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MD2 last won the day on April 14 2018

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  1. Air Canada forced 12-year-old Muslim girl to take off her hijab after already passing security The airline said such checks are 'required by law' but apologized, admitting the situation 'could have been handled better' Fatima Abdelrahman ,12, was forced to take her hijab off by Air Canada employees while travelling from San Francisco to Toronto for a squash tournament.Sabreen Abdelrahman - supplied Bobby Hristova August 14, 2019 12:53 PM EDT A 12-year-old girl and her family are searching for answers after Air Canada employees forced her to remove her hijab while waiting to board a flight at San Francisco International Airport. Fatima Abdelrahman was travelling from California to Toronto on Aug. 1 with fellow players and her coach on the U.S. Squash team to play in an international tournament against Canadian opponents. After passing through security and having her passport and boarding passes checked, she waited at the gate to enter the aircraft. As her group began walking onto the plane, an Air Canada agent approached Fatima, demanding she take off her headscarf. “The agent pulled me aside and said, ‘you’re going to need to take your scarf off’ and I said, ‘I can’t’ and he said, ‘no, you need to,’ ” Fatima said. “I knew I had done absolutely nothing wrong.” Fatima Abdelrahman, 12, was competing in the Battle of the Borders tournament where U.S. squash players visit Toronto to play Canadian opponents. This was her very first time travelling without family. Sabreen Abdelrahman - supplied Two other Air Canada employees then approached Fatima, reiterating she must remove the head covering because she wasn’t wearing one in her passport photo. Eventually a female employee escorted Fatima to a corner in a tunnel where passengers enter the plane and had her remove the headscarf. “It makes me feel really angry,” she said. “I was humiliated.” While it was happening, Fatima was messaging her family. “She made me take it off for a sec and then was like ok,” read a text from Fatima to her family. She added that the agent barely looked at what was on her head before letting her board the flight. Fatima eventually found a seat on the plane, but never saw her teammates and coach until they landed. It was the 12-year-old’s first time travelling internationally without her family. Fatima’s mother replied to the urgent texts, telling her to stay calm, while her older sister Sabreen was enraged. “My mom was shaking because she was already worried about her travelling alone, my dad and I were shocked and angry,” Sabreen said. “How is this happening to my baby sister?” Sabreen took to Twitter to confront Air Canada about the incident. 102 people are talking about this Air Canada replied to the tweet asking for more information while also mistakenly referring to Fatima as Sabreen’s daughter. The National Post reached out to Air Canada for five consecutive days and did not receive a response. Emails between the airline and Sabreen forwarded to the National Post indicate that Air Canada apologized but justified the move by employees. “We recognize you and your sister’s disappointment with the identification check that was done for her travel to Canada. Air Canada must comply with Canadian laws and regulations, which require us to compare a passenger’s entire face with the photograph shown on the travel document used prior to boarding the aircraft,” an Air Canada spokesperson wrote to the family. “Should one of our passengers wear religious or cultural head wear, as many do, we recognize the importance of respecting their right to privacy and any necessary identification check is to be done discretely and in a private area.” But Fatima’s face was fully visible and despite her pleas, was not taken to a private area. Aviation experts question security, passenger safety after woman left on Air Canada plane ‘The plane just dropped’: Air Canada flight makes emergency landing after dozens of passengers injured by turbulence Travellers could get up to $2,400 if they are bumped from an overbooked flight under Canada’s new air passenger protection rules Magdy, Fatima’s father, wrote back to Air Canada after being “disturbed” by the response. “Fatima just returned back yesterday and was not asked to remove her scarf at Pearson Airport, so Air Canada either broke the Canadian law yesterday or was racist on Thursday, which one is it?” read Magdy’s email. He added that other people in the airport were wearing sunglasses and hats that cover their faces, but were not pulled aside, which he wrote, “clearly illustrates that the agent was targeting Fatima as a Muslim.” The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) was not involved in the incident, but says passengers may keep their head coverings on during the screening process. They may require additional screening if they set off a metal detector. “CATSA knows that there can be sensitive situations when screening head coverings worn for religious or medical reasons. Screening Officers are trained to recognize these situations and ensure that passengers are treated with discretion and sensitivity,” a spokesperson wrote. “If a physical search is required, it may be