Published on : Friday, May 12, 2017
Derrin Espinolawas flying from Denver to Thunder Bay by himself on 1 May. thejourney had a stopover in Toronto. But, there was a delay at Denver for which he missed his connecting flight.
Appealing to the airline, Air Canada, for help, the teenager was told they could rebook him onto a flight to Thunder Bay at 6pm the following day – but there was no offer of food vouchers or accommodation for the night.
In his own statement, Espinola said that it was like being held prisoner. Espinola said he visited several Air Canada desks, explaining that he was a minor and needed help, but none was forthcoming. He spent much of the night trying to stay awake for fear of being robbed. Karin Patock, the fifteen year old’s mother attempted to get her son help by spending hours on the phone to Air Canada. But, to her shock, she was given a message “the airport is under construction and we cannot accommodate anyone right now, so call back later.”
Air Canada states clearly on its website that “Youths travelling alone (ages 12 to 17) will be taken care of by our agents. We will also arrange for accommodations, meals and transportation if needed.”
However, Espinola despite being a minor did not receive any of the services. The drama continued when Espinola was said to have to stay another night at the airport until 3 May. However, his family intervened at this stage and paid him to fly with another airline.
An Air Canada spokesperson said: “It has been a challenge with the ongoing runway construction at Toronto Pearson, which was also compounded by severe weather conditions last week in the Toronto-Montreal-Ottawa and surrounding areas, including recent adverse conditions in Thunder Bay.” The airline has said it is looking into the incident and will be “reaching out to the family.”