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Air Canada apologizes after barring passenger flying to see terminally ill husband

Air Canada apologizes after barring passenger flying to see terminally ill husband

Old Jun 17, 20, 9:03 am
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Air Canada apologizes after barring passenger flying to see terminally ill husband

Air Canada apologizes after barring passenger from flying to U.S. to see terminally ill husband

"Airline said 'unfortunate situation' was due to a misinterpretation of complex border rules during pandemic"

Sophia Harris CBC News Posted: Jun 17, 2020 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: 7 hours ago


QUOTES:

"But when Musclow tried to check in for her May 24 flight from Kelowna to Cleveland, she said an Air Canada agent told her the U.S. border was closed to Canadians, and wouldn't let her board the plane.

"I was so upset because we had three months — my husband has three months [to live] and I wanted to go over there and be with him," said Musclow."

****

"Musclow booked her flight with United Airlines, but Air Canada was the carrier for the first leg of the trip from Kelowna to Washington D.C. She said when she purchased her ticket by phone, a United agent assured her that she could fly to the U.S. as a Canadian citizen.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Canadian travellers can currently fly to the U.S. as long as they haven't visited Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, the U.K. or 26 European countries in the Schengen Area 14 days prior.

But Musclow said the Air Canada agent at the Kelowna airport told her she needed written permission to travel to the U.S., and wouldn't issue her a boarding pass.

Musclow said she consulted a second Air Canada agent at the airport who told her that if the airline let her enter the U.S., the U.S. government would fine her $1,000."


Full article:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/air...-cbp-1.5613826
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Old Jun 17, 20, 10:42 am
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Another case of "I work at the airport". Airlines should be held financially liable for these mistakes
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Old Jun 17, 20, 11:34 am
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Originally Posted by hoipolloi View Post
Another case of "I work at the airport". Airlines should be held financially liable for these mistakes
That's partially the problem - they are held liable if they let the wrong person fly.

But I agree that, even the rules are constantly changing, airline ticket / gate staff need to be better trained.
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Old Jun 17, 20, 12:21 pm
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They need to be held liable for refusing to transport a legitimate passenger. their tariff (aka contract of carriage) does NOT even say that a client is entitled to a refund if AC refuses to transport them
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Old Jun 17, 20, 12:28 pm
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Originally Posted by hoipolloi View Post
They need to be held liable for refusing to transport a legitimate passenger. their tariff (aka contract of carriage) does NOT even say that a client is entitled to a refund if AC refuses to transport them
That's because the entire refusal of transport section is around scenarios where it's the passenger's fault, i.e. drunk, medically unfit without medical approval, etc.

It seems like pretty clear-cut breach of contract to incorrectly refuse transport, and I'm sure the passenger would win in court. But what would they get... a refund? Maybe cab fare to and from the airport for when they didn't fly?
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Old Jun 17, 20, 12:32 pm
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As mentioned above, the training would have addressed this. Any chance this person was not a Canadian citizen as different rules apply. (Just trying to understand why the screw up, not make excuses.)
As per https://www.ezbordercrossing.com/cor...travel-issues/
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Old Jun 17, 20, 12:59 pm
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
That's because the entire refusal of transport section is around scenarios where it's the passenger's fault, i.e. drunk, medically unfit without medical approval, etc.

It seems like pretty clear-cut breach of contract to incorrectly refuse transport, and I'm sure the passenger would win in court. But what would they get... a refund? Maybe cab fare to and from the airport for when they didn't fly?
Interesting you bring this up. There's a small claims case that's relevant to this: https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bccrt/d...&resultIndex=3
A passenger who was prevented from boarding due to agent error (agent asserted a visa was required when it was not) was not able to reclaim associated costs.
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Old Jun 17, 20, 1:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Transpacificflyer View Post
Any chance this person was not a Canadian citizen as different rules apply./
From the first post in the thread...

Originally Posted by 24left View Post
She said when she purchased her ticket by phone, a United agent assured her that she could fly to the U.S. as a Canadian citizen.
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Old Jun 17, 20, 1:13 pm
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Originally Posted by yerffej201 View Post
Interesting you bring this up. There's a small claims case that's relevant to this: https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bccrt/d...&resultIndex=3
A passenger who was prevented from boarding due to agent error (agent asserted a visa was required when it was not) was not able to reclaim associated costs.
Wow. I'd appeal that with the aim of having 65(d) struck from the tariff.

I can't believe that even in court (or arbitration or whatever) AC would adhere to their obviously incorrect position on the necessity of a visa.
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Old Jun 17, 20, 3:42 pm
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Originally Posted by yerffej201 View Post
Interesting you bring this up. There's a small claims case that's relevant to this: https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bccrt/d...&resultIndex=3
A passenger who was prevented from boarding due to agent error (agent asserted a visa was required when it was not) was not able to reclaim associated costs.
The complainant made a mistake in that they didn't try to challenge the legality of the the relevant tariff terms (Vis a vis contract law or consumer protection regulation). They only challenged whether AC's refusal to issue a refund violates the tariff or not
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Old Jun 17, 20, 4:53 pm
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Originally Posted by hoipolloi View Post
The complainant made a mistake in that they didn't try to challenge the legality of the the relevant tariff terms (Vis a vis contract law or consumer protection regulation). They only challenged whether AC's refusal to issue a refund violates the tariff or not
At the small claims level, isn't there some expectation that the judge is going to be looking out for things like this, because self-representation is expected, and most people don't know anything about the law?
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Old Jun 17, 20, 4:59 pm
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Very sad that the incompetence of the ground staff caused this. I volunteer my time and personal airplane with an organization called Angel Flight and Patient Airlift Services, which provides family and patients in situations like this, free flights on private aircraft, which helps to avoid these sort of things. Hopefully she gets to see her husband soon.
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Old Jun 17, 20, 5:14 pm
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Originally Posted by 757FO View Post
Very sad that the incompetence of the ground staff caused this. I volunteer my time and personal airplane with an organization called Angel Flight and Patient Airlift Services, which provides family and patients in situations like this, free flights on private aircraft, which helps to avoid these sort of things. Hopefully she gets to see her husband soon.
@757FO

Thank you for your post and especially for your volunteer work.
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Old Jun 17, 20, 5:34 pm
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
Wow. I'd appeal that with the aim of having 65(d) struck from the tariff.

I can't believe that even in court (or arbitration or whatever) AC would adhere to their obviously incorrect position on the necessity of a visa.
I wouldn't be so sure about that. Good faith clauses are common in contracts and provide parties a reasonable level of protection against human error, which is the basis of claim in both the article and the past case. There could be reason to challenge the level of liability for errors made in good faith and for the burden of proof for the airline to demonstrate that a good faith effort was made, but the concept of the clause itself is fine and is reasonable that it is there.
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Old Jun 17, 20, 7:18 pm
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Originally Posted by 24left View Post
@757FO

Thank you for your post and especially for your volunteer work.
Thank you. It gives me great joy to do so. Angel Flight and Patient Airlift Services are great organizations.
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