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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 2:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 7:28 pm
Posts: 17
_Susan_ wrote:
Since you seem in the know, do you have any idea if severe allergies will be added to the codes?
I don't understand why you feel that the IATA does not have procedures on how to handle severe allergies. This should fall under the first aid training the cabin crew receive. Anaphylaxis is covered in the basic level of the Canadian Red Cross Emergency First Aid & CPR course.


Air Canada has brought up the issue of Severe Allergy accommodation to IATA board (as per CTA Huyer/Nugent decision) however this will likely take years to resolve.

Also when I mentioned codes, I am refering to a specific code within the computer systems that would allow Travel Agents to automatically notify airlines of a Severely Allergic passenger. I am not talking about a medical procedure protocol or code.

IATA has set out hundreds of computer system codes that allow airline reservation systems to talk with travel agents and other airlines. For example the code WCHR is for a wheel chair passenger (actually there are four different subcodes depending upon the type of service requested). If this type of computer code had been available to the RBC Avion travel agent, the agent would have been able to automatically alert AC about the Halifax passengers condition and the type of accommodation requested.

I all likelihood the RBC Travel Agent wrote a brief note in the comments section of the passengers profile. However this comment section was not read by Air Canada representatives until the Record Locator was retrieved at Check In (the only way to read the comments is to recall the actual passenger name record (PNR) - the six letter and digit code at the top of all reservations.

To the best of my knowledge from talking with other Travel Agents, Air Canada has advised the TA community about the new Allergic Policy and buffer zone accommodation, however it is up to each Travel Agent company (Thomas Cook, Flight Centre) to update their staff. With over 200 airlines on Global Distribution Systems (the computer programs used by travel agents to make travel arrangements), the Travel Agent Companies rarely update all their staff with every notification.

As to when the computer systems will get updated, the answer is unfortunately not promising. IATA moves very fast to global events such as volcanic eruptions and terrorist events, however they are very slow at regional or national events. Until the global aviation community makes severe allergies a big issue, there will be no movement by IATA.


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 3:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 7:28 pm
Posts: 17
aaronsmom wrote:
Thanks, Cage, for your information and perspective...it is very helpful. It's important to understand why things have been put in place the way they have. The current AC policy serves neither us or them, it seems. Hopefully, we can work towards changing it.


Thanks Aaronsmom.

Through this thread and reading up on other threads in this forum (including Sam Yaffe Blog) I think I can understand the confusion with the Air Canada Allergy Policy.

The AC Allergy Policy makes reference to passengers with severe allergies who want to have an buffer zone established. However what AC has done internally is tie all requests for accommodation of severe allergies into requests for a buffer zone. This is because the CTA board in it October 2010 decision made nut free buffer zone the only required form of accommodation. Also the CTA agreed with Air Canada that general announcement on the airplane was not reasonable accommodation and only announcement to passengers within the buffer zone would be provided.

The quick fix is for AC to amend the Allergic Policy and Advance Notice for Medial Approval to Travel Policy to state the following:
- You have an allergy to peanuts or nuts and would like to request accommodation for your allergy in order to help avoid the risk of exposure. Air Canada will provide accommodation for your allergy in the form of a buffer zone (insert link to buffer zone policy). Medical approval for travel is required. Contact Air Canada to obtain the appropriate request forms and medical documents.

[Excerpt from AC Buffer Zone Page]
http://www.aircanada.com/en/travelinfo/ ... ional.html
Buffer zone
If you have a severe allergy to peanuts or nuts, you may request that a buffer zone be set up around your seat* in order to help avoid the risk of exposure. Here's what you need to know:

- To request that a buffer zone be set up around your seat*, please contact Air Canada Reservations at least 48 hours before your flight as medical approval is required for all passengers, regardless of the itinerary**. We will also make a reasonable effort to accommodate your request if it is made within 48 hours.
- Only the other customers seated within the buffer zone will be briefed on board by the flight attendant prior to departure:
o They will be asked to avoid nut/peanut products.
o They will not be offered any Onboard Café items containing nuts/peanuts.

