BACK IN THE AIR
Air Canada passengers’ no-fly list fears are over.
Three Glace Bay men who were threatened with being placed on Air Canada’s no-fly list after an incident at the Halifax airport in December are breathing easier.
David Brown and his son Brad Brown, along with nephew Billy MacIntyre, received word from Air Canada in February letting them know they were never put on the company’s nofly list.
Ann Marie Brown, David’s wife, who booked the tickets, said the three men were happy with the result.
“After waiting all through Christmas holidays not knowing if they were able to fly, they were quite happy to hear the news,” she said.
The three men who work in Fort McMurray, left the Alberta community on Dec. 18 to travel to Cape Breton for the holidays.
Their problems started in Toronto when the flight to Nova Scotia was delayed. They arrived at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport around 12:30 a.m. on Dec. 19, only to find their connecting flight to Sydney had left 20 minutes prior, minus a couple of dozen passengers.
Shortly after arriving in Halifax, passengers approached an Air Canada employee to find out their options and were told ground transportation would be arranged for them to leave immediately.
When the men, who had been travelling eight hours already that day, asked the employee if they had options other than ground transportation, the employee stormed off to get a police officer, for what they say was for no reason.
After explaining the situation to the police officer, the men waited another two-and-a-half hours to find out it was ground transportation or nothing. They accepted the decision and travelled home by taxi to Glace Bay in the middle of the night.
Ann Marie Brown said she sent an email about the incident to Air Canada’s corporate office shortly after the men arrived home.
In mid-January, the Browns received an email from Air Canada saying it was investigating the incident. A month later, they received another email, this time from Paul Kenny at the company’s head office, apologizing for what happened and letting them know they weren’t on the no-fly list, but no compensation was offered.
“We waited a long time to hear from Air Canada,” said Ann Marie Brown. “I spoke to other individuals who were on the flight that had to be taxied out that night and they all received compensation from Halifax to Sydney, either a voucher or a discount.”
Not happy with the response, Ann Marie Brown again emailed Kenny asking for compensation. A few days later, Brown received a phone call from Kenny.
“He said because there was transportation provided (it) doesn’t matter what happened prior to the transportation or how long they waited … if they got transportation free of charge from Halifax to Sydney, that’s all they could do,” said Brown. “I just feel something more should have been done.”
The Browns thought about taking Air Canada to small claims court but because the three men work in Alberta, Ann Marie Brown said it wouldn’t be feasible.
“If anything ever happens again, maybe we will just add the two things together,” said Brown.
The men returned to work in Fort McMurray in early March.
Ann Marie Brown said the three men flew with Air Canada, a company with which they had no problems prior to December.
“They only have two options here and WestJet isn’t here all the time,” said Brown. “They’d have to travel to Halifax to get WestJet, while Air Canada flies out of Sydney year-round.”
“I guess you call that devoted customers,” laughed Brown. “We’ve put it behind us now.”
The three men are expected to return to Cape Breton in mid-June and Brown said her husband, son and nephew again plan to fly with Air Canada.