DO NOT FLY CONTINENTAL

Posted on: Mon, 01/12/2004 - 10:24am
mammerman's picture
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Joined: 12/05/2003 - 09:00

We had a HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE time with Continental. They basically have a policy as of Feb. 1999 they will not cater to people with peanut allergies. The problem is not all employees know this and you end up getting mixed signals. PLEASE read the letter below we sent to Continental.I apologize in advance since it is a 5 page letter but it describes how blatantly ignorant these people are.

Ashlynn's Dad

Gordon Bethune,

I am writing to express my extreme dissatisfaction with the customer service my family received on our round trip flight from Las Vegas to Newark. I see on your website that Continental has place number one or two in customer satisfaction the last 5 years (per JD Power & Assoc.) and this was one of the reasons we became one pass members. However, I now question the validity of this survey after being treated so rudely and unprofessionally by your employees, particularly the gate agents.

Our flights were Nov. 26 (flight 369) leaving Las Vegas to Newark and returning Dec. 1 (flight 1268) to Las Vegas. Our two year old daughter has a severe allergy to peanuts (life threatening) and had a reaction on a flight (Southwest) after they served peanuts as a snack. The flight luckily was only an hour long (San Diego to Las Vegas). However, she did have a reaction to just the peanut dust from everyone eating peanuts (we obviously had none). Due to this, my wife called a few days in advance to request a peanut free flight, we have done this on several previous flights, two with Continental, with no problems. The agent she spoke with told her that we (Continental) can not guarantee that the food served will not have peanut ingredients. My wife told her we understand and that our concern was the bags of peanuts. The agent told my wife that she would take care of this and it had been noted in the computer and to double check with the gate agents when we check in for the flight.

We checked in with the ticket agent an hour and a half early, asked about the note and she said it should not be a problem and to check with the gate agents. Upon arriving at the gate, my wife checked with the gate agents about having no peanuts on the flight. She was told, rather rudely, that there was not enough time to accommodate a peanut free flight. My wife explained that she called a few days in advance and there was a note in the computer. The agent looked and said there was no note and was told by another agent "read her the policy". So the agent read your policy stating that as of February 1, 1999 that Continental would no longer accommodate passengers with peanut allergies.

Now just imagine our surprise being told this, especially having flown twice before with Continental and not being informed of this policy. We flew on Continental in August and on each flight we, called a few days in advance to request a peanut free flight, asked about the note at the ticket counter, asked about the note at the gate, and reminded the flight crew. Not only did anyone never mention your policy, they pulled all peanuts off of the flights for us. That probably is about 15 employees, give or take, who failed to mention your policy.

My wife asked the gate agents if they could please accommodate us and explained our daughters

Posted on: Thu, 01/15/2004 - 12:24am
rebeccas's picture
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Joined: 07/05/2003 - 09:00

AAAAAAAAmen !!! We have a 5-year old son with severe PA and have had pretty much the same treatment re: Continental. If I could single-handedly bankrupt them, I would. We were told the same thing regarding the mysterious "note" and basically dealt with nothing but stubborn idiots. My sympathies to your situation. Please let us know if you receive a response. Hey, maybe we'll get to hear about that wonderful policy again!

Posted on: Thu, 01/15/2004 - 2:26am
mammerman's picture
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Joined: 12/05/2003 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by rebeccas:
[b]AAAAAAAAmen !!! We have a 5-year old son with severe PA and have had pretty much the same treatment re: Continental. If I could single-handedly bankrupt them, I would. We were told the same thing regarding the mysterious "note" and basically dealt with nothing but stubborn idiots. My sympathies to your situation. Please let us know if you receive a response. Hey, maybe we'll get to hear about that wonderful policy again! [/b]
I sent the letter yesterday.... we will see if they even read it all and come pack with some standard response.

Posted on: Thu, 01/15/2004 - 2:39am
Going Nuts's picture
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Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

By all means, contact travel magazines, not only consumer magazines but trade ones as well. If your local newspaper has a travel column, contact them as well. And don't forget to cc Continental on [b]all[/b] these letters. We've found that to be very effective.
I'd be happy to participate in a letter writing campaign to Continental. If you provide contact info, I'd bet many of us would.
Keep us posted.
Amy

Posted on: Thu, 01/15/2004 - 4:17am
SF's picture
SF
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Joined: 06/06/2002 - 09:00

Good for you, job well done!!! Let's get together and make a difference with all of the airlines....the entire industry needs to get with the program!

Posted on: Thu, 01/29/2004 - 5:15am
mammerman's picture
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Joined: 12/05/2003 - 09:00

Below is the response I have received from the Dept. of Transportation. I urge anyone else who has had problems with Continental or any other airline to file a complaint. I am not holding my breath but....... They stated that if there is a pattern shown by the airline it will help them in their investigation and with enforcement action. The web site adress is [url="http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/index.htm."]http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/index.htm.[/url] I am still waiting to hear from Contiental and several travel magazines and newspapers. Thanks all, Ashlynn's Dad.
Thank you for writing to us concerning your problem involving disability
issues. We were sorry to hear of your dissatisfaction and will
investigate your complaint.
We are sending the company a copy of your complaint and asking it to
reply to you, with a copy to us. We will review the response and take
further action, as appropriate. We will advise you of the disposition of
your complaint when our investigation is concluded; however, you should
be aware that due to the time necessary for the carrier to conduct its
own review of your complaint and get back to you and us, coupled with
our need to review your case and the hundreds of others that we receive
each year, our response to you will likely take some time.
In addition to ensuring prompt corrective action when a complaint and
carrier response indicate that the airline's policies and procedures are
not in compliance with the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), the Department
generally will pursue further enforcement action on the basis of a
number of complaints from which it may infer a pattern or practice of
discrimination. However, where one or a few complaints describe
particularly egregious conduct on the part of a carrier and those
complaints are supported by adequate evidence, we will pursue
enforcement action as our resources permit. You should be aware that the
Department is statutorily limited in the remedies it may pursue for
violations of the ACAA. In this regard, the Department may not award
monetary damages or pecuniary relief to the injured party. The
Department is limited to issuing cease and desist orders proscribing
unlawful conduct by carriers in the future and assessing civil penalties
payable to the government. The Department may only take such action
through a settlement or after a formal hearing before an administrative
law judge. Particularly egregious records of repeated violations may
warrant the revocation of a carrier's economic authority to operate. To
obtain a personal monetary award of damages, you would have to institute
a private legal action in the courts.
We have also entered your complaint in our computerized industry
monitoring system, and the company will be charged with the complaint in
our monthly complaint report. This report is made available to the
aviation industry, the news media and the general public so that both
consumers and air travel companies can compare the overall and
disability-related complaint records of individual airlines. We also use
this complaint data to track trends or spot areas of concern which we
feel may warrant further action in the future. This system also serves
as a basis for rulemaking, legislation and research.
I have attached a copy of the publication "New Horizons" that summarizes
the Department of Transportation's ACAA rules. You should note that we
plan to update "New Horizons" in the future in several respects,
particularly to indicate that the ACAA was amended effective April 5,
2000, to cover foreign air carriers, although the rules that implement
the ACAA have not yet been amended to reflect that change.
I hope this information is useful. Thank you for taking the time to
contact us.
Norman A. Strickman
Assistant Director for
Aviation Consumer Protection
U.S. Department of Transportation

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