Rebooking problems


Hi, Guys, We just got back from Disney (They're so great there about food allergies-I think they should spread their magic in all restaurants, and airlines, too). Anyway, we chose American Airlines partly because of everyone here recommending them about how they handle the food allergies. My son is PA. We did get a call from a Special Assistance Agent and it was in our record that my son was PA, they said they didn't serve peanuts (but mixed nuts in First Class). It would be up to the flight crew as to whether an announcement would be made. I was ok with all that. On our way home our flight was cancelled (after we all sat in the plane on the ground for two hours) because of power problems at the airport where we were supposed to be landing. So we needed to rebook, and with so many passengers to rebook, American needed to try using other carriers. They tried booking us on another airline (Continental) but couldn't tell me what Continental's peanut policy was. I didn't find out till we reached the Continental check-in counter that they did serve peanuts. When I explained my son's allergy and why this would be a problem for us, the clerk there said "Just say no, thank you." When I explained further, the severity of his allergy, she said that for special dietary concerns you need to give them 48 hours notice. I tried to remain calm, and I said I can understand that (because I know how early I started notifying American), but that in this situation, I didn't know 48 hours ahead that I'd be switching airlines. Well, American wasn't able to electronically process boarding passes for us in time to board anyway, so I wasn't actually forced into a situation where I'd have to decline the seats, but that's what I would have done. We had to go back to the American terminal and start over again, we finally got home (to another airport, but still close enough). Is it really too difficult for airlines to have their food allergy policy easy to be informed of (even by other airlines) for situations like this where you're frantically trying to arrange flights spur of the moment? And, why can't people survive without nuts for a few hours? In my son's situation, he is extremely allergic, but even if there were may contains, I wouldn't feel I was putting him at risk. There are lots of choices that are quite delicious that passengers could enjoy without filling airplanes with peanut dust and smells. I know the airlines can't stop people from bringing them on board, but I'd think the number of people that might, would be small (plus American did say they'd change our seats if necessary, if someone near us was eating peanut products). Anyway, my advice is, if you're planning a trip, and you're nut allergic, find out ahead of time the policies of other carriers, so that you know which ones would be ok to switch to if you needed to in a hurry.(I did know of some that would not be safe, but I didn't know about Continental). Thanks for listening. Enjoy your summer! KathyL

On Jul 21, 2006

Continental is so bi-polar about their peanut responses, that it's difficult to know ahead of time.

If you make a big enough fuss with them, you'll get things your way everytime...I've only had one airline that ever refused to remove peanuts from a flight after me fighting with them and that was AmericaWest.

I've flown continental a lot, because that was the only choice I had to fly into Guam when my parents were stationed there -- so I became really good at knowing their buzzwords to change their mind. I had the frequent flier miles with them, so when I had to make an emergency trip to TX last fall (well, return from TX & then fly back in March for a wedding) I went ahead and used my miles (my sister drove us down there, but I had to be back before the rest of the family for work) to return home. I experienced resistance with them, explained the situation, cried, took benedryl (in the presence of the head flight attendant), explained that I was in a time crunch and could not wait for another flight, explained why I was there and had booked with very little notice, etc...Low and behold, they changed what they were serving to pretzels -- which I refused to take on principal anyway (may contains..They're like Nut King brand or something like that!)

AmericaWest, I actually had to hold one of my nephew's cloth diapers (with spit up on it, none-the-less) over my face the entire (2 hour) flight, because they wouldn't work with me, and I had no way of getting to Texas other than through them. They actually had the audacity to offer peanuts to my sister, nephews & brother-in-law who were sitting next to me. (this, after having had the gate attendant call me a liar and make me have to deal with getting myself on the flight on my own (I was in a wheelchair at the time)) I don't care if AmericaWest = part of USAirways and nut free now, I won't fly them.

On Jul 22, 2006

Another thing to know about Continental is they code share with America West. So you can book on Contintental, and get AWA, or vice-versa. Most airlines have code-share agreements with at least one other airline, so that is something to look into while booking flights.