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 Post subject: Air Canada Medical Desk
PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:23 pm
Posts: 810
Location: Kingston
We booked flights on Air Canada to Italy and submitted the medical papers to the medical desk. I called today to make sure that everything is in order. The person who answered gave me a list of things I should do : two epipens, own food, wipes to wipe things down including TV, blanket for the chair PLUS they have now opened a medical file for 10 years so we don't have to get the forms done every time we fly. We just need to inform the agent when we book.

Although I am not keen on their overall allergy policy I see this as a step forward.

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Mary


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:36 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 790
Location: Vancouver, BC
We did this too, for our trip in the spring. For children, though, I was told the medical form is only good for three years, but better than getting a new form filled out from your doctor each time you fly, at $30 a pop!

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DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:25 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:23 pm
Posts: 810
Location: Kingston
The process set up by Air Canada needs to be revisited. Not one of flight attendant was aware of the buffer zone. When we spoke to them about it all we got was a blank look, no action, PLUS one of the flight attendant kept badgering my son because it was a long flight and he refused food.
On the first flight I went to the back of the plane after the first food service to ask them not to serve any food and to set up the buffer zone and the steward said not to worry they don't serve peanuts or nuts with a very comforting smile. So no buffer zone was ever implemented. Two meals were served.

On the second flight someone was in our seat. After having her moved to the correct seat I explained the need for a buffer zone, more blank stares and no action. Moving the passenger to the correct seat took time as passengers were getting on and seated and there was no room for us to stow my son’s food. We had to personally negotiate with other passengers to move their bags, physically move the carryon of the other passengers ourselves because the flight attendants would not help, find space on the plane to store the passengers bags and at one point take a scolding from another flight attendant about our bag being in the aisle while we slept bags all over the place.

Then we got the exact same pushy flight attendant from our first trip badgering my son for not taking a meal and when my husband explained to her twice that he had a peanut and nut allergy she went into action. (sort of) She told the other server they had to set up a buffer zone. They told the seat in front of us, then my husband and I who were seated in front of our son and then my son and his friend. The lady in front of us said she really needed to have nuts- they suggested that she come to the back of the plane to eat them – which she agreed to and then they came to her seat twice during the flight with a very sympathetic look and offered her cookies or something to ease her plight of not having peanuts. They served two meals and one snack during the 8 hour flight.


I will write a letter today to Air Canada to report the failure of the buffer zone. I will also write Transport Canada.

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Mary


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 790
Location: Vancouver, BC
We haven't had an AC expierience as bad as yours, but this is why we fly Westjet whenever possible. Unfortunately, they don't fly to many international locations.

I hope you get a satisfactory response from AC, and they improve their allergy awareness among their flight crew.

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DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:11 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
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Thank you for sharing your experience. It never occurred to us to board first to make sure our food was accessible and moreso, to make sure no one was in our seat.

My daughter will be flying to Europe in the spring and we are patiently waiting to see what airline the tour will use.

Please keep us posted of any responses to your letters.

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


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:04 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:23 pm
Posts: 810
Location: Kingston
On the positive side. There was a good choice of products in the supermarkets that were labelled with "may contains" or” contains” the top allergens. In the past we have found the same labelling laws in place in Scotland, England, Spain and Portugal.

We usually make a point of not flying Air Canada because of their allergy policies. In this case it was the only direct flight on the dates we needed. Air Canada served pretzels as a snack. There were no bags of peanuts distributed. It is Air Canada’s apathy and their lack of implementing the buffer zone process that was so disturbing.

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Mary


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:45 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 790
Location: Vancouver, BC
That is great news about the food. We have only brought the kids to destinations with North Am, plus Aus/NZ so far, and I would bring them to Britain as well, but good to know Europe has consistency in labeling laws. What about restaurants? Is there awareness there?

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DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:11 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:23 pm
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Location: Kingston
We did not trust any of the restaurants in Portugal, Spain or Italy because of the prevalent use of nuts in a lot of their recipes. In addition there is a language barrier.

We always rent apartments or homes and shop in the local markets - which are fresh and fabulous. We make it part of the experience to cook with fresh local foods and use recipes from the country we are in. The fruit and vegetables fresh and yummy. In Italy there was all this great baked bread and desserts that were labelled in the grocery stores.

There is awareness in England and Scotland at some restaurants but you still have to be careful.

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Mary


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 790
Location: Vancouver, BC
Thanks for the info. We always get apartments with kitchens too, but when possible, it's nice to have one meal out. In Australia, we found a great restaurant where the chef's son was allergic to nut/peanut, so they were very aware and eager to make my kids safe meals. It was our treat the last night there!

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DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:43 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2928
Location: Toronto
Mary, sorry to hear of the Air Can experience.

Boy, their internal communication is lacking on this policy.
I'm interested to hear what response you get to your letter.

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:23 pm
Posts: 810
Location: Kingston
Response One from micahel Tremblay only after I resnt the letter by fax:
Quote:
Please accept my apologies for my tardy reply, I've been "on the road" the last several weeks visiting employees and was not able to keep up with my eMail.

