NEWS

Porter Airlines-bumped chemotherapy patient gets compensation

12/31/2014 08:39 EST | Updated 03/02/2015 05:59 EST
What appears to have been a glitch in flight-bumping policy has left Porter Airlines scrambling to make up for a decision that resulted in a Thunder Bay, Ont., cancer patient and her father being refused their seats on a plane bound for Toronto.

The two were on their way to a chemotherapy appointment when they were bumped from their flight because officials said the plane was overweight.

Porter Airline director of communications Brad Cicero said the company is clarifying the situation with Greg Ulok and his teenage daughter, Xenia, "directly."

"It is policy to ask for volunteers first — with travel vouchers provided as incentive," Cicero said.

But that didn't happen, which is why Greg Ulok came forward with his story.

In a Facebook post written late Tuesday, Ulok said their "only intention [is] to help or at least try [to prevent] future scenarios as such from happening again."

Ulok and his 16-year-old daughter each received $500 vouchers for future travel and the value of their flights was refunded, Cicero said. The company said it also helped co-ordinate a flight to Toronto on another airline in time for their appointment.

​Airline passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs noted that, "just this past summer, the Canadian Transportation Agency ordered Porter Airlines to change the way it handles bumped passengers. Now, Porter has to provide compensation in cash to passengers for a bump."

"Unfortunately, Porter particularly apparently, a general trend in the airline industry is there is a big gap between the written rules and what is being done in practice to passengers. And, the biggest problem is that we don't have adequate enforcement," Lukacs said.

Cicero said when Porter's team at the Thunder Bay airport became aware of the circumstances, it was too late to board them on that flight.

MORE:cbcNews