A British couple’s dream holiday in Canada ended in a ‘nightmare’ when they were ordered off their plane by armed police without being given any explanation.
Retired surveyor Richard Brailey, 71, and his wife Patricia, 66, were among at least 25 passengers forced to leave the Air Canada flight before it left Montreal for Heathrow.
The couple were given no reason for their ejection, but were later told by airline staff in the terminal that they may have been thrown off for being drunk or not wearing masks.
They were left mystified because they had not been drinking and had been wearing masks constantly in their seats as they waited for the plane to take off shortly after midnight on Monday.
Other passengers thrown off the plane allegedly included a pregnant woman, a couple with two children, at least three members of the Williams Racing Formula 1 team and the doctor for the Aston Martin team who had been in Montreal for the Grand Prix over the weekend.
Mr Brailey insisted that he had not seen any other passengers misbehaving or failing to follow instructions from cabin staff on the plane.
He and his wife were forced to spend the night in the airport as they could not find a room in a hotel.
Meanwhile their luggage which was already loaded on the plane was flown to Heathrow without them, and is still stuck in the logjam of bags waiting for collection at Terminal 2.
The couple from Hertfordshire were initially told that Air Canada was not responsible for them and that they could not get on another of the airline’s flights for at least 24 hours.
One of their sons spent £1,300 on booking an alternative flight home for them on another airline which was due to leave on Tuesday night.
But Air Canada had a change of heart yesterday and put them on one of its flights to New York, and a connecting United Airlines flight to Heathrow.
The couple who had spent four weeks on a camper van tour of Canada arrived back in Heathrow early this morning, but have not yet been reunited with their luggage.
Air Canada today appeared to admit that Mr and Mrs Brailey may have been thrown off the plane by mistake.
A statement released by the airline said: ‘We are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident involving a group of 25 customers who were removed from our flight from Montreal to London Monday night, due to disruptive behaviour.
‘We understand that there are allegations that in the course of removing these passengers, certain unrelated individuals were deplaned as well.
Some of these deplaned customers were rebooked this morning and are on their way to their final destination. Once our investigation is completed, we will follow up with the customers.’
Father-of-three Mr Brailey said he was still feeling ‘shocked and disgusted’ after they were ejected from the flight, despite having done nothing wrong.
He said: ‘We wore our masks all the time in the airport and on the plane after we went on board. The only contact we had with the stewards was when they welcomed us in the normal way.
‘We had waited for about an hour for the plane to take off when a member of staff with a list of numbers came along looking up and down the rows.