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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 9:37 am 
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_Susan_ wrote:
Cage wrote:
As a frequent flyer, I fear the general announcement approach, but still need some more perspective to overcome this fear.


Can I ask what is so special about almonds? :dungetit


It's not about a love of almonds or cashews, it's about yet another mandatory announcement that must be followed without question. Since the late 90s (when legislation was changed due to unruly and abusive passengers) all passengers must follow all flight crew instructions without question. This was not the case prior to the late 90s when passengers were required to follow safety instructions but could take other notifications under advisement. The legislation change was to drop the word safety and insert the word all when discussing requirement to follow flight crew instructions.

Lets look at other general announcements that flight crew make:
- fasten seat belts.
- stay seated anytime seat belt sign is on.
- don't smoke.
- don't use cell phones or other transmitting or receiving devices.
- headsets must be placed in carryon during takeoff and landing (new regulation change allowed earbud type headsets but not over the ear headsets).
- Carryon must be stowed under the seat in front or in the overhead bin. This includes women's purses and anything else (books appear to be the only exception).
- Cannot use electronics during landing phase.

Some announcements are more important than others. At either ends of the spectrum there is don't smoke vs don't use cell phones. An airplane has never been in serious trouble because a cell phone was left on, in fact in a large jet there is probably 5-10 cell phones inadvertently left on. Smoking in the lavatory has caused a few airplane crashes, the most serious being an Air Canada DC9 that burnt up in Cincinnati. Because transportation law states that all flight crew instructions must be followed, they are treated equally from an infraction perspective.

The penalty for failure to follow flight crew instructions is very severe. Again the law does not discriminate between general advisements and absolute must dos. Consequently there is no such thing as a nicely worded request, everything is an absolute demand. Because of this, any new general announcement must be vetted with proven direct consequences that are dangers to flight safety.

In the instance of severe allergies and request for general announcement, there needs to overwhelming scientific evidence that this is a whole airplane problem. Basically, a passenger eating nuts in 3A will cause the passenger in 63k to become ill (in this instance I am talking about 777-300). Studies completed by the airplane manufacturers tell us these two passengers will not share the same air.

Where does my fear come into place. I fear that out of an abundance of caution the general announcement will result in an entire airplane being placed under the same restriction and this restriction is completely unfounded by scientific analysis of the issue. An analogy would be to restrict the highway speed to 60kph simply to eliminate fatal accidents and then fine speeders $10,000 and take away their licence. Mission accomplished but car travel time just doubled for everyone.

How to resolve this fear. Through the CTA case mentioned throughout this article, it was suggested by the AC experts that buffer zone is appropriate. This community (Allergic Living Forum) disagrees with the buffer zone both in terms of size and purpose. AC has their experts in aviation air flow analysis, are their studies that refute AC's claim that three row buffer zone is enough?


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 11:15 am 
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Location: ottawa
Quote:
I fear that out of an abundance of caution the general announcement will result in an entire airplane being placed under the same restriction and this restriction is completely unfounded by scientific analysis of the issue.


I am confused by your use of the word fear?

The topic thread has totally lost me. :scratchy

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 11:33 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:37 am
Posts: 1523
Location: Alberta
Me too.

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Myself - Seasonal, cats
dd-asthma (trigger - flu) anaphylactic to eggs, severe allergies to bugspray and penicilin,pulmicort
ds-Seasonal, cats and OAS
dh-allergy cats, bugspray and guava, outgrew egg allergy


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 11:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
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Location: ottawa
Gwen:
Quote:
However .... I'm not really surprised that AC staff/crews are confused; I don't really fault them but rather fault the internal communication, which has been poorly done. Flight attendants seem to be winging it on how to interpret this cumbersome new food allergy policy / buffer zone stuff.

Gwen, any word on what will be done to clarify for travellers and for staff what is mandatory/optional and how long the medical clearance will be kept on file?

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 8:04 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:55 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Vancouver, BC
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.


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 10:47 pm 
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Location: Ottawa
Air Canada needs to create a simple policy and educate it's employees, travellers and those in the travel service industry (travel agents etc).

It's clear that steps were missed when arranging for the NS man's travel.

