Air (or Error?) Canada. Our National Carrier…

Taxslave2

House Member
Aug 13, 2022
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This is a damn disgrace. By contrast, I picked up a friend, who is blind, at the Baltimore airport and drove her to her place, and then took her back a week later. When I met her she was accompanied by TWO airline employees, who made damn sure I had it before they left. When I took her back, I guided her two the counter, and TWO airport employees were detached to assist her. They arrived within three minutes.
Do you pay extra for this service?
 

Dixie Cup

Senate Member
Sep 16, 2006
5,717
3,596
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Edmonton
Gee, I took my mom (mind you this was in 2016 so things must have changed) and the airline people took great care of her. I sent her to Ottawa to visit my brother & his wife. I'm thinking it was WestJet that she flew on but I can't be sure. It sounds like things aren't what they used to be. Huh!
 

IdRatherBeSkiing

Satelitte Radio Addict
May 28, 2007
14,606
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Toronto, ON
Gee, I took my mom (mind you this was in 2016 so things must have changed) and the airline people took great care of her. I sent her to Ottawa to visit my brother & his wife. I'm thinking it was WestJet that she flew on but I can't be sure. It sounds like things aren't what they used to be. Huh!
My wife did a couple trips with her in a walker and/or wheelchair on Air Canada and WestJet, Both airlines were very accommodating and the only issue we had was WestJet left her walker in Toronto on trip to Jamaica. She got it back the next morning. The last trip we did was Air Canada in the middle of a lot of covid restrictions and I can't say enough good things about the way they helped her and made our travels easier.
 

petros

The Central Scrutinizer
Nov 21, 2008
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Low Earth Orbit
My wife did a couple trips with her in a walker and/or wheelchair on Air Canada and WestJet, Both airlines were very accommodating and the only issue we had was WestJet left her walker in Toronto on trip to Jamaica. She got it back the next morning. The last trip we did was Air Canada in the middle of a lot of covid restrictions and I can't say enough good things about the way they helped her and made our travels easier.
Depending on the airport I'll book a golf cart.
 

spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
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Air Canada passenger opens cabin door, falls to tarmac at Pearson
The passenger was injured and the flight to Dubai took off about six hours later

Author of the article:Chris Doucette
Published Jan 10, 2024 • Last updated 10 hours ago • 1 minute read

An Air Canada passenger was injured Monday after boarding a plane in Toronto, opening a cabin door and falling to the tarmac.

The Boeing 777 was reportedly still at the gate at Pearson airport when the bizarre incident unfolded as passengers boarded flight AC056.


Air Canada told Global News one passenger “boarded the aircraft normally” but instead of taking their seat walked to the other side of the aircraft and opened a cabin door.

The passenger fell to the tarmac, suffering undisclosed injuries and prompting emergency crews to respond.

“We can confirm all of our approved boarding and cabin operating procedures were followed,” Air Canada said in a statement to Global News.



Flight AC056 – scheduled to carry 319 passengers – was reportedly delayed about six hours before taking off bound for Dubai.

The Greater Toronto Airport Authority confirmed they are aware of the incident.

“We learned of an incident on an Air Canada flight during boarding Monday evening and worked with the airline, Peel Regional Police and Peel EMS to support and determine the immediate needs,” GTAA spokesperson Stephanie Smyth said.



Few details were immediately released, so it’s unclear why the passenger opened the door or how they fell to the tarmac.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

– With files from Jane Stevenson

cdoucette@postmedia.com

@sundoucette
 

spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
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Air Canada contests decision on power wheelchairs
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Published Jan 11, 2024 • Last updated 2 days ago • 4 minute read

MONTREAL — Air Canada has appealed a decision by the country’s transport regulator that seeks to boost accessibility for travellers living with a disability.


If successful, the move would overturn a requirement to fully accommodate passengers whose wheelchairs are too large to move into airplane cargo holds.


The Canadian Transportation Agency’s ruling marks the culmination of a case that has dragged on since 2016, when flier Tim Rose was told his power wheelchair wouldn’t fit on the aircraft, preventing him from travelling to Ohio as planned.

After a series of decisions, the regulator ruled in 2023 that Air Canada must either find passengers with disabilities a similar flight on a comparable route or swap in a plane that is capable of carrying the mobility device.

Rose called Air Canada’s appeal “sad and unfortunate.”

“It was really disappointing,” he said, particularly as the airline touted new measures last year that it said would improve the travel experience for passengers with a disability.


