BACK IN THE AIR

Air Canada pas­sen­gers’ no-fly list fears are over.

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY JEREMY FRASER jeremy.fraser@cb­post.com

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.

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