Air Canada denied boarding

A mother and her 3 children, including infant twins were scheduled to fly Air Canada from Seoul, South Korea to P.E.I, Canada. Except, they were in for a rude shock when Air Canada denied boarding citing a Canadian safety regulation – One adult for each infant. Since the mother was traveling with two infants among three children, Air Canada deemed it a safety hazard and denied them boarding.

Note, Air Canada’s booking system allowed the reservation to be confirmed and ticketed.  According to the mother, Tara Stemkoski, Air Canada phone agents had confirmed that she would be fine traveling with her infants – one lap baby and another in car seat beside her. Once at the airport, Tara’s baggage was tagged and boarding passes in hand before the issue was brought forward. The Canadian federal aviation requirement is to ensure that a parent can safely evacuate with a child in an emergency.

Recourse and Air Canada’s resolution

While there is no way to get around the inconvenience caused to Tara and her family, I think Air Canada put its best foot forward on this one. Since denying boarding, an Air Canada representative  has been in touch with Tara. Air Canada acknowledged their shortcoming, waived the cancellation fee and booked Tara another ticket to coincide with her husband’s trip to P.E.I in a few weeks. Better yet, Air Canada has offered an extra adult ticket back from P.E.I to Seoul so that Tara is not tied to her husband’s travel itinerary and can return with the kids at her leisure.

Take Away

The booking system should have obviously caught this regulatory issue and not ticketed. Additionally, Air Canada’s phone agents need better training in identifying and mitigating regulatory policies. Having said that, kudos to Air Canada for doing a great job in extending their best possible service as a recourse.

Link to the CBC coverage of this story