Actor Holly Robinson Peete says she feels disrespected by Air Canada after her two sons were barred from boarding a flight at Vancouver airport, with a ticket agent telling them they could not board without presenting the credit card used to pay for their tickets.
The incident happened on Monday, Oct. 4, while Peete was in Mission, B.C., shooting the movie Our Christmas Journey. Peete is familiar with the province, having shot 21 Jump Street in Vancouver, and says she considers B.C. her “second home.”
Her two sons, 19-year-old Robinson and 16-year-old Roman, were visiting her for the weekend and were planning to board an evening flight back to Los Angeles. They both had one-way business-class seats, something Peete says she had booked numerous times before.
But when the two boys got to the Air Canada ticket counter at Vancouver International Airport, they were told they needed to present the credit card used to purchase the tickets in order to board. The boys called their parents, who attempted to speak to the ticket agent and convince them of their identity.
“They said it was ‘policy’ and the card was flagged. You must verify the card. You’re not flying today,” Peete told CBC News.
“And then at one point [the ticket agent] turned his back on them and walked away. Left them at the ticket counter with no other ticketing agents there.”
Peete says the Air Canada agent refused to speak with her to verify her identity, and the boys missed their flight.
Her sons ended up spending the night at a nearby hotel. The next morning, after Peete rebooked their flights, her sons were able to board with no problem. They were not asked to present the credit card.
“The elephant in the room is, you know, yeah, these are two Black boys travelling alone,” Peete said.
“I don’t want to think that there’s any kind of profiling going on, but I cannot understand why they refused to speak to the parents.”
Airline says situation due to security checks
According to Air Canada, the situation was “unfortunate” and arose from regular credit card security practices.
“Air Canada has in place security checks to validate purchases made online outside Canada for last minute travel,” a spokesperson told CBC News.
“We are in direct contact with the customer to discuss the matter … In this case, the customers were delayed and travelled on the next flight.”
Peete disputes the wording of their statement, saying no one from Air Canada reached out to her directly. She only received concessions once she took the initiative and called them.
Air Canada subsequently offered to compensate her for the hotel stay which she and her husband, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, paid for.
“My assistant told me that the customer service person said, ‘Well, of course, they’re going to be flagged – it’s two boys sitting in business class on a one-way ticket,” Peete said.
“That really bothered me because that indicated that, you know, well, they didn’t look like they belonged there. … As a mom of Black boys, I am looking at this situation and I don’t like it. It doesn’t pass the smell test for me.”
Peete says she wants someone “higher up” at Air Canada to speak to her, and also a public statement from the airline explaining the situation.
CBC News reached out to Air Canada to find out how often travellers are flagged for fraud, but did not receive an answer in time for publication.
Source From CBC News