Cons: Fly this airline to be Part of their laughing stock.
In July of 2005, I was discriminated by Westjet and the airport police in Calgary. I filed criminal proceedings against the officers involved and discrimination wrt the Westjet employees. At that time, I knew jobs would be lost because of this incident.
Now, the lead officer has retired (AKA: a euphemism for getting the axe) and every time the Canadian Human Rights Commission or any other agency investigates the matter, Westjet digs their grave a little deeper. What is not realized is that when you recieve Westjet travel credits, a log is entered that you are probably being laughed at by all the Westjet employees. The following, is record of my incident with Westjet and what I discovered...
I have asked the Calgary Police Investigating Officer to look into this matter because he has interviewed others that are involved. Also, the respondents log in item 25 includes police actions and evidence that has been contradicted by both officers. The arresting officer (now retired, Attachment 1) that indicated no resistance during the arrest and the young officer that was standby testified that he heard no swearing or shouting.
3. The one employee that can shed truth to this matter, Ms. Susanna Sama, disappeared shortly after the incident. I have asked the investigating officer to look into this matter. This is all too convenient. The first letter that I wrote to CHRC on January 30, 2006 stated:
I have attached my allegations against the police officers but I am charging all involved that appear as witnesses on the arrest warrant for discrimination. The arrest was withdrawn. Once I tried to negotiate my way home with Westjet, at 12:00am in the morning, I was treated like a criminal. I was, in fact, the only one professional enough NOT TO CAUSE A DISTURBANCE. Everyone else was intimidating me and trying to instigate an aggressive reaction that many people in this crisis situation would have taken. This simply did not happen. The area was almost vacant so I dont have any idea where they strummed up these coached witnesses. Also, while I was in interrogation, I used a pen and paper to document the whole incident. There are other silent witnesses that will clear this up- including the lady at the Westjet boarding desk and the second officer (not the arresting officer) who became truthful after an investigation was launched.
To base this case on typical reactions of a person in such a case and ignore medical evidence would be a tragedy that Westjet would gladly accept.
18. The CTA investigated and found that, in accordance with its mandate to ensure that a carrier complies with the provisions of its tariff, the respondent had exceeded its obligation to the complaint.
However, this was based on false information provided by Westjet. In a letter written from Westjet on March 20, 2006 to Monique Caron of the CTA (attachment 18), Rick Sadler, Westjet Team Leader, states that Westjet reviewed the facts of this particular issue not once, but twice with your office .In this case, we protected people on the next available flight. In this case that was the next morning.
I was not protected and I paid for a seat on the next flight. It wasnt until I was called on Oct. 5, 2005 and told that I had to pay twice for the same flight that I was refunded my flight expense from Westjet. If I had not arrived 3 hours before the departure when the desk first opened or the flight was full, I would have missed it.
19. It is medically documented that I have suffered permanent brain damage. It is documented that I have symptoms that are more pronounced when I am fatigued. These symptoms include slow and slurred speech, unbalance and visual blurring. Westjet acknowledges in 29, Irregular Operation Situations resulted in delayed flights, late arrivals, missed connections and booking errors; all of which would make anyone fatigued- especially after a full days work. In 25 it is documented, started knocking over the sizing device when I stumbled into an object placed in the middle of an isle. Either I look intoxicated or I look disabled when I am fatigued. The male CSA said in item 46 that I did not look intoxicated so he must have known that I was disabled. So even though I did not ask for accommodation in relation to my disability, I did not have to because the CSA knew that I was disabled and required extra help (Since he is a lead he must be trained to identify this disability). Thus, I ask the commission to focus on differential treatment AND failure to accommodate. The special accommodation that I required for my disability is rest. The CSA only provided stress and stress increases my symptoms.
25. If the computerize log is dissected; you can only conclude that it must be false.
a. He started swearing yelling and not paying attention to any info. I was hungry and I told them that they should include a supper as I have been waiting since 5:00pm.
b. started knocking over the sizing device. The sizing device was left in the middle of a walking isle- it was a safety hazard.
c. slamming the jetway door and slamming over his carry on bag stated that I will call the cops. The male Customer Service Agent (CSA) stands next to the door guarding it. He is not a small man (larger than I) and it is doubtful that he would let me walk past him to that door. The female CSA is at the desk by the phone. In 45) where the male CSA said he made the call, he would have had to walk away from the jetway door to the phone with his back toward me while talking to me.
d. slamming his carry on bags. I only had one carry on (that is all that Westjet will permit).
e. then he made a fuss and he fought (the police) them eventually they got a good hold of him after some difficulty cuffed him. Although there were two officers, only one officer ever touched me. That officer is now retired. I work out at Judo three times a week (twice in adult class and once as an instructor for my 7 year old daughter). The officers are trained to draw their weapons for threats to airplane security. In simple, their would be no fight; Id be arrested without incident or dead. There was no threat to airplane security and no incident arose. The Promise to appear has no mention of resisting arrest or drawing their weapons because there was no resistance.
f. during the course of all this activity (fighting with the police officer) he was using words of profanity towards the airline. When people are matched up, it is a survival instinct to concentrate solely on your opponent. If you think about this statement, it really makes no sense.
g. In a November 21 letter to me from CHRC, item 2. has the respondent state: throwing of baggage yet, nowhere is mentioned throwing baggage in the log.
