Oh Canada: Airline Tells 71-Year-Old Disabled Woman To Share Hotel Bed With Male Stranger

We have previously discussed the increasingly brutal conditions on airlines which are continuing to reduce legroom and every possible comfort for travelers to further drive record profits. Some of the airlines however appear to be disregarding the most basic safety considerations. Air Canada recently told Elizabeth Coffi Tabu, a 71-year-old cancer patient in a wheelchair, that she would have to share a bed with a male stranger at a hotel for the night. What is incredible is that this markedly abusive decision could have easily resulted in serious liability for the airline.

Air Canada explained that the hotel it was using had only one room left so the two strangers would share the room after missing their flights in Montreal. Tabu was flying back to France from Ottawa when flight delays caused her to miss her flight.

When the woman’s daughter learned that her disabled mother would be sharing a bed with a 35-year-old man, she spent three hours arguing with Air Canada, according to  Yahoo News. The man offered to sleep on the couch and the problem was certainly not of his making. The airline could clearly find another hotel and did so. However, it was willing to create a situation that was both dangerous and abusive to its passengers.

While Air Canada says that this was a mistake, it still took three hours for the daughter to speak to various airline representatives to get her mother assigned her own room.

21 thoughts on “Oh Canada: Airline Tells 71-Year-Old Disabled Woman To Share Hotel Bed With Male Stranger”

  1. reduce legroom and every possible comfort for travelers to further drive record profits. S

    Uh, no. The market structure of the Airline industry is what economists call a ‘Bertrand oligopoly’. In such markets, the curious properties of the service generate a state of affairs quite similar to perfect competition. This generates considerable pressure on airlines to cut corners in various ways in order to prevent their slim profit margins from evaporating.

    If you want to contain this problem, you have to enact health-and-safety regulations which create certain baselines which apply to all competitors simultaneously. (Of course, this will raise consumer prices in the industry; life’s full of trade-offs).

    You’ll recall the eccentric doctor who had to be forcibly yanked off a Chicago flight to make way for airline staff. It was a reasonable wager in that case that the staff lacked the permission to hold an open-ended auction wherein the passengers willing to voluntarily disembark would be compensated in cash rather than airline’s funny money (essentially credits with all sorts of rococo restrictions on their use). I’ll bet you the people being so pig-headed with this woman’s daughter were working from a procedures manual composed by higher ups.

  2. Please tell me that Professor Turley’s blog has turned into The Onion for the day, and that this didn’t really happen.


    This story almost writes itself: ‘A seemingly mismatched couple, from different backgrounds, is forced to share a hotel room when the airline cancels their flight’.

    Story could be set during the holidays to make the perfect Christmas love story.

  4. People. Just. Don’t. Think…a. Minimum wage. Worker. Saving money. For. Canada. Airline…..big. Joke…

  5. I’m keeping open the possibility there is a reasonable explanation. However, given what we’ve seen over the last 3 years, I’m not sure that won’t stretch the imagination.

  6. After the abuse I’ve taken in the past from Air Canada and their idiotic policies, I refuse to fly with them for any reason. I have gone as far as to fly out of Buffalo to avoid it, or land in Buffalo, and taken the train into Toronto. During the winter, you will find hundreds of cars with Ontario plates at the Buffalo airport, people taking advantage of more reasonable costs and better service from US based airlines.

  7. The airline must fire the employee who did this. The man stuck in the bed with the lady should sue the airline. The lady should sue the airline. Neither should disparage the other bed partner. Do not fly on this airline. If you fly over Canada (the nation) then fly over and flush.

    1. What are the damages? Some idiot suggested she share a room with a stranger. She didn’t want to do that and got another room. The airline didn’t do anything wrong and there was no harm done. Yes, fire the idiot who thought saving a few bucks/time was worth such a terrible idea but a lawsuit against the airline is not called for nor is any boycott of the airline

      1. How long have you worked for Air Canada? How long has the perpetrator of this bad comedy been your office rival?

  8. Well, if Canada can force women to wax the genitalia of men, it can force women to sleep with men.

    1. Bake the darn cake, Bigot.
      Wax the darn balls, Bigot.
      Sleep with the darn stranger, Bigot.


  9. Some employee needs remedial brain surgery.

    Seriously, no manager at Air Canada thought this was OK; some idiot staffer must have dug in his heels out of stubbornness.

    Talk about creating difficulties when a problem is easy to solve.

    1. No, the press have reported on much more egregious calls made according to airline internal rules. A little less than 20 years ago, Continental pushed me off my oversold connecting flight from Atlanta Hartsfield (where damned souls will spend eternity) to New Orleans International on my way home from a business trip to Washington, DC.

      The next flight got me to New Orleans fifteen minutes late for the last run of the regional Coastliner commuter bus service home, and when I reached their counter, there was no one there. Continental was ponderously unhelpful – I wound up trying to sleep behind the commuter bus desk until that morning’s shift came in. United bought Continental, and as anyone who follows the news can tell you, United’s adopted Continental’s cavalier attitude toward their customers.

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