Friday, 12 January 2018

Porter Airlines reputation tarnished

Porter Airlines faces reputation ruin after airline staff threaten passengers who videoed a ground staff member being rude and aggressive with arrest if they didn't delete the video!

The horrendous treatment of Porter passenger occurred after a flight due to go to Porter's home base Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto from Boston was delayed for more than two hours.  A latch on the luggage door of the Bombardier Q400 aircraft wouldn't work - Porter says this was due to the frozen conditions and not a 'mechanical issue'. 

After being held in the aircraft on the ground for two hours, the flight crew ran out of allowable 'duty hours' and the flight had to be cancelled.  Passengers were transferred back to the terminal and that when things started to go awry.   Passengers claim an airline staff member forced them to delete video recordings from their phones and threatened to have them arrested if they did not comply after they filmed him being, as the passengers describe, rude and aggressive.

"There was a problem with the latch door to the luggage compartment and when it passed 10 o'clock apparently the crew couldn't fly anymore because…in their words, they would turn into pumpkins," passenger Kira Wegler told local media after she finally arrived back in Toronto three days late.

Back in the terminal, a ground staff member explained the situation to passengers and was apparently becoming aggressive and rude, it was only then that passengers started videoing him.  "At that point, the personnel came from behind the desk and started threatening us, to call the police if we don't delete the videos off of our phones and show evidence that it's gone from our trash bin," said Wegler.

“They were going to have us arrested,” she continued with some dismay.  Many passengers did comply and delete the video, while others didn't delete their recordings.   In the videos that have been aired on Canadian news, the Porter staff tells the passengers that filming is not permitted in the airport because of security rules. 

However, after approaching the airport for comment the Massachusetts Port Authority stated that “There is no law or policy that prohibits filming inside Logan Airport except in secure areas and of all security procedures.”

A Porter Airline spokesperson said the company “apologizes to everyone who was affected by the flight delay and for the information provided about taking video.” continuing  "We do not have any policy that would prevent people from taking video at airports.  There is an airport policy at Boston Logan Airport about not allowing filming in secure airport areas and at security screening. In this particular case, there was a misunderstanding by the team member involved that taking video beyond the security checkpoint was part of the secure area and was not permitted. He did not realize the distinction at the time, but we have advised the team members involved for future reference."

Porter denies that anyone was directly threatened with arrest, despite staff saying that police at the airport would be called to address the situation.  Porter also deny the fact that the luggage latch wouldn't function was a mechanical issue, but more to do with the weather. The reason for this is that the airline is not responsible or required to pay compensation for weather-related incidents whereas they would if it were a mechanical issue. 

It's understood that three passengers are looking into taking legal action against the airline. 

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