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Air Canada, British Airways Play Blame Game After Stranding a Family in Iran

A Canadian family claims that they were forced to spend more than $8,000 out-of-pocket in order to return home due to a mysterious problem issuing their infant daughter’s boarding pass.

Amir Chegini says the trip with his family to Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) that he booked through Air Canada went off without a hitch until the family attempted to return home in October of last year. The problems all started on the leg of the trip operated by British Airways that would take the Canadian family from Iran to London Heathrow Airport (LHR). An unexplained issue with his infant daughter’s boarding pass prevented the family from departing.

The guy told me ‘your ticket has an issue,’” Chegini told Canadian news network Global News. “They said the Air Canada record doesn’t match the British Airways record … They told me you and your wife don’t have a problem, you can board the plane, but you have to leave your child here.”

After deciding not to leave their small child behind and making countless phone calls to both Air Canada and British Airways in order to resolve the issue, Chegini was told that if the family returned to the airport the following day, the booking issues would be corrected. Unfortunately, he says that the family was faced with the exact same issue on their second day of trying to leave the country for home. Chegini claims that he offered to rebook and pay for the itinerary on the spot, but was reportedly informed that British Airways tickets could not be purchased at the airport.

Faced with little other choice, Chegini reports that he was forced to book new tickets on Emirates Airline. The family was then able to continue the journey home from London on Air Canada as planned (despite the lengthy delay in Iran), but he was out-of-pocket for more than $8,000 by this point.

Perhaps predictably, British Airways and Air Canada both blamed each other for the mix-up. More importantly, both carriers pointed the finger at each other when the Chegini family sought reimbursement for the unexpected expenses.

“From all accounts, (per the notes on the historical file), our Call Centre staff went the extra effort of contacting their British Airways counterpart to rectify the problem on multiple occasion but in each instance they were unwilling to assist with fixing your daughter’s ticket,” the airline told the family in an email published by Global News. “Once again I do offer our sincere apologies were unable to assist further with this issue.”

Though the family has expressed disappointment in Air Canada’s failure to stand by the reservations made in good faith, Chegini counts himself lucky that he had the means and opportunity to fly his family on a more accommodating airline. “If someone else had such a situation, what does it mean that you’re on your own?” he lamented in a recent television interview.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
FlyingNone September 18, 2018

Unbelievably scary to think of the caliber of people who work for the airlines - transporting millions each year yet they cannot handle such a situation ??? - Not a care to even try to help these people, go the extra mile ?

ccyao February 2, 2018

Not surprising given the amount of issues reported on the forums for these two airlines. Hopefully people can just avoid flying them.

siberslava February 1, 2018

So what was the actual issue? Infant in arms on outbound and then too old to be infant in arms on return?

luvtotravel1 February 1, 2018

I would have put the baby up on the counter and said "you don't mind watching him/her until he/she gets this all worked out, do you? :)