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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 9:01 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I'm taking up the baton. Will post the response from Air Canada. So far, they haven't answered any of my questions directly.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:09 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
That's great, Helen! Perhaps if more people write in, they will make an effort to train their staff to be more allergy aware and provide answers that are appropriate and not dismissive.

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


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 10:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
The first response I got from Air Canada seemed to be a form letter that didn't address my concerns. So I wrote again. The response I received was a *bit* better insofar as I can tell that the company representative actually read my email. But still disappointing. There wasn't an attempt to answer my questions.

And there is an indication that our correspondence is over---at least that's how I read the fact that this is their "final opportunity" to respond to my concern. I feel like writing back to say:

"Since I still have the same questions as before, I am sure you will be happy to hear that your last message was not in fact your "final opportunity" to respond to my concerns. In fact, as I am posting a copy of our correspondence on a popular website, I am providing you with the opportunity to address the shared concerns of the allergic community in Canada. I did not ask whether you could guarantee a nut-free flight. What I did ask was whether, given the medical risks to allergic customers, you would take any measures to minimize the amount of nut products on board by, say, not selling nut snacks on flights with allergic customers. In inquiring about whether nuts are served on board and about what type of packaging is used I was also attempting to estimate the risk posed to me personally. I would still be interested in hearing back from you on this matter.

From your message, I take it that, no, Air Canada is not really interested in accomodating people with medical disabilities. I would urge Air Canada to take another look at their allergy policy and to consult doctors working in the field of allergy and immunology when doing so. While I am not a legal expert, I wonder about the implications of refusing to accomodate a medical disability if someone were to die during flight because Air Canada would not serve pretzels instead of nut snacks. I would also like to mention that an increasing percentage of the population suffers from severe food allergies and that your company risks alienating a large consumer base (including family and friends of people with allergies) by putting our health at risk should we need to fly with Air Canada."

Okay, I needed to get that off my chest. But I won't send this third letter.. . . or at least not in its entirety. Must repeat as a mantra: "Sarcasm never gets one anywhere. Sarcasm never gets one anywhere."


here is my second email:

Quote:
Thank you for your response to my email. I do realize that Air Canada cannot
guarantee an allergen-free flight and I am not seeking such a guarantee. I
would hope, however, that Air Canada would attempt to minimize the risk to
those with anaphylactic allergies. As I mentioned in my previous letter,
medical experts have determined that protein particles from vaccuum sealed
packages of nuts do become airborne when the packages are opened and could
cause a life-threatening reaction in those who are particularly sensitive to
nuts. In order to address the risk posed by air travel, I would need to know
the following:

1) are tree nut snacks served on board? are they in vaccuum packed bags? (I am
less concerned with nuts that are ingredients in on-flight meals and more
concerned with the nuts in the vacuum packed bags. studies have shown that
protein particles from vaccuum packed bags become airborne when opened and pose
a risk to the allergic). I should stress that I will not eat any food served
on board, but that the food that other customers eat may pose a risk.

2) if so, what accomodations are made for people with life threatening
allergies? i.e. does Air Canada refrain from serving nut snacks on particular
flights?

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
---


(by the way, I cited AL magazine on the risks of flying for the nut allergic--that article at the very back by that doctor who is a professor at UBC and an allergist in Vancouver. . . Dr. Stark I think his name was)

Here is the response I received:

Quote:
Thank you for your most recent email.

I appreciate that you understand that we cannot provide a nut-free environment
onboard our aircraft. While I could investigate and
possibly determine that "tree nut snacks" are not normallly served to our
customers, again I cannot guarantee that one of our many
caterers would not substitute a nut snack for pretzel snack.

As you have identified, food that other customers eat may pose a risk and we
have no way to prevent other customers from boarding
the aircraft with "tree nut snacks". Therefore, there is a definite
possibility that "tree nut snacks" may be onboard your flight.

I regret we cannot offer a more confident solutions. We thank you for this
final opportunity to respond to your concern.

Regards,
---


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 7:11 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Helen... you go, girl! :D Excellent letter! Keep us posted!

The consistent message Air Canada is sending is that they don't care about people with allergies and will not make the effort to take any precautions or even look into the issue of allergies. Discouraging. Does anyone know if Air Canada receives government funding?

