Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 September 2020

Canadian flight cancelled after toddler mask dispute

WestJet cancelled the flight to Toronto after a family with two young children were removed from the aircraft

A WestJet flight from Calgary to Toronto was cancelled by the airline when an infant passenger would not wear a face mask. Courtesy Quintin Soloviev / Wikimedia Commons
A WestJet flight from Calgary to Toronto was cancelled by the airline when an infant passenger would not wear a face mask. Courtesy Quintin Soloviev / Wikimedia Commons

A red-eye flight from Calgary to Toronto was cancelled on Tuesday morning after a Canadian family with two young children were escorted off the plane.

Safwan Choudhry was due to fly home to Toronto on WestJet Flight 652 with his wife, their three-year-old daughter and 19-month-old infant.

Choudhry and his wife were wearing face masks but were told by crew members that their children also had to wear them. After a tantrum, their three-year-old settled with her mask on, but the family's baby would not keep a mask on.

Airline crew allegedly told the family that the plane could not take off unless both children were wearing masks before alerting Calgary police to the incident.

Social media footage shows police on the Boeing twin-jet talking to the family and other passengers.

According to the government of Canada website, children under two are exempt from wearing masks on planes.

In a statement provided to Canada's CTV news, the airline said that the problem was with the three-year-old child not wearing a mask, not the infant.

Speaking to local news outlets, Choudhry said he acknowledged that the airline meant no malice but that the pandemic has led to it seeming like "we are losing our humanity".

Shortly after the family were escorted from the plane, the flight was cancelled. WestJet says it has a zero tolerance policy on mask wearing on flights.

Hefty fines for face mask offenders

Canadian airline Westjet says is has a zero tolerance approach to non-compliance of face mask wearing on flights. Courtesy Twitter / Westjet
Canadian airline Westjet says is has a zero tolerance approach to non-compliance of face mask wearing on flights. Courtesy Twitter / Westjet

Under a Canadian federal order all travellers aged two years and above must wear a face mask during boarding, on the flight itself and when disembarking.

This incident comes about a month after Canadian authorities fined two WestJet passengers $1,000 Canadian dollars (Dh2,790) each for refusing to wear masks on passenger flights.

"In both incidents, the individuals were directed repeatedly by the aircrew to wear their face coverings during the flights and in both cases, the individuals refused," Transport Canada said in a statement.

Updated: September 10, 2020 04:45 PM

Editor's Picks
THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
Sign up to our daily email
Most Popular