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Air Canada’s embarrassing Poppy Day backflip

November 10, 2016 Headline News No Comments Print Print Email Email

egtmedia59Since the end of the First World War, the  Flanders poppy has been part of Remembrance Day, commemorating members of the armed forces who have died in the line of duty. But can you wear a poppy with flight attendant’s uniform?

Most airlines say yes, but two days ago Air Canada said no – the poppy violated its uniform policy for flight attendants. Then, just hours later, the airline had a quick rethink and reversed its stance.

Remembrance Day (known informally as Poppy Day) is observed in Commonwealth countries, including Australia and Canada, to mark the Armistice of 11 November 1918. Poppies are also used in Australia as part of Anzac Day observances.

oppies-on-the-roll-of-honour-photograph-taken-by-kerry-alchin

Australian scene. Poppies on the roll of honour. Photograph by Kerry Alchin

 

Canada’s Globe and Mail quoted an internal memo by Air Canada’s vice-president of in-flight service, Renée Smith-Valade, reminding flight attendants that the airline did not allow poppies to be worn on company uniforms.

“I strongly encourage anyone who wants to wear a poppy to observe and respect Remembrance Day to do so when not in uniform,” Smith-Valade wrote.

Instead of poppies, Air Canada would honour war veterans by making announcements on all of its flights.

Complaints quickly followed. Some flight attendants said they thought the rule was “beyond absurd”.

Air Canada got the point.

CBC News quoted a follow-up memo from Smith-Valade: “My apologies for the angst this has caused for some. For those who choose to do so please wear your poppies while in uniform with pride.”

The poppy glitch aside, it has been a good week for Air Canada. The airline reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, with passenger numbers up and costs down.

 

Written by Peter Needham

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