You are viewing Allergic Living Canada | Switch to United States

Talking Allergies

* FAQ    * Search
* Login   * Register
It is currently Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:40 pm

All times are UTC - 4 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 107 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ... 8  Next
Author Message
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 11:23 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 4:06 pm
Posts: 4
So - to update, here is what I sent to Air Canada:


I have spoken to Air Canada Representatives on the phone regarding travelling with my 4 year old who has a life threatening allergy to peanuts. I would like to express my dismay and concern about their attitude towards my questions.

First let me state that I intend to bring all of his own food and do not intend to eat snacks that Air Canada provides, and I also have read the paragraph in the FAQ's which states that peanut snacks are no longer served on board. This is a wonderful start!

My questions to Air Canada staff were around what kinds of things that I should do to ensure to my best ability that my son will be safe during the flight. I asked if there was a policy or procedure in place that is consistent between all staff as to what will be done once I check in with him and let staff there know that he has a life threatening allergy. My thoughts were that there would be steps put in place including such things as:
An announcement in the boarding area that there is a child with a life threatening allergy to peanut on the flight and a request that passengers not bring foods containing peanuts on board
A similar announcement on board once everyone is seated, so that all passengers and staff are aware of the situation.
A suggestion of the best seats that we should sit in - can some be cleaned particularly well so that previous passengers food will be better eliminated.
Any suggestions of how staff may approach passengers who are obviously eating peanuts, and request that they stop.

Let me say at this point that of course I understand that Air Canada can not FORCE a passenger to stop eating peanut butter or peanuts, but most people in my experience are helpful if the situation is explained to them in a caring way.

The message I received loud and clear from the two representatives I spoke with was that nothing like this is in place in writing in Air Canada. That staff have no requirement to assist me in keeping my son alive. That I am at the complete mercy of the particular staff people I encounter on my flight as to what will be done to help me and my son.

I feel very strongly that staff should be at least be provided with a list of guidelines to follow when they are informed about a life threatening situation on the flights they are responsible for.

I hope that this can be considered before we step on our flights in September. This will be our first experience flying with our son on Air Canada since his diagnosis. We have flown on Harmony, Westjet and British Airways, and have received remarkably more compassionate and informed staff people from all three of those airlines. I can assure you that Air Canada will not be our airline of choice if our experience in September is not satisfactory. My son's life is at stake.



And this is what I received today (two weeks later)

Thank you for email.

We apologize, our reply has not be more favorable. We can understand the stress of having a child with such sever allergies.

Given the gravity of an allergy sensitivity issue and the potential consequences of exposure ranging from mild asthmatic irritations to fatal anaphylaxis, our responsibility in this regard is not to mislead our customers in any way by falsely raising their expectations of our ability to successfully introduce system-wide flights on which we can absolutely guarantee the absence of products a person is allergic to.

Random quality control is not sufficient and, because hundreds of different suppliers are involved in food preparation, a more intrusive approach becomes prohibitive. It is for this reason that rather than give false assurances, we have decided against the guarantee of an allergy product free flight. While every precaution is taken to avoid the use of allergy products in our food and flight preparation, there is always the possibility that an error will occur in such a complex process and we simply cannot afford the risk. To do otherwise would, in our view, be irresponsible and misleading.

We are a public transportation and cannot guarantee anything. However, we have sent your letter onto our senior management for a review of our policies.

Thank you for your inquiry.

Sincerely,
Laren Clarke
Customer Solutions


It doesn't even sound like she read what my concerns were exactly - she responded about having peanut free food on board, not about what policies are in place to warn staff and passengers. Grrr.

I'm emailing back again...

