How on earth does this happen?
Tiffani O'Brien says she awoke cold, in the dark, and alone inside a plane at Toronto (YYZ) after a short flight from Quebec City (YQB) on June 9. After “full on panicking” and several failed efforts to contact someone to get her out of the plane, Adams O'Brien eventually opened the airplane door and flagged down an airport ground crew member to help her down.
“I thought, ‘This is a nightmare,’” O’Brien O'Brien told CTV News. “This is not happening. I’m having a bad dream.”
Air Canada said it's reviewing the incident but has declined to comment on its disembarking procedures.
“We are still reviewing this matter so we have no additional details to share, but we have followed up with the customer and remain in contact with her,” the airline told the Associated Press.
O'Brien said she fell asleep in an otherwise empty row in the middle of the plane during the brief flight after spending a weekend with a friend in Quebec City. O'Brien said she awoke to a “pitch black” setting, thinking she was dreaming before realizing she had been left inside the empty aircraft.
She frantically texted and tried to call her friend, but her phone died before she was able to contact airport staff – and she couldn't charge her phone because the plane had been shut down. Using a flashlight from the cockpit, O'Brien tried to send “SOS signals” but soon realized the plane was parked far away from the airport terminal.
Eventually, she was able to open the plane door but faced a large to the tarmac. Finally, she flagged down a luggage cart driver and was able to get down after a long and terrifying ordeal.
“It’s just a sheer sense of helplessness when you feel like you’re locked on this aircraft and you have no connection to the outside world,” O'Brien said.
Air Canada has some explaining to do. Final cabin checks are a part of every airline's procedures. The thought that Air Canada could have missed a sleeping passenger boggles the mind.