Positive Experience on America West

Posted on: Tue, 07/22/2003 - 6:10am
RitchiesGirl's picture
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Joined: 05/12/2001 - 09:00

My family flew from Phoenix to Pittsburgh and back again last month. My youngest son is PA. I spoke to someone on their disability hotline one week before the flight who assured me that there'd be no problems with the epi-pens, but to make sure that the prescription label was on the boxes. I took 3 epi-pens, Benadryl (liquid and chewable), some homeopathic stuff, and 4 masks. We took our own meals and snacks, too. We were allowed to preboard, at which point I wiped off the armrests, trays, etc. with Clorox wipes. The flight crew was nice and very relieved that I was responsible enough to supply everything my son needed. They did serve peanuts, but we had no problems. We didn't even smell them at all.

I firmly believe that although the best solution would be a peanut free environment, this is nearly impossible. Instead of complaining about the food, take your own. Be proactive, not reactive.

We had everything, including my shoes, x-rayed at PHX and PIT. There was not one question about the epi-pens and no one searched my bag or checked the prescription labels. I didn't expect any problems, and didn't have any problems. (I must add that I was "prayed up" on our days of travel and knew that God was in control of the situation.)

As a side note, during our extended visit to family we ate out several times. If you are in Pittsburgh, go to any Eat'n Park restaurant. They give the kids free smiley face cookies for dessert that are huge and made right there, and they are totally safe. The waitress gave my son two of them because she was excited that they were safe for him!

Posted on: Sun, 03/21/2004 - 4:11pm
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

We booked a trip on America West for this May with my 11 year old PA son from Oakland to Phoenix. Has anyone had any recent experiance with America West? I sent them an e-mail requesting that they serve something other than peanuts. Their response was that they could not guarantee a peanut free flight, so they do not offer them. They did give an 800 # which I will call tomorrow. Any suggestions?
[This message has been edited by Alex's Mom (edited March 22, 2004).]

Posted on: Mon, 03/22/2004 - 2:50pm
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I got an e-mail back from America West customer service that said they could not guarantee a peanut free flight. All that I had asked was that they not serve peanuts on our particular flight.
I called them this morning. Again asking that they serve an alternate snack on our flight. They said they couldn't guarantee a peanut free flight. I wasn't asking for a guarantee of no peanuts anywhere on the plane, just that they not serve them. They said they couldn't guarantee a peanut free flight and since they couldn't guarantee a peanut free flight that they would still serve peanuts.
My husband took over the phone call from there. They ended up transferring him to their legal department who stated that they are not required to offer peanut free flights. Again, he stated (as I had) that we weren't asking for any guarantee that the plane was 100% peanut free, we understand that they can't control the public or even that there may be a peanut here or there from a previous flight, we were simply asking that they not serve peanuts on our flight that day and that would be a reasonable accommodation for our son. They said they are not required to accommodate us and suggested that we try another airline.
Needless to say, we cancelled the reservation. We have rebooked with Southwest. They have been great so far. They suggested an early flight because the planes get a thorough cleaning each night. Also, they will serve pretzels or some other non-peanut snack and have the onboard staff make an announcement that a person with a severe peanut allergy is onboard and ask all passengers to please refrain from openning any peanut containing food that they may have brought with them until after they leave the plane.
The did explain that they cannot guarantee that there will not be any peanuts on the plane, but that they would do everything they could to try to ensure a safe flight for our son.
I'll let you know how it goes.

Posted on: Tue, 03/23/2004 - 5:10am
RitchiesGirl's picture
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Joined: 05/12/2001 - 09:00

Sorry to hear about your experience with America West, Alex's mom. I wish you all the best for a safe, uneventful flight. I misread your message -- trying to do too much at the same time. Anyway, best of luck and let us know how Southwest does!
[This message has been edited by RitchiesGirl (edited March 23, 2004).]

