A retired British couple was kicked off an Air Canada flight Tuesday night, along with 23 others, without giving any explanation as to what they had done wrong.
Richard and Patricia Brailey, aged 71 and 66 respectively, had safely boarded flight AC866 bound for London Heathrow at Montreal International Airport.
But shortly after settling into their seats, armed police reportedly boarded the plane to remove the Braileys.
Another 25 passengers were ejected from the plane’s cabin at the same time and in the same way.
His son, Patrick Brailey, criticized the airline on social media, saying: “My elderly parents have been escorted by armed police from @AirCanada flight AC866 along with 28 others.
“Without explanation, your bags have continued to LHR.
“A separate Air Canada employee at the terminal told them the removal was an order from the captain?
“There are no communications on board, but the employee believes the removal must have been due to ‘not wearing a mask or being drunk.'”
Brailey called it a “huge mix-up” and said: “My elderly parents religiously wore their masks and weren’t drunk. They left me stranded in the terminal.
Richard Brailey told the daily mail:: “We had waited about an hour for the plane to take off when a staff member with a list of numbers passed by looking from one side to the other of the rows.
“They started looking at the seat numbers and before that they took out two girls from three or four rows in front of us.
“Then they pointed at us and told the police with them to get us out. We were totally stunned. We had just been sitting in our seats normally with our masks on and itching to get going.”
The Braileys and other passengers were told they could not board another Air Canada flight for 24 hours after they were removed from the London-bound plane and, since they had been disembarked, arranging a replacement flight was now impossible. your responsibility.
According to other passengers on social media, the group that was removed included a pregnant woman, a couple with two children, several members of the Williams Racing Formula 1 team and an Aston Martin F1 team doctor.
“We were in total shock. I figured there must be a problem with the paperwork or something,” Richard Brailey told reporters.
“I was asking what it was and if I could talk to the captain, but they said I’d find out later. It was a nightmare scenario.
“It was completely strange because there was no noise or disturbance on the flight. From what I could see, everyone was behaving properly, and we certainly did.”
He added that the man next to them had been asleep under a blanket before he was woken up and taken out.
Jess McFadyen, who works for Motorsport, filmed the altercation with airline staff and police, calling it “absolutely disgraceful”.
“23 people were completely randomly removed from the plane by attendants, including this elderly couple, a pregnant Williams team member, and a family of four,” Ms. McFadyen wrote on Twitter.
His video shows a masked woman looking confused as a police officer and a man in a suit ask her to get up from her seat and retrieve her bag from the top locker. The woman appears to shrug 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 refusing to talk to anyone!”
He later added, “The head butler was on a power trip! He made as if people were kicking or getting drunk. Complete lies! Shocking treatment from many people at AC866.”
A Formula 1 commentator, David Croft, who was at the Montreal airport at the time, claimed that a man ejected had been unable to carry his hand luggage and was left without his wallet and passport.
In addition to the airport abandonment and lack of explanation, Patrick Brailey also pointed to the strange decision to leave the couple’s checked luggage on the flight after they were picked up, asking, “Surely this is a security risk? “.
Airlines must match their passenger list with luggage in the hold before a flight can take off, and bags not attached to a flying passenger are usually removed.
The couple’s other son was able to book them an Air Transat flight back to London, paying £1,300 for last-minute tickets. They also had to pay the bill for a night in an airport hotel.
Air Canada confirmed that 25 passengers were “deplaned” 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 Monday night, due to disruptive behaviour.
“We understand that there are allegations that in the course of removing these passengers, certain unrelated persons were also disembarked.
“Some of these disembarked customers were rebooked this morning and are on their way to their final destination. Once our investigation is complete, we will follow up with customers.”
A Montreal Trudeau International spokesman said police were called in to deal with “a situation on board an aircraft on the night of June 20 and escorted passengers off the plane, at the request of the flight captain and crew.” ”.
An Air Canada spokesperson said: “We can confirm that the disembarkation of passengers from flight AC866 on June 20 was related to non-compliance with Canadian government mask regulations, Canadian Aviation Regulations, as well as our crew directives. .
“The actions taken were for the safety and benefit of the other 266 passengers on the flight. We regret that some passengers who were not involved were unfortunately disembarked. We have since reached out to those we have identified as having been removed in error to apologize and address their concerns.”