“I feel like Air Canada is talking out of both sides of its mouth right now. The hypocrisy is on the one hand they’re suggesting that they’re trying to improve … on the other hand they’re continuing to fight my already decided ruling that provides dignity and accessibility to all Canadians who are wheelchair users.”

Air Canada says it has accepted most of the ruling’s orders to remove barriers, including the obligation to find a plane that takes off within a day of the desired travel date, as long as the customer makes the request three weeks in advance.

“What we are challenging is the obligation to change aircraft planned for a route with short notice, on an ad-hoc basis,” said spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick.

In the summer of 2016, Rose was informed he couldn’t book a flight from Toronto to Cleveland — “ironically enough, to give a presentation about disability awareness in big business,” he said.


“When I told the representative on the Air Canada medical desk that this was discriminatory, she said, ’No, your wheelchair’s just like a piece of luggage. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit.’

“It’s my mobility. You would not call someone’s legs luggage,” said Rose, an accessibility consultant who lives with cerebral palsy. “In this case, they didn’t even let my legs on the plane.”

In 2022, a transportation agency tribunal found that he and all people who use larger mobility aids face “undue obstacles” to mobility at Air Canada. The decision came after a drawn-out back-and-forth between the two parties, a 2019 decision establishing that there were hurdles to mobility but not necessarily undue ones, and a COVID-19-induced pause on proceedings.


The subsequent ruling from 2023 noted the airline deploys spare planes “on a daily basis” in response to everything from inclement weather to mechanical issues, and so should occasionally be able to do the same for accessibility.

“Because Air Canada regularly substitutes aircraft in the case of irregular operations, it is unlikely that doing so to accommodate a person with a disability would have a significant impact on the rights of other passengers or Air Canada’s ability to provide customer service,” the Aug. 11 decision states.

In its Dec. 21 notice of appeal, Air Canada argues that the requirement to swap in planes with larger cargo doors — some are just over two-and-a-half feet high, while many power wheelchairs can be collapsed only to a height of three feet — marks an “undue hardship” for the carrier, putting it at a competitive disadvantage.


The agency failed to consider all factors or apply the proper analysis for what constitutes that difficulty, the filing claims.

First kicked off in September, the appeal process began a couple of months before Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau apologized for the airline’s accessibility shortfalls.

In a press release, he said the carrier would speed up a three-year accessibility plan after a number of recent reports of passenger mistreatment, including an incident where a man with spastic cerebral palsy was forced to drag himself off of an airplane in Las Vegas due to a lack of assistance.

“Air Canada recognizes the challenges customers with disabilities encounter when they fly and accepts its responsibility to provide convenient and consistent service so that flying with us becomes easier. Sometimes we do not meet this commitment, for which we offer a sincere apology,” the chief executive said on Nov. 9.


The measures in the airline’s plan range from establishing a customer accessibility director to consistently boarding passengers who request lift assistance first. Air Canada also aims to implement annual, recurrent training in accessibility — such as how to use an eagle lift — for its 10,000 airport employees and include mobility aids in an app that can track baggage.

“It’s been so difficult to reconcile those remarks with our experience with Air Canada, because their obligation pursuant to accessibility planning is the very thing that they’re fighting against in this case,” said Ilinca Stefan, a lawyer with the ARCH Disability Law Centre, which represents Rose.

The airline’s appeal also contests the regulator’s order that it factor power wheelchair accommodation into its accessibility plan, specifically when it comes to aircraft purchases and selection on Canada-U.S. routes.

The agency “does not have the jurisdiction or power to impose content” on that plan, Air Canada said in a filing last year.
 

Taxslave2

House Member
Aug 13, 2022
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Air Canada passenger opens cabin door, falls to tarmac at Pearson
The passenger was injured and the flight to Dubai took off about six hours later

Author of the article:Chris Doucette
Published Jan 10, 2024 • Last updated 10 hours ago • 1 minute read

An Air Canada passenger was injured Monday after boarding a plane in Toronto, opening a cabin door and falling to the tarmac.

The Boeing 777 was reportedly still at the gate at Pearson airport when the bizarre incident unfolded as passengers boarded flight AC056.


Air Canada told Global News one passenger “boarded the aircraft normally” but instead of taking their seat walked to the other side of the aircraft and opened a cabin door.

The passenger fell to the tarmac, suffering undisclosed injuries and prompting emergency crews to respond.

“We can confirm all of our approved boarding and cabin operating procedures were followed,” Air Canada said in a statement to Global News.



Flight AC056 – scheduled to carry 319 passengers – was reportedly delayed about six hours before taking off bound for Dubai.

The Greater Toronto Airport Authority confirmed they are aware of the incident.

