Air Canada Bans Grandma Who Wanted Flight Attendant to Pick Up Trash

I’ve experienced amazing flight crews during my years of travel. Flight attendants have been funny, they’ve been kind, they’ve gone out of their way to make a journey special. But that’s not always the case, and at some airlines it’s less about the culture of performance or service and more about whether a given employee has their own drive to do a good job.

At some airlines employees can work hard, or not much at all, and the results are the same. They get paid the same. They get scheduled to work just the same.

And in a post-9/11 world it’s important not to challenge their authority because you may wind up confronted by law enforcement. I’ve seen passengers express concern when a flight attendant moved their stuff in the overhead bin, and immediately face an “are we going to have a problem today?” response.

So it doesn’t surprise me that a situation with a 71 year old grandmother flying with her grandchildren ended badly. The woman was flying from Kelowna, British Columbia to Saint John, New Brunswick via Toronto. Her connecting flight was cancelled, and she spent the night at the airport taking the morning flight AC8946.

After boarding the Dash 8 aircraft she says she discovered her seat back pocket had trash in it when she went to place her water bottle there. She asked a flight attendant to take the trash, but reports that he said “I’m a flight attendant, I don’t do garbage.”

She asked again during the flight,

“I didn’t know what to do except I just sat there until the cart came down and I thought OK, I’m going to pick it up and there’s usually a little garbage container on the top of the cart, so I thought I’ll put the garbage in that.”

…“He swiped my hand away, and the garbage, and so my hand came back and hit something on the way, and the garbage flew all over,” she said.

Copyright: ronniechua / 123RF Stock Photo

She admits that she then “pushed the garbage into the aisle with her foot.” That’s when things went off the rails. The aircraft turned around to head back to Toronto. The grandma offered to pick up the trash that had flown onto the floor. That wasn’t good enough.

When they made it back to the airport and escorted her off the plane. Her family continued with the flight as it took off again. She thought she’d be rebooked onto the next plane to Saint John. Instead she was informed she was banned from flying Air Canada.

Air Canada accuses her of kicking the flight attendant, which she denies, and says she any ban on her flying the airline is not ongoing. A witness corroborates her version of events.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. ??
    Air Canada accuses her of kicking the flight attendant, which she denies, and says she any ban on her flying the airline is not ongoing.

  2. Before air Canada bought Canadian you couldn’t pay me to fly air Canada. Canadian was always super friendly and nice and personable. Nothing has changed with Air Canada and sounds like they hire only the rudest and meanest people now as a rule.

  3. This type of things are becoming overwelmingly ridiculous !!! If I were Air Canada’s CEO, I would surely fire the captain that turned around the plane for such petty a situation !!!

  4. F#$% Air Canada, crappy ass airline before this; and now just enforces why I never did and never fly with them. When an airline blindly goes along with their stupid @$$ FAs before even gathering corroborating information, it shows you where you stand. Drop dead Air Canada, eh!

  5. I love Canada. I love Canadians. I am not a fan of Air Canada. They run a terrible operation irrops wise. I’ve seen lots of surly AC employees too ….. even after 1.6 million miles on United, AC stands out in my memory as some of the most surly airline employees I’ve ever encountered. (I’ve run into a few great ones though) I actively avoid AC metal.

  6. @Tom Have to agree with you 100% on all of those points. Air Canada’s true slogan should be more along the lines of “Canada’s National Disappointment”.

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