Air travel is not dangerous for people with allergies and a pilot should not refused to board a person due to this condition. It is the inclusion of allergies that causes the risk. Someday the airline industry will figure this out!

It does not serve anyone to have a life threatening mecial emergency at 35 000 feet. It causes increased stress for the pilot and potential for flight delays for the passengers. viewtopic.php?f=12&t=2527

Cage, maybe you can answer me this, when did peanuts and nuts become so intwined with air travel? What is the big deal?

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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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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 12:09 am 
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And here I thought the mandatory 48 hours notice was to give AC time to call every other passenger to let them know they would not be able to eat the declared allergens during that flight. :lol:


We are happily checking WestJet's flights for our summer vacation :happydance At this point, it would take a lot for AC to win me back. I know one of their pilots and am curious to ask his opinion the next time I see him...

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


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 4:07 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Cage wrote:
Why is my interest and knowledge (as described above) important to this discussion? It partially answers your point two. There is a subset of the frequent flyer community that picks apart and analyze policy wording for days.


Well, that explains a lot then. I often wondered why Air Canada made things difficult for people with allergies. Now I understand that there are actually (non-allergic) people out there who will use the issue of allergy accommodation in order to get compensation from airlines!

Cage wrote:
How does this post affect the real life situations. Well to put it bluntly prior to looking at this site this is what would likely of happened had I been on the MIA-YYZ flight with passenger YAF/S (as quoted in Gwentheeditor's post above). If I had been in the executive class cabin, I would have talked to the In-charge to ensure that I still got the almonds and salad as contemplated in the service requirements for that flight. At a minimum I would of sent a note to Air Canada explaining that the flight attendants broke AC policy and made a general announcement rather than implement the buffer zone as contemplated in the October 2010 CTA ruling. The flight attendants would be receiving some retraining on requirements to follow the new AC Allergy Policy.


Do the service requirements ACTUALLY state that passengers in the executive class cabin must specifically get "almonds and salad"? And the note to Air Canada about breaking AC policy.... the purpose of these complaints would be to seek monetary compensation, correct?

Unfortunately, it seems Air Canada (and possibly other airlines) have so many 'holes' in their policies, service requirements, etc that it is actually possible for passengers (who have the time and energy to pick apart everything just to save a few dollars) to justify their claims. Yet somehow, people with allergies still got the short end of the stick with Air Canada. I now understand Air Canada's attitude towards passengers with allergies and why they make it difficult to fly with them. They are not making any profit from their fares if others will complain and they are required to offer compensation.

It's a shame that something that should be so simple (asking the airline not to serve peanuts/nuts and requesting that passengers not consume nuts/peanuts on the flight) is actually so complicated. And it's a shame that people, like the young man from Nova Scotia, are unjustly denied boarding because Air Canada's management are unable to provide consistent and accurate training/info to their staff.

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


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 7:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
Cage wrote:
_Susan_ wrote:
Cage wrote:
As a frequent flyer, I fear the general announcement approach, but still need some more perspective to overcome this fear.


Can I ask what is so special about almonds? :dungetit


It's not about a love of almonds or cashews, it's about yet another mandatory announcement that must be followed without question.


So, it's about being told what to do? I watch my daughter's friends happily choose foods which are safe for her so that they can enjoy her company without fear of inducing a reaction. (She's 9 and they have been like this since 2-3 years of age!) I have to wonder when we change to care more about our wants and desires than the safety of others. Sitll, :dungetit

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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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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 7:56 pm 
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Storm wrote:
Well, that explains a lot then. I often wondered why Air Canada made things difficult for people with allergies. Now I understand that there are actually (non-allergic) people out there who will use the issue of allergy accommodation in order to get compensation from airlines!

Unfortunately, it seems Air Canada (and possibly other airlines) have so many 'holes' in their policies, service requirements, etc that it is actually possible for passengers (who have the time and energy to pick apart everything just to save a few dollars) to justify their claims. Yet somehow, people with allergies still got the short end of the stick with Air Canada. I now understand Air Canada's attitude towards passengers with allergies and why they make it difficult to fly with them. They are not making any profit from their fares if others will complain and they are required to offer compensation.


In this specific instance, any request for compensation would be denied and the complaint would be worthless. In my specific situation I would not request compensation, rather I would simply request that in flight staff be reminded of the existing AC Policy.

