Air Canada bumps man off flight, separating him from girlfriend
A Saskatoon man who was bumped off an Air Canada flight in Winnipeg is demanding compensation from the airline, which left him stranded in the city and separated from his girlfriend.
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“It’s not just about the compensation. It’s also about the feelings, emotional things,” said Qingyang Liu.
Liu said he was leaving Winnipeg’s airport Saturday afternoon with his girlfriend after visiting friends in the city, but when he went to board, he was held up at the gate because of an issue verifying his identity.
His girlfriend boarded the plane with the couple’s luggage while Liu sorted out the discrepancy.
He said an Air Canada employee was able to fix the issue, but then told him the plane was full and he’d been bumped off the flight to Saskatoon.
‘Confused, lost and depressed’
“It made me feel very confused, lost and depressed,” Liu told CBC News Sunday morning during a phone interview from Calgary.
That’s where Air Canada sent Liu Saturday night. He said staff told him going to Calgary was the only way he could catch a flight back home to Saskatoon.
Liu stayed the night at a Calgary hotel, but said Air Canada refused to foot the bill for the stay or offer any compensation for bumping him off the flight.
The Canadian Transportation Agency requires Air Canada to pay passengers between $200 and $800 in cash to passengers who are denied boarding.
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Liu said he believes airline staffers wouldn’t give him compensation because he arrived only an hour before departure and not 90 minutes, which Air Canada recommends passengers do.
‘Certainly unusual’: Air Canada
The airline also has a policy that requires flight attendants to ask for volunteers to leave the plane if it’s overbooked. It’s not clear if that happened in this case.
Liu said he’s flown all over the world and has never had an experience like he did this weekend. “This is definitely the worst experience I’ve had.”
Liu showed CBC screenshots of a conversation he had with Air Canada on Twitter.
A representative for the airline told Liu, via direct message, that it was “certainly unusual” to refuse to accommodate two travel partners and said the case requires further review.
On Sunday, a spokesperson for Air Canada said it’s rare passengers are bumped from flights. The spokesperson said Air Canada would be “pleased” to hear from Liu but didn’t say if he’d be compensated.