Posted on: Thu, 03/25/2004 - 1:45pm
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Ritches Girl,
Thanks for your response. I was just wondering if your son is airborne allergic? Alex can't be near any peanuts. He's now 11. He once had a reaction when three girls in his class were sharing a piece of homemade fudge that they had got from a child from a different classroom. They were very aware of Alex's allergy and did not realize that the fudge had peanut butter in it. Anyway, his face swelled and he had hives just from being near the fudge.
Long story short, he's very sensitive.

Posted on: Tue, 04/13/2004 - 1:37am
milleran's picture
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Joined: 04/13/2004 - 09:00

I had a similar experience as that of Alex's Mom recently on America West when we attempted to book passage for a spring break vacation to Phoenix.
My six-year old daughter suffers from PA.
We recently tried to purchase four tickets from Des Moines Iowa to Phoenix Arizona. My wife mentioned the nature of my daughter

Posted on: Tue, 04/13/2004 - 5:03am
DeeCee's picture
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Joined: 04/12/2004 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by milleran:
[b]I had a similar experience as that of Alex's Mom recently on America West when we attempted to book passage for a spring break vacation to Phoenix.
My six-year old daughter suffers from PA.
We recently tried to purchase four tickets from Des Moines Iowa to Phoenix Arizona. My wife mentioned the nature of my daughter

Posted on: Tue, 04/13/2004 - 10:04am
RitchiesGirl's picture
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Joined: 05/12/2001 - 09:00

Alex's mom, to answer your question, my son, Alec, doesn't seem to be airborne allergic. On one flight his eyes got itchy, but I gave him a homeopathic med and he was fine. However, he went to a college baseball game a few weeks ago and there was someone a few seats away eating peanuts, and Alec had no reaction at all. I am hopeful (and prayerful) that he'll "outgrow" his allergy. In the meantime, I am really glad to see that he's not as sensitive as he once was.

Posted on: Tue, 05/25/2004 - 3:52am
AnneH's picture
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Joined: 05/25/2004 - 09:00

We didn't get to fly on Sunday b/c they insisted on serving peanuts. "Ma'am, we'll be serving peanuts on this flight. If that's a problem for you, you'll need to get off the aircraft." We'd called in advance, notified the head flight attendant. We were supposed to be on a week-long vacation with our friends. My 20 month old severely PA son was staring at the tears rolling down my face as I pleaded with them not to serve peanuts.

Posted on: Fri, 06/11/2004 - 1:54am
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Southwest did great! We had a wonderful trip.
We took their advice. We flew on an early flight. And, we asked at the ticket counter, the gate and asked the flight attendants if the flight was to be peanut free. They all had recieved the request and all seemed happy to comply.

Posted on: Fri, 06/11/2004 - 3:57pm
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Joined: 04/27/2002 - 09:00

