The dreaded Bump: it's a hassle all travelers have come to expect, and in the increasingly-customer-unfriendly airline industry, it's only going to get worse. However, Canadian airline Porter Airlines took things a step too far, bumping a teenager and her father from an overbooked flight - a teenager who was en route to a chemotherapy appointment.
Greg Ulok and his 16-year-old daughter Xenia were recently waiting to board a Porter Airlines flight from Thunder Bay to Toronto, where she was to receive chemotherapy for a form of cancer known as lymphoblastic lymphoma. Unfortunately, their flight was overbooked. But rather than ask for volunteers to take a cash voucher and a later flight, which is standard in both the airline industry at large and Porter Airlines specifically, according to CBC, Porter Airlines instead bumped the teen and her father because they had paid the lowest fare for their seats.
Greg explained that he was rather shocked by this, considering that any number of passengers would have gladly taken the $500 offered to take a later flight, if Porter Airlines had followed procedure.
"In my opinion, the best answer for that would be to ask for volunteers. None of that happened. We were kept to the last second, told at the last minute that we're not going to get our plane... The $500 they offer for people not to get on a plane... there would be at least a few people that would stay behind and take the $500."Speaking via The Star, a Porter Airlines spokesperson confirmed that bumping the teen chemotherapy patient was a failure of routine airline policy.
"It is policy to ask for volunteers first — with travel vouchers provided as incentive — and then it is based on fare class. Of course, there are extenuating circumstances that are taken into consideration. This would include people with connecting flights or travelling for medical reasons. When our team at the airport became aware of the circumstances, it was too late to board them on that flight …"Fortunately, Greg and Xenia were able to board a later flight on a competing airline, and make it to Xenia's chemotherapy appointment in time. A passenger offered to pay for their tickets, but Greg said he could afford to pay the fare. He was, however, grateful for the fellow passenger's kind gesture.
After the family's oredeal gained attention in the media, a Porter Airlines representative called Greg to apologize personally for the mix-up, and gave the family five free round-trip tickets as compensation.
[Image courtesy of: CBC]