Air Canada passenger says she woke up to find herself forgotten on empty plane
An Air Canada passenger says she was forced to organize her own escape from an empty plane in Toronto after flight crews left her asleep in her seat.
Tiffani Louise O'Brien said the incident, documented in detail on Air Canada’s Facebook page and currently under review by the airline, took place on a June 9 flight from Quebec City to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
After finding herself in an empty row, O'Brien said she laid down to sleep less than halfway into the short 90-minute flight. When she woke up, she said she was completely alone in the pitch-black aircraft.
“I wake up around midnight, few hours after [the] flight landed, freezing cold still strapped in my seat in complete darkness,” O'Brien recalled in the post.
“I attempt to charge my phone by plugging into every USB port I could find—no luck because when they shut the aircraft down there is no power whatsoever… since I can’t charge my phone to call for help I’m full on panicking because I want off this nightmare ASAP.”
O'Brien said she then made her way to the cockpit, where she attempted to use a radio to call for help, but couldn’t use the plane’s radio without power. She said she eventually found a flashlight and began signaling out of the plane’s windows, hoping to attract attention.
At the same time, she said she found a way to open the plane’s door – but had no way to get down.
“Now I’m facing a 40-50ft drop to the pavement below... I search frantically for a rope so I can climb down to safely. [The] flight attendants seat is right by the door I opened, but the seatbelt is too short to hang from, so back to my distress signals."
O'Brien, who said the plane was parked far away from the airport terminal, eventually attracted the attention of a baggage attendant who brought a ladder truck to the plane to rescue her.
“He is in shock asking how the heck they left me on the plane,” she wrote.
“I’m wondering the same… when my seat an inch back or my tray [is] down flight crew take notice, but yet you missed a person still strapped into her seat and just all go on home?”
In a statement to CTVNews.ca, an Air Canada spokesperson declined to share any additional details but said the airline is reviewing the incident.
O'Brien said she was immediately approached by an Air Canada representative on the ground who offered to get her a limo or hotel room. She declined, stating that she just wanted to go home.
A spokesperson said the airline remains in contact with O'Brien, who said she is still struggling to sleep.
“I haven’t got much sleep since the reoccurring night terrors and waking up anxious and afraid I’m alone locked up someplace dark,” she wrote.