London, Ont., family stuck in London, England after airlines refuse to let them board
Mustapha and Hussein Boroot have been stuck in England for the past two days ... and counting
Two Canadians are stuck in England after being refused entry onto a connecting flight that was to take them home and so far, no one is able to help them.
Hussein Boroot, 74, and his son, Mustapha, 25, were on a trip together to Lebanon to visit family and were returning home to London, Ont., via London, England, through Calgary, Alta., earlier this week when they were refused boarding onto their WestJet flight.
The two flew with the airline from Calgary to London, England, on May 11 with no issues.
"WestJet said it's outside their control," said Zainab Boroot, Hussein's daughter, who has been working from London, Ont., trying to get her family members home.
Airline staff have hinted that the issue could be related to the fact that their flight home could take them over American airspace, but no one has provided a firm answer about why they cannot fly. Neither family member is on a no-fly list that they know of, Zainab Boroot told CBC News.
The family has contacted Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian Embassy in England, and the Transportation Safety Board. They tried to contact Homeland Security in the United States but haven't been able to reach anyone.
"We have been stuck in London, England, since June 22, 2022, at 15:05," Hussein wrote in an email.
"I am a 73-year-old senior, with two knee replacements, and two foot surgeries that are less than a month old. I have been in the airport for over 48 hours. I have been sleeping on the airport floor in an effort to get some relief. My medical state is declining rapidly. I am beyond exhausted, and my rheumatoid arthritis is flaring up to levels of pain I have never felt before."
In an email to CBC News on Friday, WestJet said they are required to follow security procedures in the countries where they operate, and fly over.
"In the instance we receive notification from a jurisdiction that a guest is not permitted to board one of our aircraft, we are required to abide by the process in place as set by the jurisdiction we have received it from," the company's statement said.
4 flights, 4 denials
A travel agent advised them to book all the flights they could that don't go over American airspace. They've tried to book four such flights through Calgary, Toronto, Iceland, and Halifax, but have been denied boarding each time.
"We have communicated this to the Canadian government, but they keep coming back with the same response: The Canadian government has no legislative responsibility to aid Canadians abroad in returning back home," Hussein said in his email to CBC News.
His daughter is distraught and worried for her dad but also angry that no one is able to help the family.
"They're just trying to get home. My dad has been a Canadian citizen since 1965," she said.
Liberal MP Peter Fragiskatos has been involved in helping the family get home, although he cautioned that the Canadian government could not interfere in decisions made by American authorities.
"We continue to do our best to help this family," Fragiskatos said. "It's a very difficult situation. They're not allowed to board a flight because of an American decision that, it seems, prevents them from entering U.S. airspace. As is the case with many flights, the U.S. is chosen by airlines for landing in case of emergency."
The family is looking at another flight through Iceland that could avoid American airspace.
"This situation is something that we're aware of, and we do care about it as an office," Fragiskatos said. "My responsibility is to exhaust every option as to what Canada can do to help get them back."