A retired British couple was kicked off an Air Canada flight on Tuesday night, along with 23 others – with no explanation for what they did wrong.
Richard and Patricia Brailey, 71 and 66 years old, respectively, took flight AC866 to London Heathrow at Montreal’s international airport without issue.
But soon after settling in, armed police boarded the plane to remove the Braileys.
About 25 other passengers were ejected from the plane’s cabin at the same time and in a similar manner.
Their son, Patrick Brailey, criticized the airline on social media, saying: “My elderly parents were escorted off by armed police from @AirCanada flight AC866 along with about 28 others.
“With no explanation, their bags went on to LHR.
“Air Canada’s own staff in the terminal told them the removal was the captain’s order?
“There was no notice on the plane but staff assumed the removal was due to ‘not wearing a mask or being drunk’.”
Mr. Brailey called it a “huge mix,” saying, “My elderly parents were masked by religion and weren’t drunk. Got stuck in the station. “
Richard Brailey said to Daily mail: “We waited about an hour for the plane to take off when an employee with a list of numbers came up and looked down at the rows of seats.
“They started looking at the number of seats and had previously removed two young girls from three or four rows in front of us.
“Then they pointed at us, and called the police to them to get rid of us. We were completely amazed. We just sat in our normal seats with masks and looked forward to proceeding. “
The Braileys and other passengers were informed that they could not board another Air Canada flight for 24 hours after disembarking from the plane bound for London, and – as they had been deported – the arrangement of an alternative flight. Now it’s their responsibility.
According to other passengers on social media, the group removed included a pregnant woman, a couple with two children, several members of the Williams Formula 1 team and an Aston Martin team doctor. F1.
“We were completely shocked. I was assuming that there must have been a problem with the paperwork or something,” Richard Brailey told reporters.
“I asked all about it and if I could talk to the captain, but I was told that I would find out later. It’s a nightmare scenario.
“It was completely strange because there was no noise or aggravation on the flight. As far as I could tell, everyone behaved properly, and we certainly did. “
He added that the man next to them was asleep under a blanket before he was awakened and removed.
Jess McFadyen, who works for Motorsport, filmed the melee with airline staff and police, calling it “absolutely disgraceful”.
Ms McFadyen wrote on Twitter: “The flight attendants pulled 23 people out of the plane at random, including this elderly couple, a pregnant Williams team member and a family of four.
Her video shows a masked woman looking confused as a police officer and the right man asking her to get out of her seat and get her bag out of the overhead locker. The surprised-looking woman shrugged at the others in the cabin before doing so.
Jay Egan, who was also on the flight, tweeted: “So our @AirCanada flight was delayed 3 hours and now the police are kicking people off the flight for no reason and denying talk to anyone!”
Then he added: “The head manager went on a tour! She makes it look like everyone is warming up or getting drunk. All lies! Shocking treatment of many people on AC866. “
A Formula One commentator, David Croft, who was at the Montreal airport at the time, claimed that a discarded man was unable to retrieve his bag and had been left without a wallet and passport.
Aside from being abandoned in the airport and lacking an explanation, Patrick Brailey also pointed out the odd decision to leave the couple’s checked luggage on the flight after they were retrieved, asking: “Surely this is it. Is it a security risk?”
Airlines are required to match their passenger lists with their holdings before a flight can take off, and any baggage that is not attached to a passenger is usually removed.
The couple’s other son was able to book them on an Air Transat flight back to London, paying £1,300 for a last-minute ticket. They also have to pay the bill for a night in an airport hotel.
Air Canada confirmed that 25 passengers were “deported” from the flight.
A statement from the airline said: “‘We are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident involving a group of 25 customers who were removed from our flight from Montreal to London on Thursday night. Two due to disruptive behavior.
“We understand that there are allegations that in the process of removing these passengers, certain unrelated individuals were also deported.
“Some of these deported customers were re-registered this morning and are on their way to their final destination. Once our investigation is complete, we will follow up with the customer.”
A spokesperson for Montreal Trudeau International said police were called to “resolve an on-board situation on the evening of June 20 and escort passengers off the aircraft, at the request of the captain and crew.” “.
An Air Canada spokesperson said: “We can confirm that the passenger’s removal from flight AC866 on June 20 was related to non-compliance with the Canadian government’s mask regulations. Aviation Canada regulations, as well as crew directives.
“The actions taken were for the safety and well-being of the other 266 passengers on the flight. We regret that a number of unrelated customers were unfortunately deported. Since then, we have reached out to those we have identified as mistakenly deleted to apologize and address their concerns.”