29. The discrimination started the moment the lady behind me was permitted boarding. All other passengers that were bumped were offered a package that I was not offered. In 25 above, that states, I offered the option to stay in a hotel overnight along with fliying tomorrow at 0900 simply did not happen. And it does not make sense. Once problems started to arise preventing me from getting home, I do what I know best- problem solve. I have been trained to do this in pressure situations for 5 years and have over 10 years work experience. I am a principal engineer and the chairman of Industrial Application and Power Engineering Society
I didnt accept any vouchers from Westjet because I have negative suspicions about them. Item 25 proves my suspicions are correct. However, I have no animosity against a competitive airline. My August 1, 2006 letter to CHRC states, This letter is not to tarnish a new and growing company like WestJet but I would like to demonstrate the merits of my allegations as follows:. Why then, would anyone believe the quote in Mr. Edwards log, :during the course of all this activity he was using words of profanity towards the airline:?
32. Ms. Sama didnt mistakenly charge me for a ticket on July 30. My baggage was marked YVR that indicated that my trip was to Vancouver: not Calgary. She was ordered by her superior not to let me on the flight unless I paid again. After her superior left, she broke down and refused to accept a full fare. If she could have, she would have let me on the plane without cost. The fact that she put this in her log indicates a decisive action not a mistake.
34. The police were called for one reason only- not to solve a problem but to create one. Police Investigators spent a year investigating their own officers for criminally negligent- that they fabricated evidence saying that I swore at the airport. If the police had done their job correctly, I would have been accommodated with a hotel room, meal and flight at 7:30 on Jazz Air. I would have gladly paid for the flight ticket to be in Vancouver earlier. Westjet would rather fabricate evidence and conspire with the airport police to arrest an innocent passenger than loose one to another carrier. It was discrimination that I was not provided what I required for my disability (rest) and that I was differentially treated (two others objected: the woman that objected was permitted a seat, the man that objected was allowed to be with his partner).
36. Had the CSA input information incorrectly then why was Westjet so fast to refund my paid flight from Calgary to Vancouver. I had e-mail conversations with Westjet Customer Care Service Specialist, Karly on October 4th and telephone conversation on October 5th (attachment #36). On October 6 the airfare had been credited to my Master Card. Once again, on March 20, 2006 (attachment 18), Rick Sadler from Westjet reviewed this case not once but twice and was unable to determine that I originally paid for the flight from Calgary to Vancouver.
Even if all the computer errors were true, my luggage ticket that had my flight and destination would have been proof enough that I had been bumped on the flight the night before. I arrived 3 hours early for that flight and the Lady CSAs superior deliberately discriminated against me, went against Westjets own tariffs and tried to solicit an aggressive reaction from me that he was unable to do the night before and once again failed.
45. My own records state,I heard the lady call security. As my sight fades my hearing becomes more acute (neurologists report, Hearing appear unimpaired He is an important example of the number of compensatory mechanisms that can be employed.) Im not sure if she initiated the call but if she didnt, the male CSA would have had to use a cell phone (I could not see well at that time so I could tell if the male CSA had a cell phone). The CSA says, he remembers picking up the phone which implies a land line and is impossible since he didnt move from the jetway door- the lady CSA was at the desk. Mr. Edwards also says, the complainant swore and talked back to him, and even talked back to the police after they arrived. This is not anywhere in the log. It doesnt make sense. The only one that I knew had lied to me was the lady CSA yet she isnt mentioned at all.
49. It was too critical to get to my destination to buy a standby ticket. The CSA sold me a confirmed ticket at a standby price.
51. Further, he acknowledges purposely behaving in some ways because he learned the airline reacts to bad publicity. This statement is completely false. This was simply an observation that I made at the boarding counter. The lady threatened to sue the airline and was boarded. I do not threaten and I have not made a threatening comment since my accident over 20 years ago.
The behavior of the complainant attributes to his disability. False. My disability did not have any affect on my behavior (neurologist report states, no sign of personality change). However, my disability results in a flat emotional response. The only unruly person was the lady behind me in the lineup and she was permitted boarding.
While the respondent did fail to secure a seat on the next available flight to Vancouver the evidence does not support that it did so for discriminatory reasons. On my original documentation: 6:15am I enter a line up to get a ticket to Vancouver. Service lady has no record of my airline bookings. She calls a service man. The service man looks up my flight information and tells me that I caused a disturbance last night and my ticket has been cancelled. I tell the service man thats not how it went down. The service man tells me that he doesnt want to hear anymore and that if I want to go to Vancouver, I have to buy a ticket like everyone else.
