There’s been a lot of controversy with air-lines as of late because of their over-booking. Most popular, the story of a man dragged off a a United Airlines plane earlier in April because they over-booked the flight.
However most recently, a story has come to light about a family from Charlottetown, PEI who booked a trip to Costa- Rica for March break with their kids, only to find that their 10 year old son (a minor!) had been bumped off the over-booked flight for their trip from PEI to Montreal!
The ticket agent suggested they drive to the next closest airport — two hours away in Moncton, New Brunswick — to catch a different flight that connected with the rest of the family in Montreal. Five hours of driving and $1,000 later, they finally made their flight.
Of course, the family is beyond irritated with the Air Canada Service, and even more so that they hadn’t responded to the family’s concerns until last Saturday (April 15th).
Air Canada said they apologized to the family and have offered $2,500 in compensation along with a cheque to cover expenses.
“Our policy is very clear and this situation involving a family travelling together should not have occurred. We are following up to understand what went wrong,” said Air Canada spokesperson Isabelle Arthur, in an emailed statement.
Although he’s happy to have gotten an answer, he’s upset that Air Canada would overbook a flight and then, even due to error, bump a minor.
Brett Doyle, father to the family, said he thinks the government should be stepping in to crack down on overbooking on flights. But, in the mean time, he thinks the only way to avoid what he went through is to cough up the extra dough to select a seat.
“The warning that I have is sort of a sad one. I think Air Canada is forcing us into a situation that we’re essentially buying a standby ticket,” said Doyle.
“If you don’t go online and pre-purchase your seat before getting to the airport, you’re not guaranteed a seat… It’s another cash grab.”