Air Canada grounds Toronto family after passports are stolen

I read a strange story from the Toronto Star where a family had their passports stolen from their hotel room during an Arizona vacation last April, Air Canada assured them that their return tickets were enough to fly back to Toronto.

On their departure day, the family of four did make it through Phoenix airport security. But just before an Air Canada agent handed them their printed-out boarding passes, another agent came along — and told them it was “illegal under Canadian law” to travel back to Toronto without passports.

“Everyone was telling us their concern was U.S. customs and security letting us through,” she told the Star.

Tharmaseelan’s family isn’t the first to be unexpectedly grounded thanks to mixed messages from Air Canada staff about missing passports. Last year, a Kelowna, B.C., woman who lost her passport on an Air Canada plane wasn’t allowed to board a return flight from Philadelphia — even though, she told Global News, officials had repeatedly assured her she could.

When Tharmaseelan called the Canadian consulate about her family’s stolen passports, they told her to speak with her airline. An Air Canada rep told her that, because they’d purchased round-trip tickets, all of their information was still logged in Pearson International Airport’s system.


I am not sure what I would do if my passports were stolen but I wouldn’t trust any airline without verifying an emergency passport.

What would you do if you lost your passport outside of the country?


  • Ford
    Posted June 7, 2016 4:16 am 0Likes

    Airlines are the retail customer service of the 21st century.

  • JetAway
    Posted June 7, 2016 12:42 pm 0Likes

    I suppose if they had NEXUS they could have rented a car and driven home. Long drive but they would have gotten home.

    • Steven Zussino
      Posted June 7, 2016 2:01 pm 0Likes

      I never thought of using Nexus to get across – great idea.

    • ptahcha
      Posted June 7, 2016 3:00 pm 0Likes

      You can even use Nexus to enter Canada via air – it’s one of the options on APIS.

    • Tom
      Posted June 7, 2016 5:28 pm 0Likes

      As a Canadian citizen, one does not need a passport to enter Canada regardless of what the airline old the family. Nexus might make it easier but is not required.

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