The payback to me is that I am seen by AC executive leadership team (which is where the complaint note would be sent) as a reasonable and valued customer. This in turn can and has gotten me invited to closed door meetings with AC to discuss the customer service experience. The same methodology also applies to WestJet.

I agree with the forum members that the airline industry (Air Canada, Cdn Transport Agency, Transport Canada, etal) is making it difficult for the Living with Allergy community. I humbly submit my opinion that the difficulty is partly due to the opposing viewpoints with Frequent Flyer community, defined as top tier members of the loyalty program (Super Elite, Elite and Star Alliance Gold in Air Canada's case).

Westjet does not cater to the frequent travel community, therefore this community does not fly Westjet or flies them very infrequently. Again I humbly submit that Westjet is much more accommodating to the Living with Allergy Community because there is much smaller opposition group.

Storm wrote:
Do the service requirements ACTUALLY state that passengers in the executive class cabin must specifically get "almonds and salad"? And the note to Air Canada about breaking AC policy.... the purpose of these complaints would be to seek monetary compensation, correct?

It's a shame that something that should be so simple (asking the airline not to serve peanuts/nuts and requesting that passengers not consume nuts/peanuts on the flight) is actually so complicated. And it's a shame that people, like the young man from Nova Scotia, are unjustly denied boarding because Air Canada's management are unable to provide consistent and accurate training/info to their staff.


MIA-YYZ is served by an Embraer E90, nine seats in executive class. Service requirements for this cabin on this route is a almonds (considered a snack) after takeoff and during first drink service. Followed by salad and sandwich or hot meal if that particular airplane has an oven (not all E90s have an oven), Cheese plate to finish the meal service.

In just about every other industry, there are simple solutions to just about every problem. The airline industry is the exception to the "Keep it simple, silly" rule. My posts in this thread are all quite long and complicated,but this is not an easy situation to wrap one's head around.

There is perhaps one simple idea: understand the needs, desires, and fears of the frequent traveler community (Air Canada Super Elite and Elite crowd) and a solution can be found. It is the frequent traveler community that guides Air Canada because they are airlines most profitable and loyal customers.


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 10:14 pm 
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Soo, rather than build their customer base, they'd rather cater to the same focus group and hope that if they keep this group happy, they'll meet their target numbers?

I suppose we need to wait until someone in this elite group develops adult onset allergies. :roll:

_________________
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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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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 10:38 pm 
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While I am not a frequent flyer, I do have many of them in my extended network as well as AC pilot and flight staff and will be talking to them not only for their opinion but for their support.

One of my relatives has been literally one of AC's top clients for the past 25 years both domestic and internationally and is known by all gate and flight staff in a few major Cdn airports - have seen that in action and it felt like I was with a movie star with all the recognition! Guaranteed that I will be asking for an opinion on this one although I can confidently say that if given the choice of the typical snack or endangering someone's life it would be a no-brainer.

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


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 6:02 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
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Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Cage wrote:
There is perhaps one simple idea: understand the needs, desires, and fears of the frequent traveler community (Air Canada Super Elite and Elite crowd) and a solution can be found. It is the frequent traveler community that guides Air Canada because they are airlines most profitable and loyal customers.


Cage, thank you for your responses. I am disappointed to learn that it is only the frequent flyer community's voices that are heard by Air Canada. Back in 2006, I wrote to Air Canada repeatedly about almonds (with traces of peanut) being served. I too picked apart their policy, taking the matter all the way up to the CEO and even checking with the purveyor of almonds (Krispy Kernel). I did not claim any compensation.... I merely requested that they clarify their peanut policy, provide consistent and accurate information/products because Customer Services was giving me inappropriate responses. I was told that my concerns would be reviewed, etc and they considered the matter closed.

That explains a lot. Because I am not deemed 'elite' / frequent flyer I was not asked to closed door meetings for feedback etc. and was dismissed. Has anyone seen the film 'Up in the Air' with George Clooney? These people are treated like superstars. Sadly, I can see why 'money talks' and the airlines would much rather accommodate these people than the segment of the population with allergies who choose to fly.