“We learned of an incident on an Air Canada flight during boarding Monday evening and worked with the airline, Peel Regional Police and Peel EMS to support and determine the immediate needs,” GTAA spokesperson Stephanie Smyth said.



Few details were immediately released, so it’s unclear why the passenger opened the door or how they fell to the tarmac.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

– With files from Jane Stevenson

cdoucette@postmedia.com

@sundoucette
Runner up for a Darwin Award.
 

spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
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Air Canada plane lands safely after passenger 'in crisis' tries to open door
No charges laid, Peel police say, following flight from London to Toronto

Author of the article:Jordan Ercit
Published Jan 21, 2024 • 2 minute read
No charges have been laid after an elderly man "in a state of crisis and confusion" tried to open an emergency door on an Air Canada flight from London to Toronto, police say.
No charges have been laid after an elderly man “in a state of crisis and confusion” tried to open an emergency door on an Air Canada flight from London to Toronto.


Peel Regional Police were made aware of the incident, which happened Sunday afternoon during a flight from London’s Heathrow Airport to Pearson International Airport. CityNews was the first to report about the incident after reportedly being contacted by someone on the plane who said a fellow passenger was “acting strange” throughout the flight.


“Information provided to us was that a passenger had attempted to open a door midflight; this of course cannot be done at cruising altitude,” Const. Tyler Bell-Morena said in an email to the Toronto Sun. “The aircraft landed safely at Pearson International Airport shortly after 3 p.m.


“Once the flight was deboarded, officers entered the aircraft to deal with the passenger in question.”

Bell-Morena said the passenger, an elderly male, was in a “state of crisis and confusion and it does not appear that his actions were intentional.” He said no charges were laid and the passenger’s family has been offered “additional resources” as a result.

Air Canada confirmed the incident in an email to the Sun, saying that staff dealt with a “disruptive passenger” on Flight AC855 en route to Toronto from London-Heathrow and “managed the situation appropriately, allowing the flight to continue normally to its destination.

“As per procedures, authorities met the aircraft,” Air Canada’s media relations department said. “We have no additional details to provide, but as noted the flight was operated normally and arrived in Toronto this afternoon.”


Officials also said that it is not possible to open aircraft doors at high altitude as they are “designed to act as a plug that takes advantage of the differences in internal and external air pressure to create a secure seal.”

The incident happened less than two weeks after a man was injured when he opened a cabin door and fell to the tarmac upon boarding Air Canada Flight AC056, which was bound for Dubai from Toronto. Air Canada told Global News that one passenger “boarded the aircraft normally,” but walked to the other side of the aircraft instead of taking their seat and opened a cabin door.

Air Canada said all “approved boarding and cabin operating procedures were followed” at the time.
 

petros

The Central Scrutinizer
Nov 21, 2008
109,232
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Low Earth Orbit
Air Canada plane lands safely after passenger 'in crisis' tries to open door
No charges laid, Peel police say, following flight from London to Toronto

Author of the article:Jordan Ercit
Published Jan 21, 2024 • 2 minute read
No charges have been laid after an elderly man "in a state of crisis and confusion" tried to open an emergency door on an Air Canada flight from London to Toronto, police say.
No charges have been laid after an elderly man “in a state of crisis and confusion” tried to open an emergency door on an Air Canada flight from London to Toronto.


Peel Regional Police were made aware of the incident, which happened Sunday afternoon during a flight from London’s Heathrow Airport to Pearson International Airport. CityNews was the first to report about the incident after reportedly being contacted by someone on the plane who said a fellow passenger was “acting strange” throughout the flight.


“Information provided to us was that a passenger had attempted to open a door midflight; this of course cannot be done at cruising altitude,” Const. Tyler Bell-Morena said in an email to the Toronto Sun. “The aircraft landed safely at Pearson International Airport shortly after 3 p.m.


“Once the flight was deboarded, officers entered the aircraft to deal with the passenger in question.”

Bell-Morena said the passenger, an elderly male, was in a “state of crisis and confusion and it does not appear that his actions were intentional.” He said no charges were laid and the passenger’s family has been offered “additional resources” as a result.

Air Canada confirmed the incident in an email to the Sun, saying that staff dealt with a “disruptive passenger” on Flight AC855 en route to Toronto from London-Heathrow and “managed the situation appropriately, allowing the flight to continue normally to its destination.

“As per procedures, authorities met the aircraft,” Air Canada’s media relations department said. “We have no additional details to provide, but as noted the flight was operated normally and arrived in Toronto this afternoon.”