conducted in a private search room at the passenger’s request.” Air Canada wrote it “must comply with Canadian laws and regulations which require us to compare a passenger’s entire face with the photograph shown on the travel document used prior to boarding the aircraft” and does so privately. Chris Helgren / Reuters Gábor Lukács, the founder and coordinator of Air Passenger Rights says he doesn’t believe the airline was allowed to force Fatima to remove her hijab and calls the incident a “significant failure in training.” “Do they think a 12-year-old kid is going to be a threat in the flight? This was a power trip. You have their U.S. passport, the coach, their mates — just use your head,” he said. “What makes it so serious is the aspect that it involves, smells and feels like racism … targeting them because of what they look like or their religion.” He added that if the airline thought she was a threat, they should have contacted police or security. “They are nothing more than your bus driver, not a state actor who can punish you and tell you how to be good or bad,” Lukács said. “Imagine you were on a bus and the driver tells you you can’t get on the bus unless you took off your religious headwear. That’s fundamentally wrong.” Magdy also urged Air Canada to make a donation to the children of a couple gunned down during the terrorist attack in El Paso, Texas that ended 22 lives. Investigators are considering the mass shooting as a hate crime towards Hispanic immigrants. “I obviously am not directly blaming Air Canada for that tragedy, but what your agent did at SFO (San Francisco International Airport) is a seed for hate-spreading that needs to be stopped at all levels,” Magdy wrote. Air Canada apologized. “On behalf of Air Canada, I would like to apologize for letting you down and leaving you disappointed after boarding your flight at the airport in San Francisco,” a spokesperson wrote to Magdy. “I agree that this could have been handled better and I want to personally assure you that we are using your feedback to ensure improvements are made.” Sabreen adds that the airline said it would consider donating to the children who lost their parents during the terrorist attack in El Paso. Fatima Abdelrahman visits Niagara Falls while in Canada. Sabreen Abdelrahman - supplied Fatima didn’t let the incident throw her off — she won her squash tournament and hopes it will be one of many. She says she doesn’t plan on using Air Canada again and it’s unclear if U.S. Squash will continue using Air Canada — the organization did not respond to the National Post’s request for comment. But Fatima says she still likes Canada. “I don’t think it’s changed my perspective of Canada itself,” she said. “There’s a lot of nice people there.”
  2. Mom, daughter kicked off Air Canada plane, not told they're banned from airline until it was too late Social Sharing Air Canada says the 2 were ordered to leave July 31 flight due to disruptive behaviour Sophia Harris · CBC News · Posted: Aug 16, 2019 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: an hour ago Ana Constantin, left, and her daugher Lisa Maria Paun are pictured on vacation in Romania before they boarded and were forced off an Air Canada flight in Bucharest on July 31. (Submitted by Ana Constantin) 1572 comments A Quebec woman wound up spending nearly $8,000 in airline tickets to fly herself and her daughter home after Air Canada kicked them off a plane and then didn't immediately inform them that they were banned from future Air Canada flights. Air Canada says the two were ordered to leave their flight, departing Bucharest for Montreal on July 31, due to disruptive behaviour. Ana Constantin and her daughter, Lisa Maria Paun, deny the allegation, and say that being ousted from the plane was only the beginning of their ordeal. Because they didn't know at the time about their ban, they booked the next available flight home — the second leg of which was again with Air Canada. When they arrived at their stopover in Frankfurt, much to their surprise, Air Canada wouldn't let the two board their connecting flight back to Canada, leaving them stranded at the airport. In all, Constantin, right, racked up more than $8,000 in airfare, hotels and additional expenses trying to get herself and her daughter back to Montreal. (Submitted by Ana Constantin) "Imagine the frustration," said a still-distraught Constantin from her home in Gatineau, Que. "It's beyond understanding." Following a CBC News inquiry, Air Canada emailed a letter to Constantin and Paun — two weeks after their initial flight — laying out why they were ordered off that flight and details of their flying ban. I am mentally and financially devastated. I cannot eat. I cannot sleep.