Air Canada apologizes after barring passenger from flying to U.S. to see terminally ill husband

Air Canada has apologized to passenger Mayette Musclow of Kelowna, B.C., after it barred her from flying to Cleveland final month to go to her terminally in poor health husband.

The airline informed CBC Information that the mishap occurred as a result of a misinterpretation of complicated border restrictions through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I used to be on the airport crying,” stated Musclow in regards to the incident. “I did not know what to do.” 

After she learn a CBC News story on Friday — which outlined that Canadians can fly to the U.S. through the pandemic — Musclow booked one other flight and flew to Cleveland on Tuesday with no problems. 

“I am so overwhelmed proper now, so overjoyed,” she informed CBC after passing by means of U.S. Customs.

To assist cease the unfold of COVID-19, the Canada-U.S. land border is closed to non-essential traffic on each side of the border till not less than July 21. Nevertheless, Canadians can nonetheless enter the U.S. by airplane. 

However when Musclow tried to verify in for her Might 24 flight from Kelowna to Cleveland, she stated an Air Canada agent informed her the U.S. border was closed to Canadians, and would not let her board the airplane.

“I used to be so upset as a result of we had three months — my husband has three months [to live] and I wished to go over there and be with him,” stated Musclow.

Mayette Musclow ready on the airport for her flight to the U.S., after passing by means of U.S. customs. on Tuesday. (Submitted by Mayette Musclow)

Her husband, John Sarvis, has cirrhosis of the liver and a 20 per cent likelihood of dying inside the subsequent three months, based on a Might 7 physician’s word supplied by Musclow. 

She married Sarvis, an American, final yr in Akron, Ohio, close to Cleveland, and deliberate to reside with him at his residence in Akron as soon as her software for an immigrant visa was authorized. 

When Sarvis acquired his dire prognosis final month, Musclow took day off from her job as a care assist, and booked a flight to be with him.

Canadians can nonetheless fly to the U.S.?

Musclow booked her flight with United Airways, however Air Canada was the provider for the primary leg of the journey from Kelowna to Washington D.C. She stated when she bought her ticket by cellphone, a United agent assured her that she may fly to the U.S. as a Canadian citizen. 

Based on U.S. Customs and Border Safety (CBP), Canadian travellers can at the moment fly to the U.S. so long as they haven’t visited Brazil, China, Iran, Eire, the U.Okay. or 26 European nations within the Schengen Area 14 days prior. 

However Musclow stated the Air Canada agent on the Kelowna airport informed her she wanted written permission to journey to the U.S., and would not situation her a boarding move. 

Musclow stated she consulted a second Air Canada agent on the airport who informed her that if the airline let her enter the U.S., the U.S. authorities would effective her $1,000.

“I used to be shaking,” stated Musclow. “It precipitated me numerous stress and tears for days. I used to be simply crushed.”

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Musclow stated United Airways returned the reward miles she used to e-book the flight, however did not refund the $130 she paid in taxes and charges.

United informed CBC Information on Tuesday it would refund the cash. 

After being contacted by CBC, Air Canada despatched Musclow an electronic mail on Tuesday providing a $500 journey voucher and its “honest apologies” for what occurred to her at check-in. 

Musclow being denied boarding was an “unlucky state of affairs” that “arose as a result of a misinterpretation of the complicated and altering guidelines round border closings,” Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick informed CBC Information in an electronic mail.

As a result of the U.S. land border is closed to Canadian travellers, many Canadians have incorrectly assumed they can not fly to the U.S.

Two days earlier than Musclow’s flight, Air Canada announced that it had resumed flying to the U.S. The net announcement included a link to a CBP website which states that Canadians can enter the nation.

Concern of flying

As a result of she was denied boarding, Musclow was afraid to e-book one other flight. She stated she began dropping hope of seeing her husband anytime quickly, after studying final week that the Canada-U.S. land border closure would be extended previous its then end-date of June 21.

“I used to be sitting in my mattress and saying, ‘What’s taking place?'” stated Musclow. “Like, I am simply gonna go there and bury my husband when the border’s open?”

Musclow had renewed hope of travelling to Cleveland after she learn the June 12 CBC Information article about Canadians flying to the U.S. 

The story featured a B.C. lady who had who had flown from Vancouver to Seattle final month to go to her sick grandson. 

“It was an enormous, massive reduction once I came upon this girl was in a position to fly to the U.S.,” stated Musclow. “I used to be like, ‘Why did the agent at Air Canada flip me down?'”

On her second try to fly to Cleveland, Air Canada let her board her flight. Musclow landed in Cleveland on Tuesday night time. 


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