Too bad the majority of frequent flyers don't seem to be on our side and value their almonds and cashews more than other's people's health and comfort at 35,000 feet. Why does Air Canada insist on serving almonds and cashews? Do frequent flyers specifically request this?

The first few pages of this thread are a record of my communications with Air Canada on the matter:
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=712

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


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:12 am 
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_Susan_ wrote:
Soo, rather than build their customer base, they'd rather cater to the same focus group and hope that if they keep this group happy, they'll meet their target numbers?

I suppose we need to wait until someone in this elite group develops adult onset allergies. :roll:

Susan,This is exactly the focus of Air Canada right now and it is working. Here are some numbers and quotes from their 2010 Annual Report:
Quote:
Compared to 2009, system passenger revenues increased $928 million or 10.9% to $9,427 million in 2010 due to traffic and yield growth. In 2010, premium cabin revenues increased $378 million or 23.3% due to a 14.3% increase in premium cabin traffic and a 7.9% improvement in premium cabin yield.
In 2010, Air Canada’s overall capacity was 7.0% higher than in 2009, with capacity growth reflected in all markets. Domestic capacity increased 0.8% while, on a combined basis, capacity in the international and U.S. transborder markets increased 10.0% from 2009.


14% increase in premium traffic on a capacity increase of 7%, more people flew premium cabin (Executive First and Executive Class) than overall passenger increase. The premium cabin increase revenue $378 million or about 1/3 of the overall revenue increase.

Quote:
European Traffic: A yield improvement of 6.7% from 2009, which reflected a greater proportion of higher yield traffic, a noyable return in business travel demand and the airline’s strong focus on promoting premium services. The year-over-year Atlantic yield improvement was achieved in spite of a $106 million unfavourable impact of a stronger Canadian dollar on foreign currency denominated Atlantic passenger revenues.


http://www.aircanada.com/en/about/inves ... 010_ar.pdf

Here are some other statistics on frequent flyer impact on AC revenues:
P=Prestige, E=Elite, SE=Super Elite.

Assumptions:
1. Star Gold (other Star Alliance top tier frequent flyers) are excluded from analysis as there is no data on number of passengers.
2. number of frequent travellers: P=25,000, E=75,000, SE 15,000 (a secret aeroplan call centre agent smuggled actual numbers from company internal communications, these nmumbers are increased to reflect growth from 2006 and are considered conservative).
3. Yield (revenue per mile) for each category: P= $0.20, E= $0.25, SE= $0.30. The per unit revenue incease reflects the likelihood of more premium cabin travel as the status levels increase.
4. Average number of flown miles per member; P= 30,000; E= 60,000; SE 125,000

Results:
Estimated revenue per top tier member: P = $6,000; E= $12,000 (check figure, this is approximately my dollar spend on air travel for 2010); SE = $43,750

Total revenue impact is $1.931 Billion or 20% of Air Canada's 2010 revenue. Breakdown: P = $150 million; E = 1.125 Billion; SE = $656 million.

Other interesting fact:
Per Westjet 2010 annual report; their domestic market share dropped from 37% in 2009 to 30% in 2010. Air Canada domestic passenger traffic over the same period increased 1.5%.


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:28 am 
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walooet wrote:
While I am not a frequent flyer, I do have many of them in my extended network as well as AC pilot and flight staff and will be talking to them not only for their opinion but for their support.

One of my relatives has been literally one of AC's top clients for the past 25 years both domestic and internationally and is known by all gate and flight staff in a few major Cdn airports - have seen that in action and it felt like I was with a movie star with all the recognition! Guaranteed that I will be asking for an opinion on this one although I can confidently say that if given the choice of the typical snack or endangering someone's life it would be a no-brainer.


The description of your relatives flying habits suggest they are part of the Super Elite group. In that case they would have been invited to a private function hosted by the current AC CEO - Calin Rovinescu. The function is called "An Evening in Your Honour" and is attended by Calin and the Senior Leadership team.
You can convince your relative to advocate on your behalf and attend the function and speak face to face with Calin about the AC Allergy Policy.

Also your relative can pen a letter to Air Canada and then hand deliver it to the Concierge team at their home airport. Sending the letter in this matter would get a higher level of response than a going to Customer Solutions.


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