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Old Sep 21, 11, 6:57 am   #1
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Exclamation Lounge access for minor with status

Hey all,

Some of you know about my recurring problems with lounge access due to my age.

Yesterday was the final straw, I was denied entry to the AC YYZ MLL Domestic for the umpteenth time.

So I wrote a letter to Calin.

Now we'll see if I get any reply.

Cheers!

Quote:
Dear Mr. Rovinescu,

My name is jlisi984, I am 16 years old, and this is my second year as Super Elite, third with status since I was Elite the first year.

I have been told by many an Air Canada agent that I am your youngest Super Elite.

I travel not for leisure or to accompany family, but to perform - I am a concert pianist with engagements all around the world.

Recently I have been frustrated by problems with the simplest of privileges which even the famous and wonderful concierges haven't been able to help me with - getting into lounges.

Every time I try to frequent an Air Canada lounge after 11:00 am (and sometimes even before), I am turned around.

From what I understand, this is due to the liquor laws in effect. While I completely understand this law and abide to it, what I am flummoxed by is the lack of compassion or help by any Air Canada agent. A year ago, I would be let into the lounge as long as I sat near the desk - my main reasons to access a lounge are to use the fast WiFi, eat some soup or hot food offering, and of course sit in a nice and peaceful environment. No longer am I even let into the lounge. Or I would be given a meal voucher of $10 as an apology. Now I am looked upon as if I was trying to bend the rules, trying to scam the lounge agents. While here I am, a true Super Elite with over 150,000 miles a year who signed up for the same privileges as all other Super Elites, lounge access being one of the front and foremost of these.

I can't understand at all why a concierge can't accompany me into the lounge for 15 minutes, or why, in the domestic Toronto lounge, I can't go to the business centre, where there is a large placard "no alcoholic beverages permitted".

I am writing to you after the latest occurrence, today, in Toronto, at the domestic lounge. I once again called the concierge, and she kindly recommended that I write to you.

I understand that this situation is unique, and therefore I hope we can come to an agreeable arrangement until I am 18; something that would let me retain at least a partial imprint of the services offered to all Super Elites, and would reward me for my continued loyalty.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

jlisi984
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Old Sep 21, 11, 7:19 am   #2
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Itll be interesting to see what Calin has to say...Please keep us updated!

I think AC should at least allow you to use the business center at those MLLs where it is physically separated from the actual lounge (e.g. YYZ domestic MLL)
Or maybe have a designated chair next to the door with your name on it where the agents can watch you.

Apart from that Im not sure AC can officially help you. They need to ensure nobody under the age of 18/19 (depending on the province) has any access to the bar, and the last thing they want is to lose their liquor license.

I guess the easiest option would be to approach a friendly looking AC pax and ask them whether theyd be interested in free lounge access. That actually could be a good pick-up line.
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Old Sep 21, 11, 7:26 am   #3
 
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Great letter, very professional. I'm very curious about how Mr. Rovinescu will respond.
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Old Sep 21, 11, 7:27 am   #4
 
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Also ironic that an adult can bring all their unruly and noisy kids in, but a responsible teenager is left out. I also understand the liquor laws, but there are clearly options such as the business centre.

Let us know what happens, and there are many of us willing to assist in any way we can.
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Old Sep 21, 11, 7:30 am   #5
 
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The law is the law I guess, so I am not sure what they can do in this situation.
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Old Sep 21, 11, 7:32 am   #6
 
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If, for example, my non-status 26 year old daughter was traveling on the same plane as you, could you bring her in as a guest and since you had an adult 'supervising' you would be allowed to enter the lounge?

I really don't understand the rules. Especially, since you said 'when you turn 18' and yet in Ontario the drinking age is 19.
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Old Sep 21, 11, 7:43 am   #7
 
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In the SE benefits list, it should then say: Lounge access subject to minimum age requirement.

The law is ridiculous.
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Old Sep 21, 11, 7:50 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynInCanada View Post
If, for example, my non-status 26 year old daughter was traveling on the same plane as you, could you bring her in as a guest and since you had an adult 'supervising' you would be allowed to enter the lounge?