_________________
Kathy
DS Kieran - July 02 - allergic peanuts, eggs, dairy
DD Megan - April 97 - NKFA


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 8:19 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Yes, email them again and insist on a reply. You just got a form letter from a customer rep about the airline food. They did not address any of the issues you brought up. It sounds like you are going through the same thing I did when I contacted Air Canada about their peanut policy (a few pages back in this thread). Do what I did... keep insisting for an answer to your concern. I insisted on getting a reply from management. I did not. And in the end, I was told point blank that they consider the matter closed. :evil: I was planning to write directly to the CEO... I think I will do this now. You can do this also, if you feel you are getting nowhere with Costumer Solutions. Hopefully we will get some kind of more competent reply.

This is from Air Canada's website:
The President and CEO of Air Canada, Mr. Montie Brewer's mailing address and fax number are as follows:

Air Canada Centre 1271
PO Box 14000
Postal Station Airport
Dorval, QC
H4Y 1H4

FAX: 514-422-4945

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 10:04 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
I finally wrote the letter to the CEO of Air Canada. Here it is:

Mr. Montie Brewer
President & CEO
Air Canada
Air Canada Centre 1271
P.O. Box 14000
Postal Station Airport
Dorval, Quebec
H4Y 1H4


RE: Violation of Air Canada’s Peanut Policy (Incident XXXX)

Dear Mr. Brewer,

I am writing to you in the hopes that you will be able to reply to the concerns I raised with Customer Solutions last February. Despite several emails, I did not receive a satisfactory response. I was told that no manager or department head would be able to provide me with a direct response, only that the matter would be forwarded to management for future consideration. It is now several months later and I have seen no change in your peanut policy or onboard snacks.

My concern stems from a Toronto-London (UK) flight from last February. The boxed lunch contained a 20g package of Krispy Kernels dry roasted almonds. There was an allergy warning on the package: May contain peanut, nut and/or seed and/or sesame seed particles and/or shell fragments. Your peanut policy clearly states that Air Canada has replaced peanut snacks with smoked almonds and guarantees that they are completely free of peanuts and peanut byproducts. Therefore, why was this product served? Not only was the reply I received from Customer Solutions unsatisfactory, it was erroneous. I was informed by Costumer Solutions that they contacted Krispy Kernels and were told that the package did not contain any traces of peanuts and that the company was merely “protecting itself” with the allergy warning on the label. This information was very hard to believe so I contacted Krispy Kernels myself and dealt with the Quality Control Manager directly who confirmed that the peanut-free UPC code for airlines is 5450 and it is a 50g package. Specifically, the 20g packages of smoked almonds served on the flight (UPC 3520) are manufactured in a facility that is not peanut-free.

Air Canada cannot claim to be a peanut-free airline (as stated by Customer Solutions) if you are serving these types of snacks. The policy is misleading to those allergic to peanuts because they are led to believe that the almonds are peanut-free.

It is important to note that passengers with food allergies will not eat the food provided by the airline (only their own). However, the other passengers may leave residue all over the airplane, which can cause an allergic reaction if a peanut-allergic person comes into contact with the same surface. It only takes a trace amount to cause an allergic reaction, which may be fatal.

I realize that Air Canada cannot guarantee a peanut-free environment nor do I expect this, even for my son who is allergic to nuts and peanuts. However, I do expect accuracy and consistency in your peanut policy and adherence to it. I also expect to have my concerns addressed, not dismissed. After all, you have a corporate responsibility to your passengers, even the ones with allergies who choose to fly with your airline. Or are you purposely ignoring the large segment of the population with food allergies?

These are the issues I would like answers to:

1. Why did Air Canada violate its peanut policy and serve smoked almonds (Krispy Kernels UPC 3520) that may contain traces of peanuts, as confirmed by the Quality Control Manager at Krispy Kernels?

2. How will Air Canada address corporate responsibility to those allergic to peanuts? Its peanut policy is misleading and provides a false sense of security as it states that the almonds and pretzels are "guaranteed to be completely free of peanuts and peanut byproducts."

3. Why did Air Canada provide me with erroneous information and state that the Krispy Kernels smoked almonds do not have traces of peanuts in them?

