Not any more

Adami: Half a seat adds up to a full refund

In Canada on October 1, 2010 at 13:15

OTTAWA — Porter Airlines is giving Janet Ogilvie a refund for having to sit on her hip during a Halifax-Ottawa flight last month because an obese woman was taking up half of her seat.

Robert Deluce, the airline’s chief executive, is also promising Ogilvie that Porter will “better train both our cabin crew and customer service representatives to pro-actively assess and immediately attempt to rectify any situation that could lead to what you encountered.”

Deluce originally offered Ogilvie a $100 voucher for a future flight, saying it was not Porter’s policy to offer compensation “in these rare instances” because the airline was just following federal rules.

Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz and WestJet were ordered by the Canadian Transport Agency in 2008 to give disabled passengers — including those needing companions to travel with or who had doctor’s note declaring they were obese — two seats for the price of one on all domestic flights.

The woman Ogilvie found taking up half her seat did not have the medical note, but Ogilvie couldn’t sit elsewhere because the plane was full. Following a Public Citizen story Wednesday about Ogilvie’s ordeal, Deluce sent the federal public servant an e-mail saying he had still been investigating the matter. He said he “appreciated” the way Ogilvie handled the situation and didn’t embarrass the woman beside her.

He offered her a choice of a refund (about $200 for the one-way flight) or a return ticket to anywhere Porter flies. Ogilvie responded that she would be happy just to get her money back and did not want to benefit from her experience by taking a more expensive round-trip ticket.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

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