Porter passengers en route to chemotherapy bumped from flight

A father from Thunder Bay, Ont., isn't happy with the way Porter Airlines bumps passengers from over-sold flights.

Airline says its policy is to ask for volunteers, and says it is looking into the incident

Thunder Bay resident Greg Ulok and his daugher Xenia were recently bumped from a Porter Airlines flight because they paid the lowest price for their tickets. They were headed to Toronto for one of Xenia's cancer treatments. (Jeff Walters/CBC)
Greg Ulok and his daughter Xenia were bumped off their Porter flight recently. And they are not happy with the airlines policy. 3:23

A father from Thunder Bay, Ont., isn't happy with the way Porter Airlines bumps passengers from over-sold flights.

Greg Ulok and his 16-year-old daughter Xenia were recently bumped from a flight to Toronto, where the teen was to have a cancer treatment. He said they were told they were being bumped because they paid the lowest fare for their seats.

We were kept to the last second, told at the last minute that we're not going to get our plane.- Greg Ulok, Thunder Bay resident

But his daughter could not miss the chemotherapy appointment, Ulok said, and he thought someone else might have been willing to take a different flight.

"In my opinion, the best answer for that would be to ask for volunteers. None of that happened. We were kept to the last second, told at the last minute that we're not going to get our plane.”

Porter staff were understanding, Ulok said, but he still wants answers about the bumping policy.

'Several people would offer, for sure'

A spokesperson for Porter said its policy is to ask for volunteers who are willing to be bumped, and is looking into the incident.

That policy is what Ulok was counting on.

"The $500 they offer for people not to get on a plane ... there would be at least a few people that would stay behind and take the $500," he said.

"Not to mention if they [knew the] situation ... several people would offer, for sure, for Xenia to go to Toronto and [they] stay behind, so she could get to Toronto and go on with her procedures."

Ulok said Xenia, who has lymphoblastic lymphoma, has to travel to Toronto once a month. If she misses an appointment, her treatment schedule has to be changed.

He ended up buying a flight on WestJet and made it to the appointment on time.

There was a silver lining — someone offered to pay for their flight. Ulok said they could afford to pay for the flight, but he was very touched by the gesture.

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