4. Why did Air Canada purchase and serve the 20g-size Krispy Kernels smoked almonds with UPC 3520 (that may contain traces of peanuts) and not Krispy Kernels' peanut-free packages of smoked almonds for airlines with UPC 5450?

5. What are the peanut verification procedures Air Canada follows when purchasing snacks from its suppliers?

6. Since it has been established that the packages of smoked almonds from Krispy Kernels UPC 3520 may have traces of peanuts in them, will Air Canada stop serving them?

7. Will Air Canada be reconsidering serving nuts (almonds, cashews, etc) on their flights, as most packages may contain traces of peanuts and other nuts as well as seeds/sesame seeds, which are all the top allergens as determined by Health Canada? In addition, this type of snack is eaten with the fingers and the passengers can easily contaminate the airplane if they touch the same surfaces that allergic individuals may come into contact with, such as door handles to the lavatory.

In closing, I would also like to express my dismay at the lack of concern and adequate responses from Air Canada Representatives on the phone and by email. In fact, you may be interested to know that the general consensus (as expressed in allergy forums and word-of-mouth) on Air Canada’s responses to allergy-related questions is that you are dismissive, uncaring and uninformed (at times, even providing conflicting information from one agent to the other). Air Canada does not have a positive image when it comes to addressing the needs of customers with allergies or those who travel with children with allergies. In fact, airlines such as Westjet, Harmony and British Airways have a much better reputation.

I strongly suggest you adhere to your peanut policy, establish clear guidelines on how to respond to allergy-related questions, including how to deal with passengers with allergies, and provide your representatives with proper training on the issue.

It goes without say that I expect a response to this letter. I am a frequent flyer with Air Canada and as a consumer, I have the right to have my concerns addressed, which to date, has not been done. If you choose to ignore this letter, I will have to take my business elsewhere.

Sincerely,


XXXXXX


c.c. Anaphylaxis Canada, Allergic Living Magazine

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 11:44 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 4:06 pm
Posts: 4
That's a great letter Storm! I liked the idea of cc'ing to Anaphylaxis Canada and Allergic Living. Hopefully the more people who are aware, the more pressure (theoretically) Air Canada is under.

I'll be interested to hear what response you get.

_________________
Kathy
DS Kieran - July 02 - allergic peanuts, eggs, dairy
DD Megan - April 97 - NKFA


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 12:13 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Thanks, Kathy. I'll keep you posted. You keep us posted as well.

I sent a copy of the letter to Anaphylaxis Canada and Allergic Living so they are aware but it is FYI only (I don't expect them to follow up on my behalf). I think it adds more weight to the letter if Air Canada sees that I passed the issue on to important allergy organizations.

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 6:51 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
You've got them cornered, Storm. And since they know you're making this public (by ccing the letter), they will probably feel compelled to respond.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:38 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Apparently, writing to the CEO is an exercise in futility as it goes back to Customer Solutions. Here's the reply letter:

Your correspondence addressed to Mr. Monty Brewer has been forwarded to our office for reply.

We regret you remain dissatisfied with our response. We can assure you that your concerns have been reviewed comprehensively, appropriately, and with management who concur with my response.

We are sorry this matter cannot be concluded to your satisfaction. Further communication will not alter our decision.

We earnestly hope there will be another opportunity to serve you again.

Sincerely,

Diane Boyd
Customer Solutions


I can only take this reply as a refusal on Air Canada's part to answer any of my allergy-related questions. Perhaps an allergy organization will be able to get better results. I, for one, will be looking into other airlines for my frequent travel to the UK. I think I will write back to them and tell them this.

