Illustration: Letch

Illustration: Letch

Swiss International Air Lines is to become the world's first certificated allergy-friendly airline. This month, the carrier is introducing a range of ground and in-flight products to help allergy sufferers. Lactose and gluten-free snacks and drinks, synthetic pillows and gentle-to-the-skin soaps are among the changes. In addition, allergy sufferers will be able to pre-order special meals tailored to their needs. The airline is also ceasing decorative flowers and air fresheners that might cause nose and throat irritations. Alternative dairy and bread products will be available in Swiss lounges in Switzerland. Swiss is the first airline in the world to meet the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation's criteria for allergy-friendly airlines. "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," said Frank Maier, Swiss' head of product and services. The number of people suffering from allergies has been increasing throughout the industrialised world for several years, according to ECARF.

Cruise from all corners

Australian Tracey Lister runs the Hanoi Cooking Centre in the city's old quarter that teaches Vietnamese cooking and has a "Street Eats and Market" tour. In between her busy schedule at the cooking school, she has also written three cooking books with husband Andreas Pohl. The latest is Real Vietnamese Cooking (Hardie Grant Books, $49.95). The recipes draw on the main culinary regions of the country: the hearty food of the north; the imperial cuisine from the centre; and the sweeter and spicier food from the tropical south. Beef noodle soup (pho bo), spring rolls (nem) and lesser-known caramel fish with galangal all feature. The recipes, combined with the photography of Michael Fountoulakis, are so inspiring that you could be tempted to buy the next available seat on Vietnam Airlines.

Room 77

Australian Tracey Lister runs the Hanoi Cooking Centre in the city's old quarter that teaches Vietnamese cooking and has a "Street Eats and Market" tour. In between her busy schedule at the cooking school, she has also written three cooking books with husband Andreas Pohl. The latest is Real Vietnamese Cooking (Hardie Grant Books, $49.95). The recipes draw on the main culinary regions of the country: the hearty food of the north; the imperial cuisine from the centre; and the sweeter and spicier food from the tropical south. Beef noodle soup (pho bo), spring rolls (nem) and lesser-known caramel fish with galangal all feature. The recipes, combined with the photography of Michael Fountoulakis, are so inspiring that you could be tempted to buy the next available seat on Vietnam Airlines.