'Should not have occurred' says airline: Family offered compensation after 10-year-old bumped from flight

Air Canada says an incident involving a 10-year-old Stratford, P.E.I., boy being bumped from a flight last month “should not have occurred” and has offered the family compensation.

Air Canada offers P.E.I. family $2,500 for future travel and over $1,000 for expenses

Shanna Doyle (middle) says it would have been better if an incident involving her son Cole (right) not being able to reserve a seat on an Air Canada flight in March never happened. Also in this picture is Shanna's other son Simon. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Air Canada says an incident involving a 10-year-old Stratford, P.E.I., boy being bumped from a flight last month "should not have occurred" and has offered the family compensation.

Apologized to the family

"Our policy is very clear and this situation involving a family travelling together should not have occurred. We are following up to understand what went wrong. We have apologized to Mr. Doyle and his family for the inconvenience they experienced during their March break trip," said an Air Canada spokesperson in an email on Tuesday.

"We offered $2,500 in compensation and in addition issued a check for over $1,000 to cover their expenses for their trip last month."

The spokesperson said Air Canada's policy is to have parents and children seated together, and to offer complimentary seat assignment for families travelling with children under 12.

Shanna and Brett Doyle booked the trip back in August, but when they tried to pick their seats the day before they left for their flight from Charlottetown to Montreal, they couldn't get a seat for Cole.

Shanna Doyle went to the Charlottetown Airport for some answers, only to be told the flight was overbooked.

Overbooked flight 

So, the family booked a flight for Cole and his father out of Moncton later that day. They arrived to find out the flight was cancelled. They ended up being rerouted to Halifax and caught another connecting flight.

The family came back from Costa Rica around March 25. 

On Tuesday, Shanna Doyle said her family hadn't heard from Air Canada about the offer. She said they will accept it, but it would have been better if the situation never happened in the first place.
"Our vacation got off to a pretty bumpy start. We would have liked to have been able to redo our vacation. Or, even better yet, not experience this at all," she said.

"I just think it's unfortunate that it had to occur in the first place."

Even with the voucher for future travel and offer to cover expenses, Doyle said it won't be her family's "first choice" to travel with Air Canada in the future.

"We will do whatever we can in the future not to fly with Air Canada. But, living where we do, we're really limited in terms of our options, in terms of being able to fly out of Charlottetown airport."

"So, I expect that we will need to travel with Air Canada again, but certainly it wouldn't be our first choice."

Overselling keeps 'costs down'

Air Canada says most major airlines oversell because it helps keep costs down for customers. The company also says it has been approved by the Canadian Transportation Agency.

"Overselling also makes it possible for us to sell flexible tickets, including fully refundable tickets, which many customers desire," Air Canada added in the email.