When the CSA looked up my flight information, she saw that I was not protected yet my luggage tag was from the cancelled flight. She then called her manager. Her manager purposely told me that I have to buy a new ticket, waited for a reaction and walked away; like baiting a hook and waiting for a bite. Only a person that knows he is being discriminated against would be willing to pay twice for the same trip and not get the police for help. This managers action was no different than stealing my money. Sleep deprivation and fumbling my wallet and loosing my cards were proof that I had visible symptoms of my disability. I talked to both the lady CSA and her manager. Since I was permitted boarding after I paid the second time and it was so early in the morning, they must have realized that I was disabled and not intoxicated. This was simple discrimination- not a computer error as the respondent suggest.
There would be no case if I had been drunk; that is obvious. There would be no case if I was drinking or on drugs. But I was not drunk, I had not been drinking and I was not on drugs- I was just fatigued from hours of Westjet delays, excuses and lies.
My speech was slow and slurred, my gait was clumsy and my sight was blurred. So if Mr. Edwards didnt believe that I was intoxicated, he must have thought I was disabled.
I have remarkable self-discipline. This is from my training in Judo, from my career path and from being a disabled minority. In 20 years I have gone from a sever head injured 22 year old farmer to a top-notch professional engineer that is a share holder and director for his own company. My disability requires that I think about words before I say them. I cannot lose control as suggested by Mr. Edwardss log.
If you were to believe the Mr. Edwards and Mr. Rick Sadler, you must believe that a tired professional engineer who is non-emotional, doesnt threaten and doesnt swear apparently did just that. You must believe that I appeared normal even though it is medically impossible- even a speech impediment is a disability. You must believe that I would jeopardize my career and purposely put myself in harms way. You must believe that all the discrepancies in their stories are just a slight deviation from actual facts and that Westjet computers are plagued with problems.
You would have to believe that the female CSA on July 30, Ms. Sama, has disappeared and cant be found. The female CSA on July 29 evening has also disappeared and cant be found. If it is Westjets position that only Mr. Edwards was at the boarding gate on July 29, you would have to believe that he was at reception handing out boarding passes, manning the telephone, accommodating bumped passengers and checking boarding passes at the gate simultaneously.
You would have to believe that the police have assigned a special investigator to investigate criminal behavior of their own officers for fabricating evidence of swearing and shouting and saying obscene language at the airport without any contradicting evidence except for my hand written incident. You would have to believe that the arresting officer of retirement age would not include a charge for resisting arrest and that we were fighting but neither of us sustained injuries.
The only thing that is consistent in this case is my record of events. Ms. Sama, my Primus long distant telephone bill that shows I made one long distance call to my wife from Saskatoon to Richmond and one long distance call to my daughter from Saskatoon to Prince George each day in July (except July 29,30 & 31), my sons birth certificate on September 23,2005 and my airplane ticket to Vancouver that is a confirmed seat is proof my written and spoken words are truth. All the inconsistencies in the respondents stories and all the matching details of my reports are reason enough to discredit the respondent.
Westjet has not only provided differential treatment towards my disability, they also failed to accommodate my special needs of requiring rest. I find it very unlikely that well-trained people that deal with the public have not seen brain injured disabilities and in Mr. Edwards own words, he never thought the complainant was intoxicated. This can mean; I was identified as disabled, singled out and discriminated against.
I wrote down some points when I gave my four-hour deposition to police on Feb. 17, 2006 as follows:
1. Police torture that is criminal involves mutilation of offenders not just purposeful over tightening of handcuffs.
2. Police interview cameras are not designed for evidence. They are to ensure the safety of the offenders against suicide attempts. Many do not have audio.
3. He has investigated many claims where police have legibly fabricated evidence. They are difficult to prove because of lack of witnesses.
The investigation is well over a year old now. This is a very serious incident. This case is like a puzzle. The pieces are hard to find but each piece reveals more of the truth. The CTA did no investigation and concluded, the respondent had exceeded its obligations.... The CHRC did a short investigation and concluded, the respondent did fail to secure the complainant a seat on the next available flight to Vancouver. The CTA and the CHRC found very different conclusions with regard to the same matter. The difference being that the CTA did no investigation and looked only at information provided by Westjet and the CHRC investigated the matter.
When Westjet demanded payment from me twice for the same flight and I had been discriminated by Westjet and the police already, I had no choice but to pay again. This is discrimination. Medical documentation states, When tired or anxious, his speech deteriorates and he may experience some focusing difficulties is proof enough that Im either intoxicated or disabled. I told the police that I was disabled and they fabricated evidence against me- evidence that supports intoxication. Westjet did the same and they are bold enough to say that, he (I) did not look intoxicated (however, even Mr. Edwards will not say I didnt look disabled because that contradicts medical evidence). That leaves an easy case for discrimination.
When you walk into an airport, you are a victim. The police openly carry their firearms and are guaranteed that every passenger in the airplane loading area has no weapons. They are also guaranteed that when they discriminate against a person, everyone will turn their backs and pretend its the victims fault. Those that cant pretend will fade away and not be found. Your job, like your forefathers, is to make sure that this discrimination is realized, amends are made and it doesnt happen again.
William Hayne, P.Eng