Delayed Air Canada Passengers Slept on Yoga Mats at Airport: Report

  • Air Canada passengers say they slept on the floor of Toronto Airport after their flights were canceled.
  • Passengers told CBC they were given yoga mats to sleep on instead of hotel beds.
  • Passengers have complained about poor customer service amid this summer’s travel chaos.

Air Canada passengers say they slept on yoga mats on the floor of Toronto Pearson International Airport after their flights were delayed and then canceled, Canadian state broadcaster CBC reported.

Fatima Sherefa told CBC that her 3 pm flight from Toronto on Saturday was delayed before being canceled at just after midnight.

The airport was “basically just leaving us stranded,” she said. Staff told passengers they couldn’t offer compensation, food vouchers, or hotel accommodation, according to Sherefa.

Passengers were simply given small yoga mats to sleep on, she said.

Sherefa told CBC that she ultimately slept in a women’s nursing room, which had a lock on the door.

Julie Yumin told CBC that her 7 pm flight on Sunday to Winnipeg was delayed multiple times and then canceled. “We called five or six hotels, and they were all sold out,” she told the broadcaster.

Yumin said that Air Canada only provided yoga mats after she asked airline staff whether it could provide beds for stranded passengers. She said that she slept on a restaurant bench but most passengers slept on the floor, like Silvino Braga, who told CBC that he had to sleep on the floor after his Air Canada plane from Toronto was rerouted.

Bryce Kuharski told CBC that his flight to Winnipeg on Sunday was delayed and changed multiple times. He said that he was asked to board a plane, but that after around half an hour, passengers were told to get off because of a safety issue and board a new plane – which never arrived.

His flight was ultimately canceled and Air Canada told him no hotels were available, he said.

Air Canada and Toronto Pearson did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment made outside of normal working hours.

A combination of understaffing, soaring numbers of travelers, strikes, bad weather, and technical issues has led to major disruptions at airports, causing a spike in flight delays, cancellations, long lines for security, and lost luggage. According to Toronto Pearson’s website, more than half of flights to and from the airport were delayed by at least 15 minutes and 7% of flights in the last week of July.

Passengers have complained about poor customer service, with some saying that airlines were unresponsive, kept passing the blame onto other parties, and failed to offer sufficient compensation – or, in some cases, any at all.

In July, more than 150 passengers were forced to spend a night sleeping in the terminal at Geraldton Airport, Australia, after their flights were diverted and crew reached their working-hours limit. Passengers headed to Scotland were also left to sleep on the floor in a departure lounge in Greece after their TUI flight was rescheduled. A TUI spokesperson said that there wasn’t any availability in nearby hotel rooms, but that affected passengers were given water and meal vouchers.

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