Air Canada Is Being Sued By A Passenger After Missing Her Flight Due To Long Check-In Lines And Not Being Accommodated Together With Her 3-Year Old Daughter


A passenger who got stuck in a very long Air Canada check-in line causing her to miss the flight is now suing the airline after she was supposed to sit multiple rows away from her 3-year old daughter on a later flight.

Air Canada rebooked the passenger onto a later flight after their long check-in lines caused the passengers family to miss the check-in deadline despite being at the airport on time.

According to a Small Claims Court lawsuit filed in Nova Scotia the passenger and her family arrived at the airport 1:30h prior to the flights departure, yet was unable to check in due to long lines and insufficient staffing.

She was then told that she won’t be able to make her flight as booked and rescheduled to a later flight only to find out just before the flights departure that her 3 year old daughter was seated several rows away from her. Being pressured yet again by Air Canada agents the entire family then chose to fly the following day.

The story was available in the Globe and Mail (access here).

A woman who was moving to Halifax with her young children says she’s suing Air Canada partly after having to choose between sitting rows away from her three-year-old daughter on a plane or missing the flight.

Nicole Paine, who was with her twin newborns, three-year-old daughter and mother, says she was moving from British Columbia to Nova Scotia on a 1 p.m. flight that connected in Toronto on Dec. 14, 2016.

She says in a notice of claim filed on Feb. 22 in the Small Claims Court of Nova Scotia that there were no Air Canada agents free to help them after she arrived at 11:30 a.m.

Paine says they were told they would make the flight, but were then told the flight had ended the check-in period and they were booked on another flight that would depart later the same day.

She said her family were only able to board last and found out they had been booked in seats several rows away, so opted to stay there overnight and fly the next day.

The notice says they’re seeking $2,400 plus costs, but Air Canada told Global News it could not comment since the matter is before the courts.

The article doesn’t give much information about the exact route but I have seen the Economy Class Check-In back home in Vancouver and it’s a zoo during the peak hours. 90 minutes to spare should be sufficient time though considering it’s a domestic flight and I wouldn’t put the responsibility on the passenger in this case based on the timely arrival at the airport.

Air Canada (and any other airline) is responsible for managing their check-in and lineup in an orderly and efficient manner. That includes having staff attend to the line and inquiring with passengers what flights they are checking in for if the lines are really bad on a particular day.

Once the family was rebooked and received new boarding passes they should have spotted their seat assignments and noted that they aren’t seated together. With no status it’s obvious why they were only able to board the aircraft last (depending on the location of their seats).

The reaction of the Air Canada ground staff to pressure the family to fly regardless of the situation (having a 3 year old girl seated between strangers, rows away from her guardians supervision) is unacceptable. Especially with other molestation cases in the air that made the rounds in the past 12 months.


I think Air Canada dropped the ball here on multiple occasions. The way the situation was handled has been horrible from beginning to end and I don’t believe the passengers would get anywhere with Air Canada Customer Relations which is absolutely horrible.

As far as the lawsuit goes I’m not sure what they’re basing their claim on. Small Claims Court usually recovers financial damages but is unable to award punitive damages. They likely need a very sympathetic judge to decide in their favor if they seek a complete refund of their tickets for a flight they eventually ended up taking. For sure they’d be able to recover out of pocket expenses for meals, hotel night, cancellation/rebooking fees (if any). Good luck to them!

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  • Joe

    It sounds like she wasn’t checked in before going to the airport. In the U.S., I believe you can lose your seat at 45 minutes out. So although potentially enough time to check bags, maybe seats were given away? If low status, may not even had assigned seats and if flight was overbooked, they are will drop you at check-in cutoff to avoid giving a voucher.

    “told they would make the flight” probably by an employee spouting the standard line. Not like you are going to tell them they are SOL. “Yes, you will make your connection” is also a standard line.

    Not sure why they would think it is okay to have the 3 YO on her own. No one wants that, the parents as well as the strangers. Probably hoping the passengers would fix it rather than do a little rearranging.

    • cscasi

      Of course, her issue is in Canada and not the U.S.; like trying to mix apples and oranges. The issue was she was in line at the check-in desk 1 1/2 hours before flight and could not get checked in for the flight. That is POOR management by Air Canada of its check-in desk(s). One should not have to arrive at the airport two or three hours before schedule departure time for an internal flight (unless it is so stated in the airline’s rules)!

  • Flyboy

    Its also insane that AC staff would seat her 3 year old alone with strangers. But also its stupid that the agents couldn’t change the seat of others so that the entire family be seated together. I hope she wins the court case. Air Canada is really horrible with things like that and think they can get away with it.

  • Fed Up with AC

    If all the details of the woman’s case are true, with no back-story, then I hope she wins the case! AC is THE WORST airline for customer service and for sensibly operating in the most efficient way. It used to be that the closer the time got to boarding, agents would call out flight numbers and expedite those passengers stranded at the back of the line. I don’t see this being practiced anymore. Then to seat a 3-yo by herself?? Lunacy!

    I am a grown woman and find myself being harassed by male pax quite often during flights. Last year during a delay on the tarmac at FRA, I fell asleep, partially to avoid the man seated next to me who was looking to engage in inappropriate banter, and when I woke up, his hand was on my thigh! What on earth would have happened if I were a 3-yo child?? I have been asked many times in the past to give up my seat so that a family can sit together and I have always obliged, though I don’t agree that everyone should have to do so, especially if it’s a family of 10 ppl where any children are adequately accounted for with older (adult) family members seated alongside.

    I recently sued AC TWICE and easily won both cases, as they were clear-cut violations. AC knows when they are in the wrong, but will only sit up straight when a lawsuit has been launched, which tells you a lot. Until then, they will give you the lamest excuses when telling you they are justified in their actions. One look at their website is also a clear indicator as they often remove direct means of contact/info from their site, making it impossible to discuss your issue. They need to smarten up and know that pax these days are well versed in their rights and exercise due diligence!

    • Fed Up with AC

      PS: I always advise people to check-in online 24 hours prior to their flight and show up within the allotted time frame to drop off check-in bags, as this is really the only way for one to mitigate risk, though it does not eliminate it completely.

  • Tworainy

    Air Canada’s motto: We’re not happy ’til you’re not happy!