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Turbulent travel to P.E.I.

Joanne Power-Lockman, background, says Air Canada treated her daughter, Shawna Handrahan, “like an animal” and legal action is being considered against the airline.  ©THE GUARDIAN
Joanne Power-Lockman, background, says Air Canada treated her daughter, Shawna Handrahan, “like an animal” and legal action is being considered against the airline. ©THE GUARDIAN - Jim Day

Charlottetown woman claims Air Canada manager told her to ‘terminate pregnancy’ after falling ill at Toronto airport

A Charlottetown woman says an Air Canada manager told her that she should terminate her pregnancy because she was too emotional for air travel.

Shawna Handrahan, 33, of Charlottetown claims the manager made the shocking comment at least twice as she was dealing with illness following her flight with Air Canada from London, England, to Toronto.

“He said ‘look at your mental state,’’’ Handrahan recalls. “He made me upset.’’

Air Canada spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur denies the claim.

“Our employees are professional and caring and did not make such comments,’’ says Arthur.

Handrahan’s displeasure with Air Canada did not end with the alleged comments.

Handrahan, who is three months pregnant, says she had a severe allergic reaction to medication while at the Toronto Pearson International Airport, which included lockjaw, swollen tongue and irregular breathing.

She was taken to a hospital in Toronto.

Before leaving the airport for the hospital, she says an Air Canada employee “promised’’ to contact her mother in Charlottetown to let her know that Handrahan had become ill, had been taken to hospital and would miss her planned flight home.

The employee also promised to put Handrahan’s luggage aside.

The Air Canada worker did neither.

Nor did the Etobicoke General hospital contact Power-Lockman about Handrahan, who was so ill that she spent two days in hospital after returning to Charlottetown.

So when Handrahan’s ex-husband went to pick her up at the Charlottetown Airport, only Handrahan’s luggage was waiting there.

That led to a great deal of confusion and concern says Handrahan’s mother, Joanne Power-Lockman.

Power-Lockman has since raised the issue with Air Canada, but she says a representative of the airline offered no explanation as to why she was not contacted.

“She said, ‘I have nothing to say to respond to that,’’’ says Power-Lockman.

“I want an apology first and foremost. I just want people to know they treated my daughter worse than an animal.’’

Power-Lockman says she and her daughter are considering taking legal action against Air Canada.

Handrahan says the whole experience was terrible.

“I did not feel valued as a customer,’’ she says.

“I would never fly with them again – ever… no one should have to go through that.’’

Arthur says airport staff did their best to assist and provide support to Handrahan while she was feeling unwell after arriving in Toronto.

“She was booked on an earlier flight at no charge, however, because she went to the hospital she was unable to make it,’’ says Arthur.

“She was then rebooked on the first available flight, which was the next day. We are sorry she feels we did not help adequately, including with respect to contacting family, but please bear in mind we are constrained by privacy laws from disclosing customer information to third parties.’’

Arthur adds Air Canada will be in contact with Handrahan “to follow up’’ on the complaints.

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