A Canadian man was recently removed from a WestJet flight after taking a sleeping pill before boarding; even though airport paramedics evaluated him after he was removed and said he was perfectly fine to fly, WestJet flight staff still refused to allow him and his family to reboard for their flight to Cuba.
Stephen Bennett, a Canadian man from Burnaby, British Columbia, is taking WestJet to task for a recent incident on one of their planes. Bennett and his wife and son were trying to get to Cuba–they were heading there for a family vacation–from a layover in Toronto. Bennett, who is recovering from a stroke, was unable to sleep on the overnight flight from British Columbia to Toronto, so he took a prescribed sleeping pill during the layover. Once the family boarded the flight to Cuba, Bennett instantly fell asleep. He only woke up from his wife nudging him because a flight attendant was removing him from the plane, referring to him as a medical emergency.
Once off the plane, Bennett was evaluated by airport paramedics and was given the all clear to fly. But WestJet staff still would not let him back on the plane, even with a note he was able to obtain from his doctor showing the medicine was prescribed and he was healthy enough to fly.
“It was so humiliating,” Bennett told the BBC. “Basically, the stewardess became judge, jury and executioner.”
The airline hasn’t commented specifically on Bennett’s situation, but says that in the circumstances, WestJet employees acted according to policy. WestJet offered to fly the family to Cuba the next week.
“We stand by our crew’s decisions and believe that what we have offered to this guest is reasonable under the circumstances,” the airline told BBC in a statement.