A Quebec woman who spent six hours stuck on a hot Air Transat plane at the Ottawa airport late last month says the $400 in compensation she has been offered is “not fair.”
Maryanne Zehil was one of hundreds of people on a Montreal-bound flight from Brussels that was diverted to Ottawa International Airport on July 31 due to bad weather.
Passengers say the air conditioning wasn’t working properly and staff repeatedly refused requests to deplane and wait inside the terminal. At one point, a passenger called 9-1-1.
“It was as if you were taken hostage and there was no way out,” Zehil told CTV News Channel on Friday, after learning of the $400 offer.
“Four hundred dollars doesn’t seem quite fair to me especially when you think about those six horrendous hours spent on a plane with no air, no food, barely some water,” she added.
Zehil said the time passed with “a lot of anxiety and a lot of distress,” especially considering that her dog had gone many hours without water in the hold of the plane.
She said she wasn’t sure what fair compensation would be, but that she wants a full refund in addition to cash compensation.
Air Transat initially said that airport staff were unable to provide the plane with loading bridges or stairs, but the airport has disputed that claim.
The airline later said that it had launched an investigation, adding at the time: “In any case, our passengers experienced genuine discomfort for which we are sincerely sorry.”
In a statement to CTV Montreal, Air Transat Marketing Director Debbie Cabana called the compensation offer “a gesture of good faith that shows our empathy.”
The Canadian Transportation Agency has launched an inquiry into the flight and another Air Transat flight diverted on July 31. A hearing will take place in Ottawa from Aug. 30 to 31.
With files from CTV Montreal’s Megan Shaw