Archaic Air Canada policy sparks an online backlash
C. Di Giuseppe, CTV Calgary
Published Tuesday, December 31, 2013 8:43PM MST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 31, 2013 8:56PM MST
While Air Canada calls it a security policy, a Calgary frequent flier calls it antiquated and discriminatory.
When Chris turner recently tried to transfer a travel voucher to his wife, Ashley Bristowe, he was told by an Air Canada representative it couldn’t be done.
That’s because they don’t share the same last name.
“And then he came back on the phone and said, ya you can't redeem before the flight. If you're wife has a different last name. And I said, oh that's ridiculous and he basically agreed with me.” says Turner.
Turner took to social media, tweeting directly at the airline which responded with, "vouchers can only be transferred to another family member before travel if they have the same last name."
This set off a social media storm in Calgary and across the country, with many calling the policy out of touch.
Rival airline Westjet didn’t pass up on the opportunity to chime in and tweeted, "credits with us are transferable to anyone of your choosing".
The online debate then prompted another tweeter to bring up the issue of same sex and common law couples, claiming that the policy discriminates against them, "this happens to husbands with husbands too".
One Montreal lawyer, Marie Annik Gregoire points out it's forbidden in Quebec for women to take on their husband's name.
“Air Canada is having a policy on its books that is against Quebec law.”
Since airing his disappointment with Air Canada via Twitter, Turner says the airline has been in touch with him and that he will be able to buy his wife a ticket using his voucher.
He does believe that through the power of social media, it gave him the leverage he needed to come to a resolution with the airline.
Air Canada declined CTV Calgary’s request for an interview, but says in a statement the policy is in place to prevent fraudulent use of vouchers.
The airline says it's moving toward gift cards which are fully transferable to anyone.