I am very sorry that things were not in order on your flights to and from Rome for your son XXXX . The process for food allergies is usually smooth and the flight attendants are generally more accommodating than our policies dictate - I regret that that was far from the case on your flights.

I have asked our specialist in this area to review your file. She will engage our Medical Desk as well as the in flight crew to see where things went astray.

We will get back to you shortly.



Response Two , (Please keep in mind that they never set up a buffer zone on the first flight and sort of set up a buffer zone on the second flight but only upon our inumerous requests to do so. It iirks me that they think they did something right with the buffer zone. I am going to ask them for the written results of their findings)

Quote:
Thank you for your fax concerning previous correspondence sent to Michael Tremblay. I apologize for our delayed response and on behalf of Air Canada, I am pleased to respond to your concerns regarding the nut/peanut buffer zones required for your son's travel on Air Canada.

Air Canada understands the importance of providing the nut/peanut buffer zones for our customers who are travelling with severe nut/peanut allergies. We are committed to the safety and comfort of our customers and have taken steps to ensure that the need for buffer zones is properly communicated to the in-flight crews. We regret the negative impressions you have received regarding our handling of the buffer zones during your family's recent travel with us on Air Canada flights AC892 on August 13th and AC893 on September 7th and assure you that your correspondence has been forwarded to the appropriate Inflight Management Team responsible for internal review. We take reports such as yours very seriously and wish to reassure you that your concerns will be handled appropriately.

As you have indicated that your party was seated at rows 15AC and 16AC on AC893 just in front of a mid-cabin lavatory, I wanted to clarify the size of the buffer zones that Air Canada is required to provide our customers. For allergic passengers seated in the Economy Cabin, the buffer zone consists of the bank of seats the passenger is sitting in and the bank of seats immediately in front and behind for a total of three banks (rows) of seats. Seats across the aisle are not included in the buffer zone. When the allergic passenger is seated directly in front of a bulkhead (this includes the wall of the lavatory) or directly behind a bulkhead, the buffer zone will include one bank in front or one bank in back depending on the location of the bulkhead for a total of two banks of seats. As such, on AC893, the buffer zone would have been the seats where you and Mr. Greenspan were seated and the bank of seats where your son and his friend were seated. The appropriate size of the nut/peanut buffer zones was determined by the Canadian Transportation Agency.

We regret to learn of the difficulties encountered on Air Canada flight AC893 with respect to another passenger sitting in the wrong seat and the subsequent problems experienced adjusting carry-on baggage to allow for the food items you carried onboard to be readily available during the flight. Please accept our apologies for any misunderstanding which may have occurred with respect to the ownership and size of the baggage your husband was repositioning to permit your carry-on baggage be stowed nearby.

Mrs. Greenspan, we appreciate your comments and suggestions regarding this important matter and assure you your feedback has been forwarded to the appropriate departments for further consideration. Thank you for allowing Air Canada the opportunity to review your concerns. We hope that we may continue to serve your family's travel needs in the future.


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Mary


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:23 pm
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Location: Kingston
I asked Air canada for the fidnings of their review. This is part of the reply:

Quote:
we hope you will understand the results of our internal review will remain internal and we are unable to provide the results.


I don't understnd why they can't tell me the results of the review. How do I know that it will be dealt with and what steps will be taken to insure no one has the same experience? I will now file a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency.

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Mary


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:52 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:26 pm
Posts: 386
I had a similar reply when I placed a complaint (about allergies too) with Air Canada - their internal review results would remain internal. *sigh* I hope you get some resolve.

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anaphylaxis to tree nuts and peanuts; asthmatic, dairy intolerant, vegan
other family members allergic to to dairy, egg, peanut, peach, banana, sesame, environmentals


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:49 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1115
Thank you for sharing the follow-up.

My daughter flies with Air Canada to Europe next week on a school trip and I truly hope she is treated kindly by the AC crew.

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


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:37 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 3:32 pm
Posts: 45
Location: Stittsville
Hello,

Dealt with the AC medical desk (800-667-4732) two years ago for my then 12 year old son with no problem. Contacted them again this morning to deal with our European flight this summer. Because he was 12 at the time of the submission of the "Fitness to Fly form", his file is good for 10 years (if the child is younger, its apparently a shorter time frame). We also bring our own food, wipes, epipens (have letter from allergist), etc. We also have flights with Lufthansa which I had to let them know too though they do not have a peanut free environment. The medical desk at that airline is (516) 296-9580.

Will be doing a Disney Cruise again (need I say more about Disney). Also will go to Germany but we have not had many problems as we tend to get places with kitchenettes and make most of our meals (cheaper too). Labeling is actually better than I thought (allergy warnings on bread for example).

_________________
Jacqueline Labossière-Jager
Stittsville, ON

son - born 1998, allergy to peanut, nuts, sesame, shellfish and kiwi; a bunch of allergies to plants, animals, etc. and asthma
daughter - born 2003, no known allergies


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