B.C. man carries guns aboard Air Canada flight
A serious case of miscommunication led a British Columbia man to carry two guns onto an Air Canada flight with what he was told was the proper authorization, only to be arrested for impersonating a police officer upon landing in Toronto.
Aaron Haight and his wife were travelling to Ontario on June 14 so his mother could meet her 11-month-old granddaughter for the first time. While on the trip, Haight intended to participate in a shooting competition, and so brought a Glock 22 and another gun with him.
Haight says he was sure to get the proper authorization to fly with his guns from the RCMP.
"You're supposed to declare them and they're supposed to go through special baggage," Haight told CTV News. "That's not what happened this day."
Air Canada's customer service agents were on strike when Haight and his family arrived at the airport around 4:30 a.m. When he told the manager at the Air Canada desk about his guns, and that he was authorized to carry them, he was handed a form.
He filled it out, and then was told "to bring the firearms on the plane with me." His ammunition was stored in a checked suitcase.
Haight made his way through security, where officials told him not to walk through the metal detector but asked to see his badge. He said he didn't have one, since he was not a police officer. Instead, he showed his possession and acquisition licence that, as Haight points out, looks more like a driver's licence than a badge.
"They proceeded me onto the plane," Haight said. "I then was looking around and wondering why are they letting me on here with two pistols in a briefcase?"
When he asked that very question, Haight was told to give the briefcase to a flight attendant. Two hours into the flight, Haight was again asked for a badge. When the pilot learned that Haight didn't have one -- about halfway through the flight -- the police were contacted.
When the plane landed, Haight was arrested on a charge of impersonating a police officer.
"At some point, someone believed he was a police officer (and) gave him the proper documentation to fill out to board the plane with his firearms," Peel Regional Police Const. Thomas Ruttan told CTV News.
Haight was held for three hours, while his wife was left stranded with their baby and luggage.
According to Ruttan, at some point police realized that Haight never claimed to be a police officer.
"It must have been miscommunication as he was boarding the plane that led to him being able to bring the firearms on to the plane," Ruttan said.
When the family returned home nine days later, they were met at the Vancouver airport by an RCMP officer who wanted to know how Haight got the guns on the flight to Toronto. After an hour of questioning, Haight and his family were allowed to go home.
Both the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority and Air Canada declined to comment on camera for the story. However, they issued statements saying they have conducted their own investigations into the incident and have taken steps to ensure a similar mix-up doesn't happen again.
Air Canada has also offered Haight $1,000 in travel vouchers -- for another Air Canada flight.
Haight says the fact Air Canada employees mistook him for a police officer has him worried about security measures, particularly given the fact he was offered the same incorrect form before his flight home.
"It's affecting me not just because of me and my family, but for the rest of Canadians," he said. "We're not safe."
With a report from CTV's Vancouver Bureau Chief Sarah Galashan