Hollywood actress Holly Robinson Peete, who was in British Columbia filming a Hallmark Christmas movie, is raising concerns about how her sons were treated when they tried to board an Air Canada flight with tickets she bought them.
Peete’s two teenaged sons went to visit her earlier this month.
When the boys, who are Black, left to fly home in business class on Monday night, they were denied boarding by an Air Canada ticket attendant.
Peete said on Instagram “They were not allowed to board the plane because they couldn’t produce the credit card, which was their parents’ credit card, which paid for the ticket” and said, “I was very, very upset, very disappointed, did not like the way they were treated, especially by that ticket agent, and even some of the customer service people were unnecessarily rude and disrespectful.”
Peete said that she has been flying with Air Canada for years and “and have never had to produce the credit card that paid for the ticket.”
Her sons were “flagged” and left stranded at the airport without either of their parents. They ended up spending the night in a nearby hotel. However, Peete said she felt her sons were intentionally selected and that the policy needs to be looked at.
Air Canada responded to this in a statement and described the incident as “an unfortunate situation” that arose from its credit card security process.
A spokesperson said, “Sometimes legitimate transactions require additional verification when the booking is made in an unusual way, such as foreign purchases made outside Canada for last-minute travel, and these are identified by our automated anti-fraud systems.”
“In this instance, our fraud prevention team, which is not located at the airport and therefore operates impartially by only reviewing the purchase transaction, had a concern with the way in which the tickets were purchased for these customers and it alerted the airport agent.”
After the incident, Air Canada said it had followed up with Peete “as we recognize this did cause inconvenience.”
Claire Newell, who is a travel expert, said credit card fraud costs airlines millions of dollars a year and situations like the one Peete’s sons ran into are common in an attempt to prevent fraud.
Newell explained that “It’s kind of like your credit card. If you purchase something that is not normal. It may flag it one time and it may not another and the system flagged it this time” and “Quite often it is within a 24- or 48-hour period of when the tickets would have been bought, and typically it’s for business class, and not of course in the passenger’s name — the credit card being used.”
Newell recommends that children buy tickets in their own name for this reason and suggests that a parent contact the airline ahead of time if they are buying tickets for youth to prevent being flagged.
But Peete was upset that the airline didn’t appear interested in actually solving the problem at the gate.
“One of the things that really bothered me was when the boys were talking to the ticket agent, we were on the phone and I kept saying, ‘I want to talk to him,’ and he would not talk to me, he would not talk to the parent,” Peete said. This article was originally sourced by Global News.