Published on : Thursday, May 18, 2017
An air traveller who had been travelling with his disabled son has complained that Air Canada had dumped his family at Toronto Pearson airport. Euan McGilp, a 56-year-old man had been flying back to London from Ohio.
He was accompanied by his wife and two teenage son.
One of the sons has Downs Syndrome. According to Euan, they had landed in Canada on 20th April.
When they had arrived at Toronto, the family had been left on the tarmac in freezing temperatures while he had been waiting for his son’s wheelchair to be unloaded from the airplane. David, who is 14, also has other complications apart from Down ’s syndrome. Yet, this family was left in the cold for about 15 minutes. Euan said that since David is devoid of any internal temperature regulation, he was actually turning blue.
Euan asserted that they were taken to the special assistance area and asked to wait while they expected to board their connecting flight.
He went on to add that all the lights were off in the area of the tarmac and there was nobody around. There, the family was dumped and abandoned in the dark and it seemed that they were indeed a trouble for everybody.
This family had already missed their original 8.40 p.m. flight to London Heathrow on account of delays.
However, they were rebooked on a 11.10 p.m. flight and Air Canada had reassured then that they would be able to take their connecting flight. But then, they had to wait for about half an hour, during which period they were ignored by the staff members of Air Canada when they had asked for assistance.
Finally, one man directed the family to the flight connections desk.
It came to light, thereafter, that their long wait at the special assistance had resulted in them missing their connecting flight. And, they would be required to rebook in order to fly the following evening.
Euan claimed that their connections personnel were extremely rude to the economy ticket holders.
He said that a person with PTSD was asked to ‘shut up’, and the threats and intimidation was quite awful. Eventually, the airliner had offered them a voucher to stay in a hotel. But then, by this time they were growing more anxious about David’s health issues.
The family explained the authorities that following the original instruction of Air Canada they were carrying only sufficient sanitary and medical products to last him the expected connecting flight and the additional hours. But, the staff said that this was ‘not their problem’.
Then, the family was taken outside to wait for a shuttle bus to their hotel.
It was 12.50 a.m. then. But, even after waiting for an hour and a half, they discovered that no transport came to receive them. Then, they learnt that the hotel no longer provided a shuttle service. But when they confronted with the staff they were told rudely that travel is ‘stressful’ and they should just ‘deal with it’.
The McGilp family said that finally around 3.30 a.m., they were able to interact with a customer service advisor who was ready to assist them.
She moved them to a 9 a.m. flight but misfortunes continued for this family. They had no choice but to spend the remainder of the night in the departure lounge. And, when they boarded the flight, they were not designated seats together. However, the family was all the more distressed when they realized that only one of the seven bags they were carrying had actually made its way to Heathrow.
The other six were left on Toronto.
When they complained to Air Canada about everything, the authorities offered them 25% discount if they booked more Air Canada flights in the following 12 months. But Euan said that after such a harrowing experience he would never choose to travel in Air Canada flights in the future.
Euan confessed that he had actually paid more to fly with Air Canada since it offers to give support for people with additional needs and that they could have saved more than £1,000 by choosing a cheaper airline.