PHOTO: An Air Canada Rouge Airbus A319-114 taking off from Las Vegas. (photo via Flickr/Tomás Del Coro)
Airlines overbooking flights has become a hot topic since the video of a United Airlines passenger being dragged off a plane went viral.
Now, the story of a woman missing a $10,000 dream cruise because she was bumped from an Air Canada flight is stirring the pot again.
According to CBC News, Vicki Russell was scheduled to board a cruise to the Galapagos Islands after flying on Air Canada from Toronto to Miami. When in Florida, Russell was to meet up with representatives of Lindblad Expeditions and sail to the Galapagos.
Russell arrived at the airport on April 1 more than two hours before her scheduled departure time, but ran into trouble as she was preparing to board.
An agent at the gate informed her she was not able to get on the plane because she didn't have a valid ticket, despite being issued a boarding pass and checking her luggage.
After showing the gate agent documentation and even contacting the tour company to further provide proof, she was once again denied. Before anything could be worked out, the gate was closed and the flight was full.
Russell was told to visit the Air Canada customer service desk to help accommodate her on another flight in order to make her cruise in time. Unfortunately, she was forced to wait in line and it was too late get another flight to Miami. In addition, Russell was unable to get her checked bags back until the afternoon, ensuring she could not book a flight on another airline.
“I was so upset, I thought I was going to cry. Air Canada caused me to miss the trip of a lifetime,” Russell told CBC News. “The series of errors that they made, their lack of apology, their disinterest in helping me is appalling.”
Air Canada said that its staff worked hard to find Russell another flight after hers was overbooked, but were unable to do so in a timely fashion.
“Our agents worked hard looking for options,” spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick said in an email to CBC News. “This is a very regrettable situation and we are sorry we were unable to do more to help this customer get to her cruise.”
READ MORE: United: Tell Us Your Bumping Preference At Check-In
In response, Russell filed a formal complaint with the airline.
While Air Canada sent her a check for $800 as compensation, Russell paid $10,320 for her trip. Thankfully, CBC News contacted Lindblad Expeditions about the incident, and the tour company offered to book another complimentary expedition for Russell.
This time, Russell said she will fly to Miami via another airline.