Officials also said that it is not possible to open aircraft doors at high altitude as they are “designed to act as a plug that takes advantage of the differences in internal and external air pressure to create a secure seal.”

The incident happened less than two weeks after a man was injured when he opened a cabin door and fell to the tarmac upon boarding Air Canada Flight AC056, which was bound for Dubai from Toronto. Air Canada told Global News that one passenger “boarded the aircraft normally,” but walked to the other side of the aircraft instead of taking their seat and opened a cabin door.

Air Canada said all “approved boarding and cabin operating procedures were followed” at the time.
“State of crisis and confusion".

Too many pre-boarding scotch in the AC Lounge will do that to a fella.
 
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spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
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Air Canada CEO blasted over accessibility services at House committee
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Christopher Reynolds
Published Feb 05, 2024 • Last updated 2 days ago • 4 minute read

Lawmakers took Air Canada’s CEO to task on Monday over “shocking” and failures to accommodate passengers living with disabilities.


At a House of Commons committee hearing on services for Canadians with disabilities, chief executive Michael Rousseau faced a barrage of questions over reports of passenger mistreatment in the past year.


Conservative vice-chair Tracy Gray cited several incidents she deemed shocking: “An Air Canada passenger had a lift fall on her head and her ventilator was disconnected; Air Canada leaving Canada’s own chief accessibility officer’s wheelchair behind on a cross-Canada flight … and a man was dropped and injured when Air Canada staff didn’t use a lift as requested.”

In August, a man with spastic cerebral palsy was forced to drag himself off of an airplane due to a lack of help, a situation Bloc Quebecois MP Louise Chabot called “scandalous.”


Asked by NDP disability inclusion critic Bonita Zarrillo whether he’d ever had to crawl down the aisle or exit on a catering cart _ in reference to recent stories — he replied, “No, of course not.”

“We do make mistakes,” he said.

Rousseau pointed to an expedited accessibility scheme announced in November along with new measures to improve the travel experience for hundreds of thousands of passengers living with a disability.

Last week, the carrier formed an advisory committee made up of customers with disabilities and laid out a program where a lanyard worn by travellers indicates to staff they may need assistance.

“The vast majority of customers requesting accessibility help from Air Canada are having a good experience. There are exceptions. We take responsibility for those exceptions,” Rousseau said.


He apologized last fall for the airline’s failures around accessible air travel.

Zarrillo suggested the shortcomings run deeper than occasional missteps, saying Air Canada’s “corporate culture” and a lack of federal enforcement account for the mistreatment, even after regulatory reforms in the past five years.

Others suggested the legislation itself needs further overhauls.

Conservative MP Rosemarie Falk pressed Rousseau on whether the airline was in compliance with all regulations after he initially replied, “I can’t respond to that question at this point in time.”

Once he’d landed on a yes, Falk said the airline’s accessibility problems amid stated compliance with the law would suggest “major flaws” in the Accessible Canada Act, passed in 2019.


However, Liberal MP Peter Fragiskatos argued the issue appeared to lie more with day-to-day implementation than with regulations or C-suite priorities.

He cited Jeff Preston, an associate professor of disability studies at King’s University College, who wrote that Air Canada has up-to-date accessibility frameworks, but that “none of these policies are being adequately downstreamed from corporate/legal to the front line.”

Rousseau had a comparable view: “The chief issue is inconsistency.”

Complaints have come from various corners.

In December, the Canadian Paralympic Committee along with some para athletes demanded better transport to and from competitions abroad.

The call followed repeated complaints from Paralympic athletes of damaged or broken equipment, on top of delayed flights for competitors from Canada trying to reach the Parapan American Games in Chile in November.


Last month, Air Canada appealed a decision by the country’s transport regulator that seeks to boost accessibility for travellers living with a disability. If successful, the move would overturn a requirement to fully accommodate passengers whose wheelchairs are too large to move into airplane cargo holds.

Under its three-year accessibility plan, Air Canada has pledged to roll out measures that range from establishing a customer accessibility director to consistently boarding passengers who request lift assistance first.

The Montreal-based company also aims to implement annual, recurrent training in accessibility — such as how to use an eagle lift — for its 10,000-odd airport employees. It further plans to include mobility aids in an app that can track baggage.


“We have high awareness, a strong work ethic and deep empathy among our employees and contractors,” Rousseau said.

Flight delays — a persistent snag at Air Canada, which ranked last in on-time performance last year out of 10 large North American carriers — affect people living with disabilities more, he acknowledged. He said the company’s latest measures aim to “help alleviate that concern.”

