Recently, Air Canada denied a seat to Matthew Burns, a flier with a severe peanut allergy. Burns was planning to fly to Fiji for two weeks of volunteering. Matthew’s mother April said her son has traveled extensively, and has never before been refused a seat. “We fly about four or five times a year to different countries,” she said, “and there were no problems, no questions, nothing.”
The 19-year-old was not allowed on last weekend’s flight because the airline said he had not given them enough advance notice about his allergy, according to CBC Canada (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2011/05/10/ns-peanut-all…). The ticket was booked through a third party, and though he told them of his severe peanut allergy, they did not give this information directly to Air Canada, and apparently the third-party company did not pass along the information either.
He arrived at the airport for the departure, armed with allergy medications including an EpiPen, but Air Canada would not let him board the plane. A supervisor told Matthew’s father “Your son is not boarding this flight today unless you get in contact with Air Canada medical desk.” The family was then on their own to navigate the red tape, and Matthew missed his flight.
Matthew re-booked a flight on American Airlines leaving a few hours later on the same day. He was able to board that flight with no problems from the airline. Now, his mother is asking Air Canada for a refund over the incident. “I especially want people with peanut and nut allergies to realize that when you book a flight with Air Canada, you could be denied boarding and it’s not right,” Burns said.
Air Canada wouldn’t comment specifically on the case, but said that its allergy policy is clearly listed on its website. The airline requires 48 hours notice prior to departure. According to the airline, this time is needed to create a peanut-free zone around the passenger. It may also ask for a medical certificate outlining the allergy.
Have you ever had problems trying to fly with a peanut allergy?