'Embarrassing:' WestJet passenger says he was kicked off flight after falling asleep
Published Saturday, November 3, 2018 1:41PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, November 3, 2018 2:46PM EDT
A WestJet passenger says he plans to sue the airline after falling asleep on a flight to Cuba and being kicked off the plane.
Stephen Bennett, who recently suffered a small stroke, took some prescription sleep medication as he boarded his flight from Toronto to Cuba. The medication quickly took effect and he fell asleep in his seat on the plane, but before take-off, WestJet employees worried something was wrong with him.
“My wife is nudging me, I open my eyes and apparently there was two vacationing nurses on board,” he told CTV Vancouver.
WestJet employees then forced Bennett to get off the plane to be checked out by paramedics.
“They said: ‘there's nothing wrong with him,’ over and over and they still wouldn't take me on the flight,” he said.
Bennett and his family were not allowed to board the plane again and ended up paying out of pocket for another flight to Cuba.
“We didn’t really enjoy our vacation at all,” said Stephen’s wife Josefa Sapelino. “It’s so embarrassing.”
Gabor Lukacs, founder of Air Passenger Rights, believes Bennett and his family should have been left on the plane.
“It’s not a question of what they thought, the question is what (the situation was) and what was the evidence,” he said. “It was clear in this case the passenger was perfectly fine.”
WestJet, meanwhile, stands by the decision, telling CTV Vancouver in a statement that when crews “observe a guest who is exhibiting signs of not being fit to fly, we will, out of an abundance of caution and in adherence with Transport Canada's regulations remove the guest from the flight."
Bennett says he plans to sue WestJet because of the incident.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Shannon Paterson