Regarding “Flying With an Allergy,” Feb.10: The article by P.K. Daniel was informative. Let us share our experience that goes a little deeper and may help others with allergy issues.
We flew from LAX to Amsterdam in mid-September with Delta and returned to LAX from Rome on Alitalia in mid-October.
When we made our reservations online we went to a section on each of their websites to let them know that Joy had a serious nut allergy.
We followed up with a call to both reservation sites to confirm that the information was in their systems. They confirmed that the info was on file.
When we arrived at Delta check-in we notified the agent of the allergy issue. Yes, the information was there.
At the departure gate we made contact with the agent, and we were allowed to board early so we could wipe down our seating area.
While taxiing the flight attendant announced that two people had nut allergies, and they would not be serving nuts during the flight.
Everyone was cooperative, and we had a great flight.
When we checked in at Alitalia, we let the agent know about Joy's nut allergy and that the information should be on their screen.
At first the agent did not understand about allergies. She conferred with other colleagues, and they found the information.
After more discussion, they let us know that our seats had been changed and we were to proceed to the departure gate.
Once we got to the gate we were met by an agent who told us what they were doing for us.
She took us on the airplane and turned us over to a senior flight attendant who helped us get to our seats.
They were at the very back, and we were the only ones in our three-seat row.
Other folks around us were also asked not to eat nuts. Everyone was cooperative.
Throughout the flight the attendants checked on us frequently. We had another great flight.
Joy always has an EpiPen with her. We are thankful to both airlines for going the extra mile to help us have a wonderful vacation.
Lou and Joy Shaup
A gift for our troubles
Regarding “How I Got a Hotel Refund,” On the Spot, by Christopher Reynolds, Feb. 3: Reynolds’ article reminded me of a similar experience I had in Greece about 20 years ago. We stayed in an old hotel in a small town on New Year’s Eve, looking forward to visiting the monasteries in the area the next day. It turned out we were the only family in the hotel that night.
When we awoke in the morning we found there was no hot water in our room. We dressed and went downstairs to eat our included breakfast; the dining room was dark.
After we retrieved our luggage and went to the front desk to check out, we were finally greeted by a very sleepy and hungover desk clerk.
Although we struggled with the language barrier, we got him to understand why we were dissatisfied and were checking out early. He was mortified, excused himself to go to a back room, and returned with a traditional oil lamp that he offered as a gift, a gesture of goodwill.
We tried to refuse, but he insisted. “No hot water, no breakfast — ugly face,” he said, referring to his unshaven, uncombed presence. We had a great laugh and still enjoy showing the lamp to guests in our home while sharing the story.
Laughing across languages
Regarding “Learning Another Language Is So Fun It’s Embarrassing,” On the Spot, by Catharine Hamm, Jan. 27. Hamm’s article reminded me of an embarrassing error I made in Paris several years ago. I learned to speak French in high school and college, and after a few days of immersion in France, could carry on a reasonable conversation, though with an obvious "foreign" accent. I entered a Metro station intending to buy a carnet, a pack of 10 tickets, but instead, asked the agent for a duck (une canard). The agent didn't bat an eye and gave me the tickets, though I suspect that night she shared her amusement with family and friends.
On my way to becoming fluent in French, I startled a group of French friends by complaining that bakery goods in grocery stores are full of condoms. Lesson learned: Don't just assume that the Frenchified version (préservatif) of an English word (preservative) has the same meaning.
Thanks for the laughs and good memories.
After living in L.A. for 20 years, I had an epiphany as I handed my parking ticket to the Spanish-speaking attendant I had previously ignored. I suddenly realized there was an entire culture I knew nothing about.
I decided to learn Spanish at Berlitz, as its method resonated with my particular mind-set. My life (and my brain) expanded as I enthusiastically gabbed with people who overlooked my lack of grammar and limited vocabulary, both in L.A. and abroad.
Now that I am 76, the French I learned in college mixes with my Spanish and English. My sentences may be garbled, but my enthusiasm for communication and my ongoing new experiences continue to override my embarrassment.
Ruth Kramer Ziony