I will NEVER EVER EVER fly AmericaWest again - it's very apparant that they do not care about ANY of their flyers...
I am 23 years old, PA - both airborne & injested - severly allergic...I am also in & out of a wheelchair for some neurological problems - I especially use my chair when I'm traveling as my legs will give out on me, and I will collapse, but that is besides the point. I had to get to San Antonio, TX from Denver, CO for a family function. We were all set to drive down & my mom called & said "I got y'all all on a flight down here." I groaned because I hate having to deal with airlines & airports & everything else...But when she had briefly mentioned the peanut problem, they assured her there wouldn't be a problem. I called the 800 #, and asked them as well, about the peanuts - THEY assured me there wouldn't be a problem, as they do not serve peanuts, but that they couldn't guarantee that other passengers wouldn't be bringing on peanuts. I got to the airport & checked in, at the luggage counter I asked the lady to read to me the notes in my profile, since I had called ahead with a few special requests - She pulled them up, printed them & showed me that I had called about the peanut problem...Again, she assured me that they serve pretzels, but that they couldn't guarantee that it would be completely safe for me, since they don't do (in her words) any vacuuming of the planes. We got up to the gate, again I repeated the same information & the lady there told me "well, I don't know because they will be serving peanuts on the flight...We just won't give you a snack" I said no I'm that allergic to them, that they cannot be served! She worked with me to get me on a different flight plan where I wouldn't be on 3 different planes, but just 2, to minimize any problems. I got on the plane & talked to the flight attendants - they at first hesitated...but when I started breaking out from just the amount of stuff on the seats, they said "we most definatly won't be serving them." I took some benedryl & a shot of an epinephrine inhaler (bad for the heart, but works wonders for my breathing at times!) We got to Las Vegas (connection) and I told the gate-people the same thing..They told me they'd go talk to the flight crew & get back to me. This guy comes up to me & says "Ma'am, someone just told me that you told them that you had called ahead about peanut allergies, but I just looked at your res notes & you never called" in a very accusatory tone - I said "Uhh but I did, the lady that checked me in printed them out & showed me the notes - so don't try to pull the wool over my eyes." He then continued to say "If you feel that by boarding this plane you will be at risk or risk having to do an emergency landing, then I would suggest not boarding this plane." I said (very exasperated, at this point, as it's 2 am!!!) "Then HOW the hell am I supposed to get to San Antonio? Are you just trying to get me stranded here in Vegas? It's not like it's that difficult for you to not serve the peanuts to others - who needs peanuts at this time of night anyway?" The guy said "well, we can compensate you for your misunderstanding" I said "No, this entire trip has shown me a total lack of customer service from your airlines - we will not be flying you any longer when we get home...Not only are you uncooperative as far as peanut allergies - but I've seen a total lack of competence when dealing with ANY sort of situation - When we went to board the plane at the last place, usually I have assistance getting down the ramp, because of the way that it is, it has to be done backwards - and nobody helped me, you try going down a steep ramp, backwards in a wheelchair, while behind 2 small children...then there was no assistance for me to get to my seat, I had to basically crawl and push my bag at the same time...I've been made false statements to, I've been accused of lieing, and now harassed by you." He told me "I'm so sorry ma'am - I'll go talk to the crew." He informed me that he had informed the pilot about the PA & that I was "very unhappy"...
When I approached the flight attendant on the flight, again she said "Well I *have* to serve these - they are the only snack we have". I ended up breathing through a spit-up on cloth diaper, with my epi pen in hand, benedryl in my system & taking several shots of the epinephrine inhaler to get through the flight. I'm still all broken out, and immediately got home to my parents house, showered, had everything washed, and I'm just miserable...Unfortunatly, I have to do this all again on Tuesday to get home (and I can't change any of my travel plans!!!!) I'm so scared - and I'm traveling with my sister & her family (a toddler & infant) and they have made it clear that if I have to have the plane emergency landed, that they will be very angry with me - but what am I supposed to do?
I agree with whomever said we need to start a letter writing campaign. I've already spoken with several of my non-PA friends who have agreed that they will make it a point to never fly with AmericaWest EVER...

Posted on: Mon, 06/14/2004 - 4:55am
AnneH's picture
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Joined: 05/25/2004 - 09:00

This is just so unacceptable. What about the Americans with Disabilities Act/Air Carrier Accessibility Act? I'm aware that USDOT guidelines with respect to this issue changed in the last few years after lobbying from the peanut industry. However, "accessible to" & "usable by" doesn't mean telling someone they can have their money back for not flying. Some destinations are served by only one carrier. This means that severely allergic people can't travel by plane. Where the distance is long, that's tantamount to saying they can't travel at all. The accommodation is so simple - don't serve peanuts. The alternatives are completely outrageous. This seems like a class action waiting to happen.

Posted on: Mon, 06/14/2004 - 5:01am
zigo230's picture
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Joined: 05/29/2003 - 09:00

Wow, quite a story. Hope you make it back ok.
I recently called America West about a nonstop flight BWI-PHX. I told them I would be traveling with a PA person and they were very honest about our predicament. The customer relations woman on the other end apologized and said that "3 years ago the airline made the decision not to honor peanut free flights anymore. They just could not guarantee the safety." She did not try to sugar coat it. She basically told me I'd be better off choosing another airline.
Our experience with Southwest has been pretty good so I guess we'll just stick with them.

Posted on: Thu, 03/31/2005 - 9:20am
AnneH's picture
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Joined: 05/25/2004 - 09:00

Bumping

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