Shanty Thivakaran says that her family was not only involuntarily bumped from a flight with plenty of empty seats, they were then charged more than $3,300 extra to reach their destination.
A family of five claims that Air Canada improperly denied them boarding on a flight form Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR). The Thivakaran family says that the airline not only misdirected them and bumped them from their flight, but then charged them over $3,000 to rebook their travel itinerary when they returned to the airport the following day.
“I’m never traveling on Air Canada again,” Shanty Thivakaran told CBC News. ”Even if I was on my death bed and I needed immediate treatment in U.S., I’d rather die than go on Air Canada.”
According to Thivakaran, a planned family trip to Sri Lanka went off the rails almost as soon as she, her husband, their two young children and her mother-in-law arrived at the airport. She told the news network that an Air Canada employee kicked off the misadventure by directing the family to stand in the wrong line. Even though Thivakaran say that the five-person entourage arrived at the airport two-and-a-half-hours early, by the time her clan was finally able to check-in for the flight, a ticket agent dismissed them with the words, “A family of five is a no-go.”
Thivakaran says the family was told to go home despite the fact that there were seats available on the plane. Adding insult to injury, when the family returned to the airport the next day, they were told that they had been listed as “no-shows” for their original flight and were forced to rebook at the substantially elevated price. The family had taken out a travel insurance policy, but learned too late that the policy would only cover a small portion of the unexpected out-of-pocket-expense.
“I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry,” Thivakaran told CBC Business reporter Sophia Harris. “I never felt so helpless. I felt like I was banging my head against the wall. This is money we worked hard to earn, and there’s no reason why we should be ripped off.”
When reached for comment, Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick would only tell Harris, “I cannot get into specific issues.” The airline has since offered the Thivakaran family 25 percent off a future roundtrip flight as a gesture of “goodwill.” Shanty Thivakaran calls the airlines’ gesture “too little, too late.”