- Ana Constantin But the information came too late; Constantin had already paid a total of $7,758 for a flight that only got them as far as Frankfurt, and then another flight on Austrian Airlines to finally return to Montreal. "I am mentally and financially devastated," said Constantin. "I cannot eat. I cannot sleep." Air Canada said it's "dealing directly" with the passengers regarding reimbursement for the Frankfurt flight. So far, Constantin has received a $262.26 refund toward the $3,916 flight. What are the reasons? Their troubles began when Constantin, a 45-year old financial officer, and Paun, a 22-year-old university student, boarded their Air Canada flight at the Henri Coandă Airport in Bucharest after visiting family in Romania. They said the flight's departure was delayed because some passengers had to be reassigned seats so families could sit together. Paun said someone else was put in her seat, so she was assigned to a different one. She said she and her mother were ordered to leave the plane after a flight attendant asked Paun to return to her initial seat, and she replied that she couldn't. "I said that I can't move back because you just put a man in my seat. And that's when she just got angry with me and said that I'm not co-operating." Air Canada said the two passengers 'became verbally abusive to the crew' and 'refused to take their assigned seats or safely stow onboard luggage.' (Air Canada) Constantin said she was in the washroom at the time and when she learned the news, she refused to disembark, so a police officer was called to escort them off the plane. "We felt very embarrassed and humiliated," said Paun. In an email to CBC News, Air Canada spokesperson Angela Mah said that Paun and Constantin "became verbally abusive to the crew" and refused to take their assigned seats or safely stow their carry-on bags. read Air Canada's full statement here She also said efforts made by the crew to defuse the situation were unsuccessful. "Air Canada has a zero tolerance policy for disruption and outright refusal to follow safety directions," said Mah. Paun and Constantin deny Air Canada's accusations. CBC News was unable to verify what happened on board with third-party witnesses. What are the rules? According to Transport Canada, airlines have the right to refuse to board passengers if it's deemed their behaviour may jeopardize the safety of a flight. But the federal department also says that passengers should be informed about why they're denied boarding and the conditions of their ban. Constantin and Paun said they received no such information at the time; instead, Paun said a flight attendant told her they'd be rebooked on another Air Canada flight. The two women spent the next two days in Bucharest, calling Air Canada, but said they were told there was nothing in the airline's computer system about their case. 'I felt very belittled': Yellowknife chaperones removed from Air Canada flight home Air Canada fined $65,000 for 'mental agony' after family kicked off flight Desperate to get home, Constantin rebooked them on a flight for Aug. 4, issued by Air Canada for $3,916. They had no problem boarding partner airline, Lufthansa on the first leg to Frankfurt. But then the two women weren't allowed to board their Air Canada flight back to Canada. "We felt like dirt," said Constantin. "I couldn't take it anymore. I started to cry." Feeling she had no choice, Constantin shelled out another $3,842 for two seats on an Austrian Airlines flight to Montreal. In all, she racked up more than $8,000 in airfare, hotels and added expenses, trying to get herself and Paun home. Entitled to refunds CBC News asked Air Canada why it allowed Constantin and Paun to book themselves on another Air Canada flight after it had banned them from flying. The airline responded that anybody can book a ticket and that it's only when passengers check in and show ID that Air Canada can verify if they're prohibited from boarding. The airline also said that it sent Constantin and Paun information about their ban shortly after they were ordered off the Bucharest flight. However, that information — in the form of a letter — was sent by regular mail, and Constantin said it hasn't yet arrived. One day following CBC News's inquiry to Air Canada on Tuesday, Constantin and Paun received the letter by email. CBC News also asked Air Canada about compensation. The airline's tariff or rule book states that passengers refused boarding are entitled to refunds for the unused portion of their trip. The airline said that because Lufthansa issued the tickets for the initial Air Canada flight the two women were removed from, it's up to that airline to handle a refund request for that flight. Air Canada didn't indicate if Constantin will get a full refund for the Frankfurt flight. Constantin and Paun can try to get their flying ban lifted only by writing Air Canada, promising they won't behave badly again. Constantin said she won't be doing that because they have no future plans to fly with the airline.
  3. That may be your opinion, however over the years and through experience it's been proven that Hamilton is better, plus Pearson is a nightmare on so many levels; which is why adding more airlines and traffic to Pearson is not a viable solution and substitute for expanding the Toronto City airport.
  4. These comments and personal attacks on this lady is uncalled for, especially from so called "informed professionals"! Clearly she is no millennial as someone suggested, rather a very seasoned individual and regardless of how "unexciting" her life registers on others' excitometer, she did not deserve to be abandoned on board by crew, groomers and other airline staff. Even if she purposely tried to "hide" on board, there should be checks and procedures in place to ensure all passengers' (or "customers'" as Air Canada legal has decided to say) safety.