Accessibility advocates have pointed to holes in the Accessible Canada Act they say allow problems to persist in areas ranging from consultation to assistance protocols.

Heather Walkus, who heads the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, has highlighted a lack of detail on how to train staff. She has also cited a rule requiring federally regulated companies to involve people with disabilities in developing policies, programs and services — a “regulation you could drive a truck through.”

“You could send the administrator down to Tim Hortons and talk to someone in a wheelchair and you’ve consulted with the disability community. It’s a check-off,” she told The Canadian Press in November. The group she heads was not contacted by Air Canada on its new accessibility blueprint, she said.
 

spaminator

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Oct 26, 2009
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Air Canada liable for what its chatbot's misleading info: Tribunal
The decision is a reminder of company liability, experts say

Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Ian Bickis
Published Feb 16, 2024 • Last updated 2 days ago • 3 minute read
Experts say a ruling on Air Canada's liability for what its chatbot said shows how companies need to be cautious when relying on the technology.
Experts say a ruling on Air Canada's liability for what its chatbot said shows how companies need to be cautious when relying on the technology.
A decision on Air Canada’s liability for what its chatbot said is a reminder of how companies need to be cautious when relying on artificial intelligence, experts say.


The B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal decision issued Wednesday showed that Air Canada tried to deny liability when its chatbot gave misleading information about the airline’s bereavement fares.


“In effect, Air Canada suggests the chatbot is a separate legal entity that is responsible for its own actions,” tribunal member Christopher Rivers said in his decision.

“This is a remarkable submission,” he said.

Jake Moffatt brought the challenge after he tried to get the lower bereavement fare after already having paid full price for a flight, as the chatbot had implied he could, but the airline denied the claim saying he had to apply before taking the trip.

Rivers said in his decision that it should be obvious Air Canada is responsible for the information on its website, and in this case the airline did not take reasonable care to ensure its chatbot was accurate.


Air Canada said in a statement that it will comply with the ruling, and that since it considers the matter closed, it has no additional information.

While the decision at a tribunal — which doesn’t create precedence — was fairly low stakes, with about $650 in dispute, it shows some of the ways companies can get caught up as they increasingly rely on the technology, said Ira Parghi, a lawyer with expertise in information and AI law.

“If an organization or a company decides to go down that road, it has to get it right,” she said.

As AI-powered systems become capable of answering increasingly complex questions, companies have to decide if it’s worth the risk.

“If an area is too thorny or complicated, or it’s not rule-based enough, or it relies too much on individual discretion, then maybe bots need to stay away,” said Parghi.


Laws are still catching up on some gaps presented by AI, which pending federal legislation is looking to bridge, but in many cases existing law can cover the issues, she said.

“They relied on good old-fashioned tort law of negligent misrepresentation, and got to the right result based on, sort of, very conventional reasoning.”

The argument that a company isn’t liable for its own chatbot is a novel one, said Brent Arnold, a partner at Gowling WLG.

“That’s the first time that I’ve seen that argument,” he said.

If a company wants to avoid liability as they offer a chatbot, they would have to use a lot of language making it highly visible that they take no responsibility for the information it provides, which would make it of questionable use to consumers, said Arnold.


“That’s about as good as the chatbot saying, ‘Hey, why don’t you eat this thing I found on the sidewalk?’ Why would I do that?”

Companies will have to start disclosing more about what is AI-powered as part of the coming legislation, and they’ll also have to test high-impact systems more before rolling them out to the public, he said.

As rules around the practices evolve, companies will have to be careful on both civil liability and regulatory liability, said Arnold.

In the U.S., the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued guidance last year around problems with chatbots, warning that banks risk violating obligations, eroding customer trust and causing consumer harm when deploying chatbots.

“When a person’s financial life is at risk, the consequences of being wrong can be grave,” the regulator said.


The CFPB warned of numerous negative outcomes that many people are likely familiar with, including wasted time, inaccurate information and feeling stuck and frustrated without a way to reach a human customer service representative that can create “doom loops” of chatbot answers.

While the Air Canada example was straightforward, just how much companies are liable for potential errors has yet to be tested much, said Arnold, as it’s still early days for the AI systems.

“It will be interesting to see what a Superior Court does with a similar circumstance, where there’s a large amount of money at stake,” he said.

Gabor Lukacs, president of the Air Passenger Rights consumer advocacy group, said the Air Canada ruling does justice for the traveller, and showed that the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal is a forum where passengers can get a fair hearing.

He also noted that Air Canada was called out by the tribunal for providing a boilerplate response that denied every allegation, without providing any evidence to the contrary.