Canada: unruly passenger ban upheld by Transportation Agency

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

The claimant Guillaume Boutin filed a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency against Air Canada regarding a permanent travel ban imposed by Air Canada following an incident that occurred at the Cancun, Mexico airport just prior to Mr. Boutin’s return flight to Montréal, Quebec, Canada, on February 29, 2012.

Mr. Boutin maintains that, while waiting in the Business Lounge at the Cancun airport, he and his travelling companion were misinformed by the Air Canada employees about the boarding announcement for their return flight from Cancun to Montréal on February 29, 2012, and that Air Canada failed to post its flight schedule, causing them to miss their flight. Mr. Boutin submits that he asked an Air Canada employee at the airport if he could arrange to have the aircraft return and, if not, to at least put them on another flight; this employee, in Mr. Boutin’s view, was uncompromising, very rude and arrogant. Mr. Boutin and his companion were able to leave Cancun the following day with Air Canada but they had to pay extra fees.

Mr. Boutin advises that he received a letter from Air Canada notifying him that he can no longer travel with the carrier as he was aggressive, and therefore represented a danger to other passengers and that he had tried to grab an Air Canada agent.

Air Canada claims that when it came time to board the flight, the Concierge notified all passengers to head to the boarding gate. Air Canada adds that boarding for the flight was clearly posted on all screens in the Business Lounge but that despite these announcements, Mr. Boutin decided to stay in the Business Lounge as he was still on the phone with the hotel where he had fogotten his wallet and cell phone. Air Canada maintains that several general and personal calls were made in the waiting areas to indicate that final boarding. Mr. Boutin’s name was removed from the passenger list only nine minutes before the flight’s scheduled departure time, in accordance with Rule 60 of Air Canada's Tariff, which stipulates that passengers must be at the departure gate at least 30 minutes prior to the flight’s scheduled departure time. Air Canada asserts that because Mr. Boutin was aggressive on February 29, 2012 and falsely declared that he missed his flight because of Air Canada employees at the Cancun airport, Air Canada decided to no longer accept Mr. Boutin as a passenger until he could demonstrate to Air Canada’s satisfaction that he no longer poses a threat to the safety and comfort of Air Canada’s passengers and crew.

The Transportation Agency concluded that Air Canada did not contravene the provisions of its Tariff and therefore dismissed Mr. Boutin’s complaint. However, the Agency encouraged Air Canada to reconsider the travel ban imposed on Mr. Boutin because the incident in question was a one-time event.

With regard to Mr. Boutin's request for damages in the amount of CND 30,000.00 the Ageny found that there is nothing in the Agency’s enabling legislation that would allow the Agency to award compensation for these damages. 

Case: Guillaume Boutin v. Air Canada, CTA Decision No. 444-C-A-2012; find full text here>>.

 

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