  5. Given the traffic and its own restrictions and curfew at Pearson, Hamilton is a better choice for diversion for Porter. It's about the same air distance, and factoring in the delays at Pearson, works out to be about the same time as Pearson anyway, plus it has no restrictions, and no 800 pound guerrilla trying to block every access!!
  6. Unscheduled maintenance is not fun, but it happens at every airline. When Air Canada recently cancelled most of their flights, not even for mechanical reasons but their software issues, and stranded tens of thousands of people languishing at airports, I doubt they bought everyone pizza and put them in 5 star hotels. Mechanical things sometimes break, sometimes a few break at the same time, and then cancellations and delays happen. It's happened before, it will happen again.
  7. In the fine tradition of Air Canada Employee website, focus on the messenger, rather than the message! All noise aside, do those A320s have GPS now? Speak to that or other technical upgrades Air Canada has done recently.
  8. Did Air Canada's last merger make it profitable? As I recall it filed for bankruptcy and cancelled all its shares. Few years later, it almost went bankrupt again! It seems that mergers don't necessarily make companies profitable, sound business plans do. I can't say with any certainty which route would be better for Transat, but judging by recent comments, and considering the "Quebec factor", I'd say a deal that has the government of Quebec invested in it and supposedly keeps the jobs in Quebec will garner more support.
  9. Just stating facts ace! Since you are so interested I'll make it even more plain for you. I guess it's surprising to the people on Air Canada Employee web site to hear anything but Air Canada's praises, but the jest of it is that overall WestJet scores much higher in terms of customer service, Porter even higher. Check surveys. Secondly, in terms of aircraft technical, WestJet has pioneered RNP in Canada, and Porter invested in LPV that it can virtually fly a precision-like approach to any runway; in contrast Air Canada's A320 fleet didn't (or still doesn't?) have GPS that for instance once the NDB was decommissioned on RWY 32 in Halifax, it could not even fly an instrument approach to that runway. Again just stating facts...
  10. Quebec government will almost certainly want a part in a "Quebec company". They have already signalled their willingness to invest to keep the company and jobs in Quebec. The board will also likely endorse such a deal as it would have the provincial government "invested" in the success of the company. Most staff will also likely prefer this as it will transform Transat into a higher profile company with more funds to secure more assets and growth.
  11. Well, this will likely force Air Canada into a bidding war which is a lose-lose scenario. New bidders may yet emerge. If it does get Transat, likely it is at inflated prices which make no economical sense and then is busied for a decade merging the operations and losing money in the process. Likely it will come with restrictions from Competition Bureau too, complicating things further. If it does lose the deal, it serves a s a set-back while breathing new life into the new Transat and increasing competition against it. The latter is likely to happen though, because of the requirement for Quebec government involvement, which has already signaled its willingness. A deal that has the Quebec government "invested" will be more appealing for Transat and for Quebec because it is seen as a guarantee to secure those jobs and keep them in Quebec. Much like the Bombardier deal, the more entities involved and invested in the deal, the better it is for the company!
  12. Well that's definitely a first, calling WestJet "not good on customer side of the operation"! Most likely take WestJet for a friendly "guest" experience over Air Canada's "customers"! And it's not really about being a technogeek as you say, rather about allocating resources where most needed. For instance in an age when most carriers are maximizing safety and efficiency by utilizing LPV and RNP, it's simply out of step with modernity to conduct traditional NDB approaches in a jet transport aircraft!
  13. It has everything to do with a safe and efficient operation which is the most important thing for passengers. If a carrier is creative enough to surpass supposedly the national carrier in resources for operation, surely it can secure required human resources to handle passengers, disabled or otherwise. Also if Air Canada stranded ALL its passengers for over a day (including many disabled no doubt), one couple pales in comparison. These things happen, no big news. I would posit that the entire WestJet long haul operations does not hing on this one event.
  14. Considering that just recently AC stranded thousands of "customers" due to their system wide software issues, I'd say this is insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Besides, WestJet has always been very resourceful in its operation, for instance pioneering RNP in Canada, at a time when some AC aircraft didn't even have GPS!
  15. This is good news for people at WestJet Group, and the travelling public who will have more choices for travel to the Far East at competitive prices. Quite likely the options for the next 10 B787s will be exercised very soon, and won't be surprizing to see options for more. I suspect applications for Japan, Australia and Brazil will follow.