It was a promise to his dying mother but because of an apparent mix-up by Air Canada, a son’s final commitment was left unfulfilled.
Back in 2013, Jean Stone was moved out west, from Toronto, to Prince George British Columbia by her son, Glenn Stone. Stone promised his mother then, and again as her health began to fail, that he would accompany her body on the same plane back to Toronto, after which she would be buried beside her late husband in Dundas, Ontario.
“The hurt is once I found out (she was on a different flight) I couldn’t do a thing to correct the problem.”
Glenn Stone and the body of his mother, Jean, were to fly back to Toronto from Vancouver on Flight 34, on Saturday, October 21st at 9 a.m.
However, the flight was cancelled and they were moved to Flight 2134 on the same day at the same exact time. Stone claims the funeral home touched base with Air Canada Cargo to ensure they were both still on the same flight.
“I went to bed Friday night thinking this is the last request I can have for Mom. We are on the same flight in the morning. I went to the airport and inquired at the gate that Mom had been put on the same flight, a gate agent called to check and then told me Mom had been put on an earlier flight to Toronto an hour earlier.”
In the official contract for Jean Stone, the Air Canada transfer clearly says: “Do not load on earlier flight – family is travelling.” Though Stone’s remains were still put on an earlier flight to Toronto. Without her son’s knowledge.
“I’d done everything I could but I was devastated that promise couldn’t be honored to mom.”
In a statement to CityNews, Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick wrote: “This unfortunate situation arose because the flight the customer was scheduled to travel on with his mother’s remains was cancelled due to a mechanical issue with the aircraft designated to operate that flight. We created a new flight with another aircraft, which the customer flew on. To ensure that the casket arrived in Toronto in a timely manner, it was put on an earlier flight as soon as our Cargo team became aware of the flight cancellation. Our intention was to avoid any delay.”
The problem is, both the cancelled flight and the new flight were scheduled to leave on October 21st at 9 a.m. Stone has since been issued a $200 dollar voucher, an offer he finds insulting.
“To think they could brush it under the carpet, and give me a $200 dollar voucher? Why would they think I would ever want to fly on Air Canada again? Why would my family want to?”
Air passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs, calls Air Canada’s offer an “insult to the passenger.” Lukacs also calls the case a complicated matter.
“On the one hand, one can say it arrived there on time, it fulfilled the contract from a cargo perspective but at the same time we must understand when we talk about the body of a family member it is not simply a piece of cargo.”
Since CityNews reached out to Air Canada they have said they “understand the disappointment this has caused and our customer relations office has reached out and remains engaged with the customer.”
Late Wednesday afternoon Air Canada again reached out to Glenn Stone, and according to him, admitted there was a breakdown in communication.
He says they’ll be reviewing what happened but will not be offering anything more in the way of compensation.