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article imageFamily vacation begins with Air Canada bumping 10-year-old boy

By Arthur Weinreb     Apr 16, 2017 in Travel
Charlottetown - A family vacation to Costa Rica was disrupted when Air Canada announced a couple’s 10-year-old son was being bumped from a flight from Charlottetown, PEI to Montreal. The fact a young child was being bumped did not seem to matter to the airline.
Brett and Shanna Doyle, their two sons, Simon, 8, and Cole, 10, as well as other adults planned to spend March Break in Costa Rica. The Doyles purchased their tickets back in August. The family and other adults were to fly from Charlottetown to Montreal where they would get a connecting flight to Costa Rica. As far as making plans, It seemed the family did everything right.
Before they were ready to go, Brett Doyle contacted Air Canada to confirm the flight and select seats. He was told the flight was overbooked and there was no seat for the 10-year-old on the flight to Montreal. Shanna Doyle then drove to the Charlottetown Airport and spoke with an Air Canada agent to try to resolve the situation. The agent was very apologetic but the flight was overbooked and young Cole was not going to get on the plane.
Shanna Doyle then made what seemed to be a sensible suggestion to anyone at least not in the airline industry. One of the adults in the group would give up their seat so Cole could fly. She was told that, of course, another passenger could give up their seat on the overbooked flight but Air Canada could not guarantee that seat would go to Cole. Another passenger on the overbooked flight might grab the seat before Cole could.
Brett Doyle was told the best solution was to drive to Moncton, New Brunswick and fly from there to Montreal. So he and Cole did that. After they went through security they were told this particular flight was cancelled. So Doyle went online and found three other flights from Moncton that would have gotten them to Montreal on time to make their connecting flight.
Doyle then spoke with an Air Canada representative on the phone who told him these three flights were sold out. Doyle told her tickets for those flights were still available for sale online and asked what would have happened had he purchased those tickets. He was told he and Cole would have been bumped.
Doyle said Air Canada gave them “zero assistance” in solving the problem. He ended up driving to Halifax with Cole and then flew to Montreal. His wife, other son and the other adults all flew from Charlottetown and all arrived in Montreal in time to make their connecting flight to Costa Rica.
Doyle estimates he spent about $1,000 extra and Air Canada offered the family vouchers for future travel and told them they could submit bills for these extra expenses to the airline.
A lot of attention is now being paid the practise of airline overbooking since a man was forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight a week ago. Four passengers already on the plane were asked to leave because United needed the seats for a crew members. As a result of the backlash against airlines for overbooking and bumping, more stories such as that of the Doyle family are now starting to emerge.
READ ALSO: Korean man sues American Airlines for discrimination in bumping
Like many others, Doyle cannot understand what he is paying for if not for a seat. The family endured a lot of stress in getting to Montreal and Cole cried when he thought he may not get to go to Costa Rica with the rest of the family. And Air Canada did not seem to care that the passenger in the group they bumped was only 10-years-old. Cole's parents were obviously not going to leave their child behind but Air Canada had no way of knowing that when they bumped him.
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More about Air canada, United airlines, Bumping, overbooked flights, March break
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