Air Canada is in apology mode after asking two complete strangers – a 71-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man – to share one hotel room with one bed after a connecting flight was missed.
Before three hours-worth of angry phone calls from the woman’s daughter resolved the situation, Elizabeth Coffi Tabu was en route from Ottawa to Montreal to her home in Paris when delays caused her to miss the connection in Montreal. Tabu and the unidentified man, who also missed his connection, were asked to become overnight roommates after the hotel that Air Canada works with only had one room left.
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There were no connecting flights for either passenger until the next morning.
Tabu, who is in a wheelchair after recovering from cancer, was visiting her daughter in Ottawa.
The problem took place on July 19.
Jerryne Mahele Nyota, Tabu’s daughter, said Air Canada initially offered her mother just $20 in food vouchers and a seat with more legroom on the morning flight to Paris.
“My mother told the Air Canada agent, ‘I don’t know this man. We are not a couple,’” Mahele Nyota said. “But they said there was only one room.”
The airline since upped the ante to a $250 flight voucher and got Tabu out the next morning as promised.
“It is not our policy to have passengers who are not traveling together share a room,” the airline told CNN. “In this case an error was initially made allocating rooms.”
The man offered to sleep on the room’s sofa.
“He was a perfect gentleman,” Mahele Nyota said. “But I obviously felt uncomfortable with my mom spending a night with a man half her age, a man that’s a total stranger!”