An Air Transat passenger says he was made to pay $5,000 out of pocket because he was ‘completely abandoned’ by the airline after he passed out and was denied a flight from return to Toronto.
Shaun Mehta said he started feeling unwell as he sailed from Barcelona to Toronto on July 10.
“The last passengers were still on board when I felt dizzy and nauseous. I passed out in my seat,” Mehta told CTV News Toronto.
Flight attendants, along with a passenger who was a doctor, surrounded Mehta and gave him oxygen, which he said helped him considerably.
Spanish paramedics then boarded and tested his vital signs, which Mehta said he passed and was cleared to fly. He speculated that the episode was related to the dizziness of leaving the cruise ship he vacationed on.
In Mehta’s medical report, obtained by CTV News Toronto, paramedics checked “normal” for his breathing and “voluntary discharge” in their conclusion, describing his symptoms as “moderate.”
“I just wanted to go home at that time,” he said.
But then Mehta said a flight attendant approached him and said the pilot was not comfortable flying with him on board.
“They said, ‘If you don’t leave, we’ll escort you off the plane,'” Mehta said.
In a statement to CTV News Toronto, Air Transat said information about the passenger’s symptoms had been transferred to MedAire, a company specializing in medical and travel assistance.
“After analyzing the situation and discussing with the captain, MedAire determined that the passenger should indeed not travel. Paramedics arrived shortly after and attended to the patient,” said Air Transat spokeswoman Marie-Christine Pouliot.
“Passengers who are denied boarding for medical reasons should contact their travel insurance provider to cover accommodation or travel costs.”
As Mehta was anxious to get home, he said Air Transat crew members assured him he would be taken care of. He kissed his 12-year-old daughter goodbye, left her with her grandparents, and got off the plane with his wife.
“I expected an Air Transat representative to find us an alternate flight, medically reassess me, and take care of our food and accommodation needs, if necessary,” Mehta said.
“None of that happened.”
Instead, they were escorted to a taxi stand by an airport worker, which confused Mehta and his wife as they had nowhere to go.
After expressing this to the escort, Mehta said they were taken to a kiosk with various airline logos. There, they were given a card with an Air Transat phone number for their head office in Montreal.
“It’s Sunday morning in Montreal, no one is going to answer,” he said. As expected, he said they couldn’t reach anyone.
“We had been completely let down by Air Transat,” he said.
Desperate to get home, Mehta said they called their travel agent. The next Air Transat flight to Toronto wasn’t for days, so the agent booked them on an Air Canada flight the next morning, along with a hotel for the night. The total cost of last minute purchases was $5,000.
Since then, Mehta says he has not received any communication from Air Transat.
According to Air Transat’s website, if a passenger is denied boarding for reasons beyond the airline’s control, including safety concerns, Air Transat will provide free food and beverages, l access to means of communication, hotel accommodation and ground transportation.
“When I was removed from the flight, I no longer seemed to exist or matter to Air Transat. I have never felt so insignificant,” he said.
ctvnews Canada news