com