Air Canada Still Trying to Figure Out How a Passenger Got Left on Parked Plane

Photo: Cole Burston (Getty)

If you’ve ever decided that your best option for surviving a garbage day of air travel is just sleeping it out, you might want to revise your strategy a little. An Air Canada crew left a whole-ass passenger sleeping on the plane after everyone else had disembarked. They left her. Everyone got off, they stored the craft, and they left a passenger on the plane.

I cannot express to you the horror I am feeling while writing this blog. On a flight to Toronto, passenger Tiffani Adams decided to take advantage of her trip to catch up on some much-needed sleep, AP reports. Instead of being woken up by the landing or a kind member of the Air Canada flight crew, Adams instead woke up “all alone” on a “cold dark” plane.

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(Does this sound like the beginning of an end-of-the-world movie to you? Because it does to me, too.)

Adams wrote a lengthy Facebook post describing the experience, parts of which are recounted in the AP article. And if you thought waking up on an empty plane was bad, things just manage to get worse.

To make the situation significantly more inconvenient, Adams’ phone died. She claimed to have made “SOS signals” out one of the windows with a flashlight she found, but to no avail. No one saw.

It was only after Adams apparently “unbolted a cabin door” (how, exactly, the AP did not specify) and could actually call for help that she was finally able to escape airplane hell. But, y’know, only after the ground crew found something tall enough to get her out.

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For its part, Air Canada asked after Adams’ wellbeing and offered her a complimentary hotel room and a limo ride there, which Adams declined. I have to say, a limo and a free room just seem a little... stingy... in comparison to the rest of her ordeal. According to Adams, “I haven’t got much sleep since the reoccurring night terrors and waking up anxious and afraid I’m alone locked up someplace dark.” Maybe Air Canada can look into compensating for some therapy.

I was one of those kids who was inordinately afraid of falling asleep on the bus ride home from school for fear of being forgotten and made to linger on the bus until the next day, sad and scared and alone. I am still one of those people who worries about this on flights, but I’ve always been able to reassure myself that the whole nature of flying means I just couldn’t be left on a plane.

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I have been proved so wrong.

CNN reports that the Greater Toronto Airports Authority Senior Advisor of Communications Robin Smith only said: “As the airport operator, our role is to conduct airfield operations and maintain the terminals. I would recommend contacting an airline for a comment on the use of deplaning equipment, as airlines and their ground handlers are responsible for all aircraft operations, including deplaning passengers and using that equipment.”

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Air Canada has yet to comment on how the whole thing happened in the first place. It seems strange that an entire flight of people and the crew would disembark without noticing or waking up a sleeping woman on the plane—after all, planes need to be cleaned and checked for any missing items once passengers get off. The company has said it’s looking into what went wrong and how it change change policy in the future to ensure nothing like this happens again.

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About the author

Elizabeth Blackstock

Staff writer. Motorsport fanatic. Proud owner of a 2013 Mazda 2.