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


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Thanks! Haven't gotten around to sending that last letter yet . . . I need to get edit out the sarcasm when I'm in a better mood. It is kind of frustrating to get such an evasive response---but I would bet that people in "customer solutions" aren't that well paid and have to go through a lot of emails in a given day.

I wrote Continental recently as well, and while their treatment of people with peanut allergies is deplorable (worse than Air Canada), at least they make it clear what accomodations they will *not* make in their communication to potential customers.


Last edited by Helen on Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 8:15 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Unfortunately, I bought a bunch of airline tickets from Air Canada in advance, as I fly very frequently to the UK... so I am still using the non-refundable airline tickets. Soon I will be looking into other airlines, such as British Airways to see if they are any better (although I doubt it). On my most recent flight to London, Air Canada served the same boxed lunch with the same package of almonds. Sigh. I wrote to them of course (just to make my point). Here is the correspondence:

MY LETTER:
I was extremely frustrated to find that once again the boxed lunch served on the flight contained packages of almonds with traces of nuts and/or peanuts. Several months ago, I wrote many times expressing my concern and disappointment regarding the health risk of passengers with allergies and the violation of your peanut policy. The only response I could get, including the letter I sent to the CEO, was that my concerns would be passed on to management for a monthly review. It is now 8 months later and I see no changes have been made. Your peanut policy has not be modified and is still misleading (the Krispy Kernels almonds you serve with the boxed lunch are still the cross-contaminated ones and NOT the peanut-free ones that Krispy Kernels currently produces for airlines) and you still continue to serve these packages of almonds with the boxed lunch. I am not asking Air Canada to guarantee a peanut and nut free flight... I am asking that it review its choices of nut snacks and look for safer alternatives, and also review its peanut policy as it is presently misleading (implying that the almonds - the substitute for peanuts - are peanut-free). And lastly, please do not reply with one of your form letters that Air Canada cannot guarantee a peanut and nut free environment, etc... I am fully aware of that and it is not the intent of this letter. I look forward to a response that addresses the specific concerns of this letter.

AIR CANADA'S RESPONSE:
Thank you for your email.

We regret having again disappointed you on your recent flight with Air Canada. There is really nothing more that we can add to our previous responses to you. We assure you that your concerns have been forwarded to the appropriate department for their internal review.

Once again Ms. ---, we appreciate this opportunity to conclude this matter.

Sincerely,
Diane Boyd
Customer Solutions

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


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 Post subject: Replies from airlines
PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 10:14 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 8:49 pm
Posts: 28
I am shocked and disbelieved with the lack of effort put forth by the airlines to accommodate people with food allergies. I honestly thought steps were being taken to reduce these types of responses, but I've contacted many airlines in the last week to go on a long overdue holiday, and received similar responses back from them all. We may either have to drive or cancel our plans as this responses do not make me comfortable flying with these airlines and taking a chance with my son's live.

Quote:
Thank you for your email.

Please take note Air Canada serves and offers for sale products containing various ingredients that may or may not be an allergen for some passengers. Air Canada has phased out peanuts from all packaged bar snacks onboard our aircrafts in all classes of service. In Business Class we have replaced the mixed nuts, which contained peanuts, with Smokehouse Almonds. On our long-haul international flights, a mix of nuts is also served in Executive First Class. In Economy Class we have replaced the peanuts with pretzels as the given snack, however, almonds and cashews can be purchased as part of our On Board Café. In addition to these products, we have also replaced our other packaged snacks products with non-peanut alternatives wherever possible.

At the same time, Air Canada cannot make any guarantees with respect to meals being free from peanuts, peanut byproducts or any other food to which a person may be allergic as it would be impossible to manage with the many caterers, their suppliers and sub-suppliers. We can neither be responsible for passengers who may bring peanuts or other products onboard or for any residue that may remain on board. Air Canada will not stop the planned service of food to which a passenger may be allergic as this would be unfair to other passengers. If a passenger is allergic or sensitive to products that may be found in the cabin, it is this passenger's responsibility to bring the proper medication and to have the proper protection
.

It's unbelievable that these companies are allowed to get away this.

Here's US Airway reply

Quote:
US Airways recognizes that some of our passengers are allergic to
peanut products. However, due to last-minute aircraft changes and the
possibility that other passengers may bring peanuts onboard, we cannot
guarantee that no peanut products will be onboard.

