An Edmonton woman is blaming an American no-fly list after she was prevented from flying to Frankfurt, Germany without explanation.
Ayan Hassan had an Air Canada ticket to fly from Edmonton to Toronto, where she was due to connect a flight to Frankfurt, Germany – but when she tried to check in at the Edmonton International Airport, an attendant told her she could go to Toronto, but no further.
After an hour of discussion, she said it became clear she wasn’t going anywhere.
“The boarding agent was on the phone with some security system and when she was done she said, ‘Nope, you can go to Toronto if you want, but you cannot leave the country,’” said Hassan.
“I asked why. All she gave me was the TSA (Transport Security Authority) website, to go on there and deal with them.”
Hassan, who has a Canadian passport, said she received little explanation. Instead, she was given a series of forms to send to the United States government.
“The fact that I was denied with no apparent reason for me to fly – it was unbearable.”
She believes her name might be similar to someone else who is on the American no-fly list and, for some reason, her name popped up even though she wasn't flying to the U.S.
Business professor and airline security critic Barry Prentise supported her theory, noting that Hassan appears to be caught in no-fly list limbo.
“It's quite possible that it's just a mistaken identity, which is one of the problems with these no-fly lists is, 'How do we know for sure who the person is?'” he said.
Hassan said she will be sending all the necessary forms to the American government in the hopes of clearing her name.
She says they are welcome to look into her background as she has nothing to hide.
“They're not going to find anything other than a high school graduate right here in Edmonton — a person that lived here for the last 12 years; immigrated to this country as a refugee,” she said.
However, clearing her name may take time – especially given the partial U.S. government shutdown, where 800,000 federal workers are off the job.
In the meantime, Hassan has cancelled her trip.
Below is a statement from Air Canada concerning its policies and no-fly lists.