WestJet apologizes to B.C. teen stranded in Calgary airport overnight
WestJet is apologizing after a Vernon teen was left stranded in the Calgary International Airport overnight.
Emma Fenton was travelling from Vernon to Fort St. John, a trip she takes every six weeks.
In Kelowna, the 15-year-old was told her flight was delayed and she would miss her connection to Fort St. John, so she was rerouted through Calgary. She said she was told her second ticket would be issued in Alberta.
Upon arrival in Calgary, Emma said a WestJet agent told her she would have to go to the main check-in for her next boarding pass and then back through security.
“Because it’s now one o’clock in the morning, there was nobody at Air Canada or WestJet check-in. She wasn’t able to find a security guard, a police officer, nothing,” said Emma’s stepmother, Christy Fenton.
In a statement to CTV News Vancouver, a spokesperson for the airport authority said it is looking into the situation but that there is no indication anyone from the airport was approached for help.
“Assistance is available 24/7 at YYC from our security and operations staff with added support from White Hat Volunteers and Customer Care Ambassadors,” spokesperson Reid Fiest wrote in a statement.
The teen spent the night in the airport.
“We couldn’t get a hotel because I can’t get myself a hotel, there was nobody there to give me a hotel and even if I had ended up in a hotel I didn’t know when I was going to be able to fly out and I didn’t want to miss potentially getting on a flight,” Emma explained.
Eventually she was rebooked onto a flight to Grande Prairie but her family was forced to drive five hours round trip to pick her up and take her back to B.C.
“I honestly can’t believe that the airlines weren’t a little bit more vigilant with unaccompanied minors flying,” said Christy.
Air Canada said Emma was given a boarding card in Kelowna and that she should have had “ample” time in Calgary to resolve any issues.
“Three customers boarded the Fort St. John flight in Calgary without issue and we do not have information as to why this passenger regrettably did not,” a spokesperson for the airline said in a statement.
A spokesperson for WestJet said that airline’s records show Air Canada never issued a ticket for Emma’s trip from Calgary and that the company is investigating.
“We sincerely apologize for not going above and beyond for this guest and letting her and her family down during her travels,” Public Relations Advisor Morgan Bell went on to say.
“I would definitely like to see them go a little bit further and update some policies or, if they have policies in place that we’re not aware of, if they went over those with their staff,” Christy said in response.
Emma says she is not concerned about flying again but that she will bring a change of clothes and a toothbrush next time.