Last updated: 01:00 PM ET, Thu August 20 2015

Passenger Misses Flight After Security Refuses to Frisk Him

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | August 20, 2015

Passenger Misses Flight After Security Refuses to Frisk Him

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has apologized to a passenger who missed his flight last month after an all-female security crew refused to frisk him, CBC News reported.

Robert Hart was scheduled to fly Air Canada from British Columbia to Ontario on July 26 when he ran into trouble after checking in with his wife at Northwest Regional Airport. 

Knowing that his artificial hip would set off the metal detector, Hart informed the CATSA ahead of time that he had a metal hip.

"I smiled at the... lady who was holding her [security] wand," Hart told CBC News. "And the words that came out of her mouth were, 'You're not going to be able to board this flight. You can't take this flight. You have to be patted down by male CATSA staff and one is not available.'"

Hart told CBC News that he offered to be frisked by anyone qualified, including one of the female security staff. 

"I said, 'What can we do here?' And [the CATSA screener] said, 'I'm sorry you're just going to have to book another flight. We're not prepared to negotiate at all on that.'"

With none of the airport's male screeners available, Hart missed his flight, delaying his trip by nine hours. Hart described the situation as "stunning."

"I couldn't believe this was happening," he told CBC News. 

While CATSA policy states that a physical search should be conducted by an officer that's the same gender as the passenger, authority spokesman Mathieu Larocque acknowledged that screeners could have done more.

"I can't disclose these procedures specifically, but there are procedures to have passengers screened when there are no same sex officers," Larocque told CBC News. "We will apologize because it was our mistake. [Hart] should have been screened, he should have been able to get on that plane."

Larocque said that CATSA has offered to compensate Hart for the additional expenses resulting from his missed flight.

Hart said his hip has set off the metal detector in the past, but this is the first time he was prevented from flying. 

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