NEWS

Air Canada flight flub in Moncton leaves Toronto man grounded

02/11/2015 05:16 EST | Updated 04/13/2015 05:59 EDT
A Toronto businessman is demanding an apology from Air Canada after he was put on the wrong flight at the Greater Moncton International Airport on Tuesday night, and then refused access to the correct flight when he complained.

​ErdemBilaloglu says he was supposed to be flying home to Toronto after a business trip and showed crews his boarding pass and photo identification.

But unbeknownst to him, he ended up on a flight destined for Montreal instead.

Bilaloglu says he settled in and started chatting with some of the other passengers. It was only when another passenger with the same assigned seat boarded that the mistake was realized, he said.

"They said, 'But this plane is going to Montreal.' I said, 'No, no this plane is going to Toronto'. And there were five or six other passengers around me, and they said, 'No, no it's going to Montreal.' Really. I'm in the wrong plane."

​Bilaloglu disembarked and luckily, his flight to Toronto hadn't departed yet. But he wanted to know how, after showing his ID and boarding pass at the gate, he was allowed on the wrong flight.

Bililoglu says the Air Canada employee at the gate wouldn't apologize, so he decided to lodge a formal complaint.

He told the employee, "'Either give me your surname, or give me your badge or employee number so I know who I'm talking with,' and he said, 'I'm not giving you anything.'"

Bilaloglu says he eventually took a photograph of the gate, and the attendant. That's when he was told he was being kicked off his Toronto flight.

He ended up having to stay the night at a hotel in Moncton and finally flew home on Wednesday afternoon. But he says the matter isn't over. He wants an apology and his expenses covered.

Under investigation

Manon Stuart, spokesperson for Jazz Aviation, which provides ground handling services at the Greater Moncton International Airport on behalf of Air Canada, confirms a passenger was "erroneously processed" and put on the wrong flight.

​"We extend our sincere apology to our passenger for the inconvenience caused by this incident," she said in an emailed statement, adding the incident is being investigated "in effort to avoid any future reoccurrence."

Stuart declined to provide any information about the specific passenger, or why he was denied boarding on the Toronto flight, citing confidentiality.

"Our agents are diligent in ensuring that passengers are boarded on their flights. Jazz Aviation carries in excess of 9 million passengers each year on behalf of Air Canada, and this type incident is extremely rare."

Airline passenger advocate Gabor Lucash says he often hears about cases like Bilaloglo's.

"Airlines often use the allegation of unruly passenger to simply get rid of a passenger who is being simply reasonable, but assertive of his and her rights," said Lucash, who is based in Halifax.

"The difficulty is, short of going to court, there isn't much that can be done."

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