*Exception: In the Executive First Suite, the buffer zone consists of the suite occupied by the passenger with allergies.

####
Would the changes to the above Policy wording help to clarify the situation???


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 3:41 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 7:28 pm
Posts: 17
Longer term advocacy:

1. The Allergic Living community notifies its members that Air Canada Policy has been altered to only provide for accommodation in the form of Nut-free Buffer Zone. All requests for alternate accommodation will be treated as requests for a Nut-Free Buffer Zone and general announcements at the gate and on the aircraft are no longer offered. If travelers wish to have a general announcement onboard the aircraft, they should chose WestJet airlines.

2. Petition Air Canada to get severe allergies removed from the Advance notice and medical approval for travel policy. It is inclusion of allergies in this policy that is causing almost all of the denied boarding incidents. This would also remove the 48 hour advance notice rule. Buffer Zone accommodation would remain the same.

3. Petition Air Canada to increase the nut free buffer zone to the following:
Narrow body single aisle aircraft
- 1 additional row in each direction so that buffer zone extends two rows forward and two rows aft of the Allergic passenger.
- Buffer zone extends across the aisle.
Effectively an allergic passenger seated in row 15F would be provided with a buffer zone of seats ABC DEG on rows 13,14,15,16,17.
Wide body aircraft (777-300 example http://www.aircanada.com/en/about/fleet/77W.html)
- 1 additional row in each direction so that buffer zone extends two rows forward and two rows aft of the Allergic passenger.
- Buffer Zone extends across one aisle of the twin aisle aircraft, however would not extend to beyond the second aisle.
- In all instances, the buffer zone would end at the bulkhead.
effectively an allergic passenger seated in row 36J would be provided with a buffer zone of seats DEG HJK (Seats ABC on the far aisle would be exempt) on rows 34, 35, 36, 37, 38. However were row 35 to be a bulkhead row, row 34 would be excluded from the buffer zone.

Would this form of accommodation be acceptable to the Living with Allergy Community. I would am willing to support this level of allergy accommodation in all that I do as an Air Canada Elite passenger.


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 1:52 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Cage wrote:
The quick fix is for AC to amend the Allergic Policy and Advance Notice for Medial Approval to Travel Policy to state the following:
- You have an allergy to peanuts or nuts and would like to request accommodation for your allergy in order to help avoid the risk of exposure. Air Canada will provide accommodation for your allergy in the form of a buffer zone (insert link to buffer zone policy). Medical approval for travel is required. Contact Air Canada to obtain the appropriate request forms and medical documents.

(...)

Would the changes to the above Policy wording help to clarify the situation???


Thank you for your posts, Cage. In my opinion, the wording should make it clear that a request for a buffer zone which requires medical approval is OPTIONAL.

My suggestion:
If you have an allergy to peanuts and/or nuts, you have the option of requesting accommodation for your allergy in order to help avoid the risk of exposure. Air Canada will provide accommodation for your allergy in the form of a buffer zone (insert link to buffer zone policy). Medical approval for travel is required. Contact Air Canada to obtain the appropriate request forms and medical documents. If you do not wish to request a buffer zone, you do not need to obtain medical approval to board the flight.

I do agree with your other post that allergies should be removed from the Advance notice and medical approval for travel policy, but would still include the buffer zone. In order to prevent passengers from needlessly requesting the buffer zone, the passenger could present their Medic Alert ID as evidence or a general doctor's letter when checking in.

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


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:53 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1117
Previously in this thread I mentioned that I know a very frequent flier. Just saw him and learned that he has with Air Canada, Super Elite, for life. Also saw another frequent flier (Elite status).

I asked both about how they would respond if asked not to eat a certain food for that one flight. Without question they said they would comply and wondered why I would even ask that.

When I see the AC pilot again I will also ask his opinion.

_________________
me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:01 pm 
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Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
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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


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