By Matthew Roscoe • 10 September 2020 • 14:52
Bizarre scenes on a Canadian airplane as an entire flight was cancelled over a mask dispute.
WESTJET made the decision to cancel Flight 652 on the morning of Tuesday 8, after a young girl would apparently not wear her mask.
The father of the three-year-old girl, Safwan Choudhry, expressed his dismay in an interview afterwards, “It’s unlike anything I have ever witnessed, let alone experienced.”
The incident happened when flight attendants asked the parents of the young girl to put her mask on.
According to Choudhry, attendants said the airline had a “zero tolerance policy” and the flight would not take off until the girl wore her mask.
The girl, who apparently enjoying a quick snack before take-off, was reluctant to put the mask on at first but eventually did, however, WestJet disputes that fact.
Choudhry said that the WestJet staff were aggressive and at one point told the family that “if they did not leave, they could be arrested, charged and receive prison time.”
Speaking about the harshness of the request and how it is hard to get a three-year-old to comply with such rules, Choudhry said, “Most children you have to kind of ease them into it, which is a code word for let me get the iPad out.”
According to Canadian transportation policy, children over two are required to wear a mask.
During the whole episode, their 19-month-old was having “a very difficult time, she was basically hysterical.”
Mr Choudhry says she was so upset she vomited.
In a statement from the airline, they said “Due to non-compliance of the parents to place a mask on their older child who is over the age of two, our crew informed the adults of the regulations we are required to follow.
“Our crew requested the presence of the authorities after the guests refused to comply with Transport Canada’s interim order and subsequently refused to deplane the aircraft.”
“Due to the rapid escalation of the situation on board, our crew felt uncomfortable to operate and the flight was subsequently cancelled,” WestJet said.
A fellow passenger, Marian Nur, said, “I was so shocked, the parents never raised their voices, they never got angry with the attendants, they were just trying to reason with them,” she told CBC.
“So many people were put through so much grief because of a lack-of-understanding on part of the policy,” expressed Choudhry.
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Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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