Q COSTA RICA NEWS – Passengers on an Air Canada flight 1807 were delayed for 32 hours in San Jose, Costa Rica not because of bad weather or ash from the Turrialba volcano, but because of a passenger count problem.
A report by Canada’s CBC News says the 273 passengers boarded the direct flight from San Jose to Toronto at 8:30am on Sunday, January 8. Pamela Machado, a Ontario lawyer, who was seated in business class, said they sat on the plane until 2:00pm, permitted to deplane to get food and asked to reboard at 3:30pm. But at 7:15pm, the crew announced the flight had been cancelled, she said.
Air Canada then put the passengers up in a hotel for the night and provided food vouchers.
However, Machado says when they arrived back at the airport on Monday, check-in was even more atrocious than the day before, claiming they were ‘being herded like cats’.
“They just simply couldn’t get it together,” she said. Those on the plane were “walking over each other trying to get to the other end of the airport.”
The Monday makeup flight finally did take off, about two and a half hours later than scheduled.
The reason for Sunday’s delay was that the passenger head count did not match computer records.
“It was technically a ‘reconciliation error’ between [the] computer count and the physical passenger count on board which revealed one person was missing,” said Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick. “For safety and security reasons, aircraft cannot depart in such situations.”
Machado shared her experience on Twitter.
— Machado Law (@PMachadoLaw) January 9, 2017
Air Canada said they would be refunding the passengers for the return portion of the trip but a passenger rights expert says the airline did not do enough. A report by Citynews.ca says according to Dr. Gabor Lukacs, the efforts made by the airline were a start but that Air Canada is still responsible for things like “lost wages and parking their car an extra day.”
Another passenger, Lawrence Paddington also Tweeted his experience.
— Lawrence Partington (@LawrenceTV2GO) January 9, 2017
“Don’t dwell on how bad it was, just be factual,” explained Lukacs, adding that airlines can be on the hook for up to $8,000 in such expenses.
But for Machado, who said the delay cost her and her partner dearly, missing a day at the office and her partner missed the first day of a three month police training program, the damage has already been done. “I will definitely not fly Air Canada again,” she stated bluntly.
Watch the Citynews report.