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Woman forced to sleep at kind stranger's home after Air Canada flight cancellation


A Canadian woman says she and her friend slept at a kind stranger’s house after a nightmare experience with Air Canada that left her stranded in Toronto.

Kirstin Hanson said she boarded her Air Canada flight home to Regina, Sask., on June 14 in Toronto after hours of delays. Once seated, she said all the passengers were asked eventually to get off the flight as it had been suddenly cancelled.

“It's just sheer chaos. It was a fight for all of us to try to get our baggage,” Hanson told CTV News Toronto on Wednesday. “It felt so defeating, when you’re finally on that plane, on your way home, and then suddenly you are unloaded and now you’re stranded.”

Passengers have been complaining about delays and cancellations at Toronto Pearson International Airport for weeks now. Air Canada cancelled almost 10 per cent of its flights at the airport in the just the first week of June.

Hanson said that when their flight was cancelled, she and the other passengers waited another few hours to get their luggage back. She said she was unable to get in touch with Air Canada to book accommodation or a new flight.

“Air Canada was of no help and very understaffed,” she said. “They left us all stranded.”

Hanson said she and her friend sat on a bench outside the airport, trying to find a hotel, but they were all booked or more than $1,000 a night.

It was then when another woman approached them, she said, and asked them who they were waiting for. After telling her what happened, the woman asked if she could take them home with her for the night.

“So she had called her husband and said we're going to take home these two Saskatchewan girls that are stranded, and so we ended up at their home,” she said.

“This couple has been nothing but like family to us. They took my friend and I to Niagara Falls for a quick tour and now they're driving us to Brampton so we can hopefully catch a flight to Regina tomorrow.”

Hanson said she’s very much afraid as to what will happen on Thursday. She rescheduled her flight through the Air Canada app, but has no certainty if she will actually be able to get home. 

“We are feeling very nervous and concerned. My friend has to get someone to cover her shift tomorrow for work because of it,” she said.

“We're hoping we're going to be able to get home tomorrow, but I would say it's probably 50/50. It’s just so defeating not knowing.”

A spokesperson for Air Canada told CTV News Toronto that Hanson’s flight was cancelled due to a COVID-19-related situation.

“The original flight was cancelled due to the impact of COVID, which resulted in the crew exceeding their duty day, a situation outside of our control,” a spokesperson said.

“In such cases we automatically re-book customers on the next available flight and for this flight some were even put on other carriers. Unfortunately, given the high demand for travel and lack of capacity, the next flight we could offer was regrettably June 16.” Top Stories

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