Air Canada Counter

Before David Dao: Air Canada Overbooks Flights, Bumps Off Woman And 10-Year-Old

It appears that the airline bumping trend has been going on for a while, even before David Dao, the abused United Airlines passenger, made headlines after being dragged off a flight earlier this month. Apparently, Air Canada also has a habit of overbooking its seats, which led a woman to miss her $10,000 Galapagos cruise with National Geographic, and a 10-year-old boy’s family to let go of their initial flight booking, according to several sources.

On April 1, Air Canada bumped off Toronto resident Vicky Russell from an outbound flight to Miami after the airline claimed that the flight was overbooked. Vicky was chosen not to board the plane because, according to Air Canada, she didn’t have a “valid ticket,” CBC News reported. What was ironic was that she was just issued her boarding pass and got her luggage checked in. She checked in at 8:00 a.m., nearly three hours before her scheduled flight that day.

“It was extremely upsetting,” Russell told CBC News. “The woman could not have been more rude, hostile. In all my years of traveling, I have never had a travel person treat me so badly.”

“They could not have cared less. Time did not seem to have any importance to them at all.”

Russell showed proof of her booking to the Air Canada agent, however, the ensuing delay caused her to miss her flight. She was asked to seek further help at the customer service counter to book another flight, but she found out again that it was already too late. Russell missed her connecting flight in Miami and cruise to Galapagos Islands as a result.

In total, she lost $10,750 for missing her trip. Air Canada sent her a $800 check, though, for her convenience. Luckily, the tour company which arranged Russell’s National Geographic tour of the Galapagos Islands offered to book her another cruise, all expenses paid.

Another incident involved a family. Brett Doyle’s family went through a travel ordeal upon learning that one of his sons was chosen to be bumped off their flight. His family was supposed to take a flight from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island to Costa Rica, but upon finding out that his son had been bumped, Doyle had to drive his family over to two more airports to finally catch a connecting flight to their destination. They even had to spend the night at Halifax.

Although the family eventually fulfilled their vacation in Costa Rica, the nuisance undoubtedly wasted a lot of their time. Doyle’s family have since been compensated by Air Canada for the trouble and received a $2,481 Air Canada voucher, in addition to the $992 check for their expenses.

Air Canada has been in the hot seat recently after a string of negative publicity caused by their airline bumping practices. However, their unreliable customer service wasn’t just limited to those incidents. On Wednesday, CTV Toronto reported that an Indian man was denied entry to Mexico after an Air Canada personnel accidentally destroyed the man’s passport while scanning it at the airport.

Stevi Newman, the wife of the Indian passenger, Aman Kaushik, tells the news channel, “The problem is when the woman at Air Canada scanned his passport before boarding the plane. It ripped.” Newman added that her husband is a permanent resident of Canada, which doesn’t require him to apply for a tourist visa to Mexico. However, he was ordered to return home when immigration authorities at the airport in Mexico saw the damaged passport.

Newman added that her husband is a permanent resident of Canada, which doesn’t require him to apply for a tourist visa to Mexico. However, he was ordered to return home when immigration authorities at the airport in Mexico saw the damaged passport.

The couple, who was going to Cancun for a holiday, was obviously dismayed. “You wait so long to have a vacation and then that happens?” Newman told CTV Toronto. The entire fiasco cost them $5,000, including missed reservations, extra

The entire fiasco cost them $5,000, including missed reservations, extra flights, and other miscellaneous costs. A representative from Air Canada noted that they are conducting an investigation on the matter.

CNBC reported that airline bumping is more common than you think. In the United States alone, a study by the Department of Transportation revealed that 500,000 passengers out of 615 million “have been bumped from a flight” annually. Out of this number, 50,000 passengers are “unwillingly expelled” from their flights.

What separates the good airlines from the bad ones though is how often the airline bumping occurs. For example, Virgin America and Hawaiian Airlines have the least incidences, at one passenger per 100,000 customers over the past four years. On the other end of the spectrum are ExpressJet and Skywest, which ejected an estimated 20 passengers per 100,000 per year, during the same period.

[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]

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