Because we cannot accommodate "peanut-free" snack requests and the
possibility that peanut-related ingredients may be contained in meals,
we encourage passengers to bring their own food items onboard the
flight.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to
reply. We know that you have many choices and we thank you for
choosing
US Airways!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
If a person was inclined to be paranoid, you'd almost think they are doing it on purpose to discourage allergic passengers from using their airline. Not a smart thing to do in my opinion.

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 2:01 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 8:49 pm
Posts: 28
I agree Karen. I had to read it a few times because I couldn't believe they are really trying to discourage people with allergies not to fly.

But the line that bothers me the most in Air Canada's response was
Quote:
Air Canada will not stop the planned service of food to which a passenger may be allergic as this would be unfair to other passengers
.

Who picks an airline on what they are serving ?? I am not a frequent flyer by any means (it's been 10+ years and that's why we wanted to go on this vacation so badly)but honestly, do you think people would be upset that they were not serving peanuts / nuts on the flight. To me, I would think price would be the first thing people are looking at when it comes to picking a carrier.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 2:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
I wonder if one could define an airplane as a public space.

Denise - if you read this - would you ask your DH if he knows?

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 4:05 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:42 am
Posts: 222
Location: Victoria, British Columbia
I also wonder if 'last minute airplane changes' affect their ability to serve people in wheelchairs, and could they deny a person a flight because they have 'mobility issues.' In the US, the Americans with Disabilities Act might have something to say about that.

Providing a safe enviroment for passengers should be of paramount concern for airlines! It sounds to me as if they just don't want to deal with the ramifications of an exposure to an allergen so therefore they are denying they can do anything to help out their passengers with serious food allergies. I guess we use our air travel funds to support another business, whether it be another airline or another method of travel. But it ain't right because they are effectively denying our accessibility to travel.

Caroline

_________________
son anaphylactic to peanuts


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
hmmm... they don't allow smoking (to borrow Denise's analogy) on airplanes any longer due to health risks to non-smokers. We need to have some kind of law passed for allergic individuals that speaks to a company's legal obligation to accommodate people with life threatening allergies in situations where their business involves having people in confined spaces where there is no opportunity to "just leave", or where they don't have immediate access to medical attention should they require it. I know it's a tough one to try to regulate the consumption of food in public spaces but travelling in an airplane is not an ordinary scenario - there really should be something done legally for the food allergic in this respect. (...just venting...)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 1:24 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I found this article posted on another allergy website--Dr. Donald Stark and the Canadian Society for Allergy and Immunology got Air Canada to stop allowing pets in the cabin. See http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?Cont ... 58e1814b5a

According to the article, Dr. Stark also was one of the allergists who got Air Canada to stop serving peanuts--he was involved in a study which demonstrated that peanut dust gets in the air in flight. I don't know why Air Canada thinks that serving cashews and almond snacks is a good idea if they agree that serving peanuts is not :?

Maybe if someone reports having a reaction to the CSAI they'll push for ending the distribution of *tree nut* snacks as well.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 8:54 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 8:49 pm
Posts: 28
I have contacted majority of the airlines that fly to Myrtle Beach, and they are all having similar responses.
:cry:

Thankfully we are going some where we can drive, however it's not my ideal vacation driving 16+ hrs but at least we do have an alternative... My son really was looking forward to flying, and has been disappointed as he has read all these responses from the airlines..

I have been venting all week over this, it just really bothers me that these companies treat people with food allergies like they are something from another plant.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 12:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:43 pm
Posts: 5
Location: ontario
My boyfriend and I are fairly frequent flyers, and we are (his choice) fiercly loyal to Air Canada. I think however, we will stop flying with them after my next trip. I will be flying from Toronto to Los Angeles, and its still a little over a month away and I am already beginning to feel terrified. The last time i flew to LA (November) they served Cashew Chicken on the plane!!

Does anyone know Air Canada's policy/procedure in case someone DOES have an allergy attack?

Im so afraid of being in the air and needing to administer my epi-pen, especially since I will be flying alone.

Also, how do you usually bring up the fact that you (or your child) has peanut/nut allergies? do you call ahead? who do you talk to?

I'm VERY shy about doing this, and usually i just carry all my medicine and pray nothing bad happens. So far I've been lucky...

_________________
Allergic to Tree Nuts, Peanuts, Coconut, Septra, Ceclor, Erythromycin and waiting to be officially diagnosed with a milk allergy


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