Following a recent overbooking situation by United Airlines, a Canadian family did not expect to experience something similar as one member from the family doesn’t have an available seat on the day of their flight.
Brett Doyle had planned ahead and booked months in advance to fly with his family of four from Charlottetown to Costa Rica through Montreal for their March Break vacation.
But he later discovered there was no seat for his 10-year-old son on the plane. “He was really scared, he kept saying ‘Is everything going to be OK?’’, said Doyle as he remembers his son’s agony over the situation.
His wife, Shanna, drove to the Charlottetown airport to try to make amendments for their family’s flight in person, only to discover that even if a seat became available, there was no guarantee it would be given to her 10-year-old son, Cole.
The family had ran out of other options out of the P.E.I. airport, when an agent recommended they try going through Moncton instead. Except, once the family arrived in the airport, they quickly discovered their flight was cancelled.
“You can’t make this stuff up folks,” wrote Brett Doyle in a Facebook post. “After a two-hour drive to Moncton, we go through security as the officer informs me the flight has been cancelled. Unbelievable.” “Tell me what other business could get away with this service, and how they can sell me a ticket and not reserve the seat that I paid for,” Brett wrote.
According to media reports, the Doyles estimate all the back-and-forth travel troubleshooting cost them between $700 and $1,000, and that does not include a lost day of work for both Shanna and Brett.
The Doyle’s concern did not get any response from the airline company until it his Facebook post went viral. Air Canada has since offered the family a $2,500 travel voucher and reportedly plans to review their expenses resulting from the original overbooked flight from Charlottetown to Montreal.
The airline includes a warning about overbooking flights in their official policy:
Airline passengers place a high value on refundable tickets (in case they can’t make their flight, don’t show up or decide to change travel plans). In these cases, overbooking is a means (certainly not perfect but, on the whole, pretty viable) that lets us offer s without losing a lot of money.
At the end of the day, Brett Doyle was happy Air Canada did not need to drag his son off the airplane.