The largest expert travel community:
  • 735,547 Total members
  • 6,569 Users online now
  • 1,673,884 Threads
  • 30,110,250 Posts

“It Was Humiliating”: Should Everyone Wait Until After Takeoff to Take A Sleeping Pill?

“It Was Humiliating”: Should Everyone Wait Until After Takeoff to Take A Sleeping Pill?
Jennifer Billock

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.


[Image: Flickr]

View Comments (4)


  1. CaptHolic

    November 6, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    West Jet was so far off a reasonable response on this one. I hope this family not only gets full reimbursement from WJ for their original vacation and expenses incurred, but also gets another complete vacation out of it. At a minimum!
    I would definitely be next week’s “worst passenger of the week” if they attempted to remove me for sleeping…
    I fly a route with LH regularly that has a 1 hour stop, an hour into the journey. By the time I get to my seat I have generally been up for about 30+ hours (night shift then a full day of land travel). I can’t tell you how many times I have slept through the entire first 3 hours. Take off, landing and second takeoff included!

  2. chavala

    November 7, 2018 at 8:04 am

    I don’t get it — could they not wake him up or something? I often fall asleep as soon as I sit down and put my NC headphones on. This family deserves serious compensation and the FA should be sent for retraining.

  3. flying_geek

    November 7, 2018 at 8:30 am

    I tend to take a sleeping pill on TATL flights to Europe – I try to eat at FlagShip Dining and then take a sleeping pill once we are above 10K feet and the odds of an emergency evacuation become pretty low – also, at least on AA – the bed doesn’t always work when the plane is still climbing at a relevant angle.

    I would consider taking a pill earlier to be a relevant safety risk in the event of an evacuation which may put others at risk as well.
    That said, there should be nothing illegal about taking a pill earlier – and especially with being cleared by the airport paramedics – this looks like denied boarding to me – and flying the pax a week later does not seem to be remotely an acceptable remedy.

  4. makrom

    November 9, 2018 at 6:53 am

    This sounds like a typical case of “there’s more to the story”.
    I assume the FA tried to wake him up after boarding but prior to departure and he didn’t react, or what happened before they kicked him straight off the plane? It is obviously not a good idea to get knocked out before take off and it probably violates several FAA regulations to do so.

You must be logged in on the FORUM to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


More in Passengers

What Happens When An Airline “Abandons” You In Mexico With No Hotel?

Jackie ReddyJanuary 10, 2019

“I Have A Gun!” “You’re a Rapist!” Passenger Meltdown Makes News

Jeff EdwardsJanuary 9, 2019

Dad Drags His Daughter Through the Airport

Meg ButlerJanuary 7, 2019

Copyright © 2014 Top News Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by Wordpress.