Two sisters who were on their way to the Philippines for their grandfather’s funeral say they were turned back midway by Air Canada.
Maranda and Marjory Reyes of Maple Ridge, B.C. were booked on a flight to Manila with a stopover in Japan.
The first leg of the trip on Jan. 7 went well, but when they got to Narita, the gate attendants wouldn’t let them board their next flight due to COVID-19 restrictions.
"It felt like we were being bullied to go back to Vancouver,” said Maranda Reyes.
The Philippines has placed strict restrictions on anyone entering the country. But the Reyes sisters, who were born there, checked and double-checked entry requirements, and were assured by the Philippine Embassy they had all the right documents and were good to go.
Airline attendants in Vancouver confirmed this too, but staff in Japan disagreed.
“They just didn’t want to listen,” said Marjory Reyes. “It’s almost like anything we said, anything the embassy said, they didn’t really seem to care”
“They turned us away, and took all of our stuff, and started walking away from us so we had no choice but to follow them and leave,” added her sister.
In a statement, Air Canada blamed a partner airline.
“These customers were denied (boarding) on their connecting flight to the Philippines by their next airline, ANA in Narita, Japan,” the airline wrote, adding they were not allowed to board due to a change in entrance policy by the Philippine government.
But Maranda Reyes insists it was an Air Canada employee who refused to let them complete their trip.
“She had a tag on. I took a picture of her tag, and she was the one that was talking to us the entire time,” said Maranda Reyes, who then showed CTV News the photo of the Air Canada attendant’s identification.
“It’s just been a lot. You know, we were so excited to go home. Our grandfather is the most important person in our life,” she added.
The family is now booked on a flight with Philippine Airlines, and the carrier confirmed the sisters have the correct paper work.
The Reyeses want an apology from Air Canada, and all their money back.