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Air Canada apologizes to a blind woman after she rejected her guide dog

The 49-year-old Canadian works in the US for the company Fidelity Investmentsto Toronto to celebrate her birthday with her daughter.

She says she flew with Air Canada without problems from Minneapolis to Toronto.

While checking into the American city, she was asked if she had also filled out a form for her pet, Milo. She said no, and the employee wished her a safe, hassle-free trip, she said.

But on the way back, Ms Wainwright says Air Canada staff at Pearson Airport didn’t want to let her board the plane with her 5-year-old Labrador, because he wasn’t pre-registered. They offered to put her on hold, but she refused.

She says staff told her she could take her guide dog with her if she could “prove” her blindness by showing a card from the Canadian National Institute of the Blind (CNIB). However, she did not have such a definition because she resides in the United States.

It was humiliating and humiliating. »

Quote from Dina Wainwright, blind

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Dina Wainwright with her guide dog

Photo: Submitted by Dina Wainwright

Air Canada accuses I treated her like a criminal She claims that the carrier’s staff at Pearson Airport were talking to her daughter instead Like I’m mentally handicapped.

Ms. Wainwright eventually decided to take a train with her dog to Windsor only to cross the border in a taxi and board a plane from Detroit to Minneapolis, which cost her $2,000, she says.

Air Canada explains

According to Air Canada, a guide dog owner must register it at least 48 hours before the flight.

However, an airline spokesperson described what happened to Ms Wainwright as “unfortunate” and said Air Canada had spoken to her to apologize.

Each year, Air Canada successfully transports tens of thousands of customers with disabilities, but in this case, we failed to live up to our usual standards of customer service. »

Quote from Air Canada (statement)

The carrier says it is investigating internally to determine why Wainwright was able to travel from Minneapolis to Toronto with her guide dog without completing the required form.

Larissa Proctor of the Canadian National Institute of the Blind says guide dogs should not be kept waiting, but recommends travelers check with their carrier ahead of time to find out their policy.

It also calls on carrier staff to treat the blind person like any other passenger. Most of the time, if you’re talking to someone who is blind or visually impaired, we want it [que l’employé] Talk to us directly as with other customersnotes.

Based on information provided by CBC’s Trevor Dunn

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