An Edmonton man seeks his money back – and some answers – after being stranded in Kelowna after his girlfriend’s ID was stolen.
Eric Grouse was vacationing in BC with his girlfriend Roxanne Manuel and her 15-year-old daughter. The day before their flight home, Manuel’s wallet, containing her ID and all of the family’s bank cards, was stolen.
Grouse said they contacted Flair Airlines and told them that Manuel only had pictures of her birth certificate, health card and Métis status card. He adds that the representative initially said only original documents would be allowed, but after explaining the situation, he was given permission.
“His very last word was, ‘Amazing,'” Grouse said. “So then I’m like, ‘Perfect.’
“We are ready to go.”
They went to the airport early to make sure, Grouse said, but were told at the ticket counter that Manuel couldn’t get in. He said the agent hadn’t given them any information on how to find a solution, she just said no.
After checking with Air Canada, who Grouse said had told them a police report and the photos they had would be enough to board with, the family filed a police report and returned, but the Edmonton man said that they were told no again. He said they called Flair, and another agent told them it was the ticket agent’s choice to accept the documents, but even after the two representatives spoke, Manuel was turned away again.
“It was confusing,” Grouse said. “Everything they said was contradicted by their own words – the next thing they said. It made no sense to me.”
In an email, a Flair Airlines spokesperson told CTV that all passengers must follow Canadian federal identification guidelines, which are also on the airline’s website.
“It is a real shame that our passengers have lost their wallets and ID during their travels.” Flair said, but gatekeepers have no wiggle room to get around the rules. CTV asked Flair what passengers should do if their ID is stolen or missing, but the airline has not yet responded.
Grouse said they had no money and nowhere to go, and the airline didn’t offer to help, so they sent Manuel’s daughter on the plane to go home alone.
“She had panic attacks, fear through the roof,” Grouse said. “But she did it for us, because we didn’t want her on our street in Kelowna.
“It was a nightmare.”
Grouse said the couple spent the night wandering the streets of Kelowna with their luggage in tow before they could arrange a car through his work. He said they are asking for a refund, but they also want to warn people that they could be left unprotected if something goes wrong.
“I’ve never felt so hopeless in my life and I thought there would be a little more compassion, a little more empathy for the situation.”
dr. Gabor Lukacs, Air Passenger Rights president, says Grouse’s situation is difficult.
“It’s really one of those catastrophic situations that I fear will one day happen to someone I care about,” Lukacs said.
He adds that Canadian law allows the use of an alternative ID along with a police report, but must be physical copies.
“I feel very much for the passenger and the only thing the airline should be held liable for is giving wrong information on the phone,” Lukacs said. “That’s something I’m concerned about.”
If someone has stolen or lost their ID during a trip, it’s best to have original documents sent as soon as possible, says Lukacs. In international cases, an embassy can help with a missing passport, but in Grouse’s case, no one can do anything but have the documents sent.
Terms vary by airline, so Lukacs can’t say if Grouse will get his money back, but he said the conflicting information he was given is the best reason for a refund. comes Grouse’s way. He adds that the wrong information is the best bet to get a refund.
“Had he been given the right information, he could have taken a different path.
“That’s the only leg he can stand on.”