I really don't understand the rules. Especially, since you said 'when you turn 18' and yet in Ontario the drinking age is 19.
YYC's drinking age is 18 (AB, MB, QC is all 18), guess the policy is no minors once the alcohol comes out, not sure what can be done as their hands are tied here, it might be easier to find another passenger on your flight and offer them access in exchange for 'supervising' you, where it would be your guest's responsibility compared to the agent/concierge's (and thus AC's) responsibility for supervision

pretty sure the lounge access is always subject to it's T&Cs, hope AC can find a solution, but I'd hope it's not hard to find someone to guest in
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Old Sep 21, 11, 7:56 am   #9
 
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Do liquor laws pertain to a minor's presence in an establishment serving liquor, or to their having access to or being served liquor? There is a reasonable accommodation for the latter. I'd suggest the compromise is access to the business lounge with the SE agreeing, in writing, that if he imbibes any alcohol, he will have ALL of his privileges SE suspended and that he will reimburse Air Canada for any fines. As a concert pianist, he has a reputation to uphold, and an income sufficient to post bond.
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Old Sep 21, 11, 8:02 am   #10
 
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really annoys me when you given the status and not allowed into the MLL (because of some booze crap).......and how is this different from a parent bringing their kid into the MLL then leaves to do their own stuff........ seriously i've seen parents bringing teenage kids into the MLL to drink (and to be honest, probably have done so myself in the past).

jan - you have my support....and if u have issues let us know and hopefully we can get u in
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Old Sep 21, 11, 8:40 am   #11
 
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Bravo on an excellent letter.

As has been alluded, the solution is simple. As you walk in, the agent asks you "do you acknowledge that you are under my adult supervision?". You answer "yes". Every so often they come around, because you nicely stay close, or in a well defined spot. That easily satisfies the legal requirement. If you ever violate the trust, as was said you forfeit your SE status.

I hope AC respond intelligently. If they do not, we should set up a thread for you and your travels and one of us will be delighted to escort you when our schedules overlap.

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Old Sep 21, 11, 8:45 am   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fin 645 View Post
Also ironic that an adult can bring all their unruly and noisy kids in, but a responsible teenager is left out. I also understand the liquor laws, but there are clearly options such as the business centre.

Let us know what happens, and there are many of us willing to assist in any way we can.
Whatever the law says, the situation is really stupid. My kids (3 to 12 years old) have been roaming that same lounge (going by the front staff many times) and there was no issue. Why would there be an issue with jlisi984?

And don't get me started with these laws, which are a big reason why kids get into alcohol. What these laws get is that every 19-year-old birthday party consists of a multi-bar binge-drinking
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Old Sep 21, 11, 8:45 am   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasper2009 View Post
Or maybe have a designated chair next to the door with your name on it where the agents can watch you.
I was going to suggest AC name a plane after you.. but this works as well!
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Old Sep 21, 11, 8:56 am   #14
 
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+1

Totally ridiculous...especially since people can (and do) bring in their kids and don't supervise them. So obviously, it's not a case of a minor being in the lounge area...
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Old Sep 21, 11, 10:09 am   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinchote View Post
And don't get me started with these laws, which are a big reason why kids get into alcohol. What these laws get is that every 19-year-old birthday party consists of a multi-bar binge-drinking
+1! I'm thankful for my European upbringing that made no bones out of alcohol in the home. It spared me the need to binge when I became of age and taught me how to be responsible with it.

Excellent letter jlisi984! Please do let us know of the outcome. The situation is ridiculous, and lacks common sense. I too am a musician who travels all the time for a living. However, now that I'm in my 30s I find getting carded in any way a complement I can see your frustration, and if I'm ever able to help you out in the lounge situation I'll do whatever I can.

My 60-year-old pianist recently got asked for ID as he only APPROACHED the bar in a UA RCC in ORD. What he wanted to order? A ginger ale, and no alcohol whatsoever. The stickler employee claimed he was "just following the rules and he could lose his job if he didn't". Again, it's the lawmakers I fault for lack of common sense, not so much the employees (although some take following the rules to ridiculous extremes!).

Best of luck to you my friend!
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