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: storm
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:59 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:30 pm
Posts: 134
I applaud you for your deligence advocating. I am curious about what kind of policies companies should have in place to deal with other allergies. My oldest is pa but my youngest has multiple ana. allergies. We too are travelling next year and of course I will brign his own food, but what do you think is fair to expect from the ariline and the other passengers?
Stephanie


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 9:31 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6468
Location: Ottawa
Storm, good for you in pursueing this issue. You have definately been given the brush off.
It is unfortunate that Air Canada does not want our business. Perhaps at 2% of the population, we are not large enough to be concidered a desirable consumer demographic.
What they have failed to take into account, is that people don't tend to travel alone. We represent a larger proportion of the consumer profile and that we are willing to spend the money it takes to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
So let it go, let it go into cyberspace where those who search for information may find it and hopefully, they will use their credit card to speak in a language that Air Canada can hear.

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:26 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Susan, you're right about the demographics. That number is, unfortunately, slowly growing and yes, this number is even higher because it includes family members as well when it comes to consuming, whether it be buying a flight ticket or ice cream. So, it's not just one ticket but maybe four they are losing. Somebody's little brain isn't thinking.

And all for what? For peanuts!

Air Canada is struggling all the time to keep their numbers up. This is not helping.

I wonder if there's a way to pursue this, like in the States. The FAAN has a page about airlines and how to file a complaint based on discrimination against food allergic people.

http://www.foodallergy.org/Advocacy/airlines.html

I wonder if the Ministry of Transportation has a similar recourse.

_________________
15 year old - asthmatic, allergic to cats, dogs, horses, waiting to be "officially" diagnosed for anaphylaxis
12 year old - asthmatic, allergic to tree pollen and mold, OAS
Husband - Allergic to amoxycillin
Self - Allergic to housework only


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 11:23 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Thanks for the comments, Susan and Nicole.

Stephanie, I expect Air Canada to be consistent in their peanut policy and in the allergy info the customer representatives provide. So far, Customer Solutions has given me erroneous and inaccurate information, stating they are a peanut-free airline, which they are not. Air Canada has a Peanut Policy that they are not respecting and are misleading passengers into thinking that the almonds that have replaced peanuts are "peanut free". The package of almonds I was served was not peanut free. I don't expect the airline to be peanut and nut free. I know many of the foods served have labelling for "may contain..." but I would like to see the more obvious nuts and peanuts eliminated from the flights. I also would like staff (especially airplane staff) to be allergy-aware and accommodating to those with allergies (for example, making an announcement asking passengers to refrain from eating nuts and peanuts or giving allergic passengers enough time to clean their area properly). As it stands, there is no consistency, a distinct lack of interest in responding to any allergy-related queries and an alarming number of employees who have no knowledge of allergies in general... all of which has made me lose confidence in this airline.

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 12:22 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:30 pm
Posts: 134
Storm,
I appreciate your feedback. As a parent I too find that lack of consistent policies probably one of the most frustrating challenges that I face with my kids allergies. I can live with a policy if I know what to expect. What is your next step?
Stephanie


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 8:43 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Stephanie, my next step is to write back and tell Air Canada that I am taking my business elsewhere since they do not wish to answer any of my questions. It is simply not enough to tell me that my concerns have been passed on to management. I wanted answers and I didn't get any.

Perhaps allergy organizations will get better results but it seems that I am *only* a consumer and my voice doesn't count. At least I know my money will count... I travel very frequently and they have lost my business and the business of my family and friends who will travel with me.

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 9:14 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6468
Location: Ottawa
Can you complain to the Better Business Bureau?
The problem with airlines is, unlike restaurants, yuo can't just walk out when faced with a dilema. It's important that they do what they say. Why is this so hard for them to understand?

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 9:38 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
Storm wrote:
Stephanie, my next step is to write back and tell Air Canada that I am taking my business elsewhere since they do not wish to answer any of my questions.

Storm, I wonder if it's worth mentioning in your letter that you've posted their responses and lack of concern for the allergic community on an internet allergic community forum? Something that Karen suggested in another thread (this forum has received 100,000 hits this year so far..) maybe this kind of attention (and numbers) will spark some interest?


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 107 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ... 8  Next

All times are UTC - 4 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group