A 71-year-old woman claims she’s been banned from flying Air Canada after being removed from an August flight following a dispute over garbage in the cabin.
Just after 8 a.m. on Aug. 18, Ellen Flemming boarded Air Canada flight 8946 from Pearson International Airport in Toronto with her husband and two grandsons, according to Canadian outlet Global News.
During the New Brunswick-bound flight, Flemming told the outlet, she got into a disagreement with a flight attendant after she “went to put my water bottle into the pouch in front of me” and discovered there was “wet garbage” inside.
However, when she called over a flight attendant to take care of the mess, she claims the male attendant told her, “I don’t do garbage” and that he then proceeded to swipe “my hand away…and the garbage flew all over.”
Helen Hollett, a fellow passenger, told the outlet that the flight attendant was “screaming” during the incident, which occurred shortly before the plane was turned around. Hollett went on to claim that she was told by the flight crew that the decision didn’t concern the garbage, but was made because of a concern about “the safety of the passengers.”
When the plane returned to the airport, Flemming was escorted off by two Peel Regional Police officers and an Air Canada agent, according to Global News. While she claims she was told by an Air Canada agent that she would be placed on another flight, when she attempted to schedule another flight she said a manager told her, “you’re not flying Air Canada again.”
She then bought a ticket with another airline.
Air Canada confirmed to Global News that a passenger had been removed from the flight, and that local authorities had been called in to meet the flight.
Air Canada did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
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Flemming also provided the outlet with a letter she was sent by Air Canada corporate security dated Aug 30. In the letter, Air Canada allegedly claimed that Flemming “exhibited aggressive behavior towards a crewmember,” which included throwing her garbage “on the food trolley” and kicking a crew member.
The letter also claimed that there is no “ongoing prohibition” banning Flemming from traveling with Air Canada.
In a statement to Global News, the Peel Regional Police wrote that “based on the information received, it was determined that both parties were involved in a loud verbal dispute” but that “no criminal offenses were committed.”
Flemming told Global News she hopes the airline will apologize to her and reimburse her for the flight she booked after being kicked off the first plane.
“There needs to be some accountability,” she said. “Accountability for that flight attendant’s behavior, for his actions, accountability for being the cause of a flight getting turned around.”
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