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An airline which ejected at least 25 passengers from a Heathrow-bound plane without telling them why has admitted that some were ‘mistakenly removed’.
Air Canada has confirmed that some passengers had done nothing wrong before its staff accompanied by armed police ordered them off the plane.
Officials have been contacting the innocent passengers to apologise for the blunder and are believed to be discussing possible compensation with them.
But the airline is continuing to claim that others were thrown off the flight for ‘disruptive behaviour’ which included a failure to wear masks under anti-Covid rules.
It refused to confirm how many were wrongly ordered off as the plane sat on the tarmac at Montreal airport late on Monday night before leaving for Heathrow.
MailOnline revealed on Wednesday how passengers sitting quietly in their seats were told they had to leave without being given any explanation.
Those affected included support staff from Formula One teams who were in Montreal for the Grand Prix as well as a retired British couple who had been on holiday.
Officials have been contacting the innocent passengers to apologise for the blunder and are believed to be discussing possible compensation with them
But the airline is continuing to claim that others were thrown off the flight for ‘disruptive behaviour’ which included a failure to wear masks under anti-Covid rules
All the passengers insisted that they had done nothing wrong, and had been following rules by wearing masks.
Others on the plane also confirmed that they had not seen anyone breaking the rules or behaving in a rowdy or a drunken way.
Air Canada had initially claimed that ‘a group of 25 customers’ were removed ‘due to disruptive behaviour’ and that it was investigating allegations that other ‘unrelated individuals’ were also deplaned during the process.
But in a statement released to MailOnline, the airline confirmed that the issue centred around the wearing of masks, and that some of the passenger should not have been thrown off.
The statement said: ‘Our general policy is to not discuss incidents of disruptive behavior onboard our aircraft, but we can confirm the deplaning of passengers from flight AC866 on June 20 was related to non-compliance with Canadian government mask regulations, Canadian Aviation Regulations, as well as directives of our crew.
‘The actions taken were for the safety and benefit of the other 266 passengers on the flight.
‘We regret that some customers who were not involved were unfortunately deplaned. We have since reached out those we have identified as mistakenly removed to apologize and address their concerns.’
A spokesperson for the Williams F1 team said: ‘We confirm that four of our members of staff were removed from an Air Canada flight on Monday evening that was due to fly from Montreal to London, including a pregnant member of our workforce.
‘A total of 28 people were removed from the flight, and we are currently awaiting an explanation from Air Canada as we do not believe that there was any justification for the removal of our employees.
‘As Williams Racing, we ensured our staff had transport and accommodation while they waited to be rebooked onto another flight. We confirm they are all now safely back in the UK and we await a response from Air Canada.’
Retired surveyor Richard Brailey, 71, and his wife Patricia, 66, from Hertfordshire were left baffled after they were ordered off the flight on their way home from a four week camper van holiday around Canada.
Air Canada had initially claimed that ‘a group of 25 customers’ were removed ‘due to disruptive behaviour’ and that it was investigating allegations that other ‘unrelated individuals’ were also deplaned during the process
Jordan Conlan, 28, left, was one of the passengers abruptly ordered off the plane after sitting on the tarmac for over an hour
The couple’s son Patrick Brailey confirmed to MailOnline today that Air Canada staff had been in touch with his parents to apologise. He added: ‘Discussions regarding an explanation and compensation remain ongoing’.
Mr and Mrs Brailey were given no reason for their ejection at the time, 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.
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, and were eventually given Air Canada flights back to Heathrow via New York on Tuesday.
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.
Their other son spent £1,300 on booking an alternative flight home for them on another airline before Air Canada came up with the new flights.
The couple are demanding compensation for their ordeal and for the money that their son spent.
Those affected included support staff from Formula One teams who were in Montreal for the Grand Prix (pictured) as well as a retired British couple who had been on holiday
A spokesperson for the Williams F1 team said: ‘We confirm that four of our members of staff were removed from an Air Canada flight on Monday evening that was due to fly from Montreal to London, including a pregnant member of our workforce’
Four members of the Aston Martin F1 team are also believed to have been thrown off the flight as well as a member of the Red Bull team who was not allowed to collect his bag containing his passport, wallet or phone from the overhead locker
Four members of the Aston Martin F1 team are also believed to have been thrown off the flight as well as a member of the Red Bull team who was not allowed to collect his bag containing his passport, wallet or phone from the overhead locker.
An Aston Martin F1 Team spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘We are pleased to confirm that all our staff have now returned safely from Canada.
‘They were given no information as to why they were removed from the flight. We are in dialogue with Air Canada and awaiting further feedback.’
Jordan Conlan, 28, who works for a company installing garage walling for the Williams team told MailOnline on Thursday how he was among those thrown off.
He said: ‘Everyone on the plane was behaving properly and it was very quiet.
‘People were as quiet as anything and going to sleep as they waited to get underway. There was no rowdy behaviour and everyone seemed to be wearing masks.
‘We had been sitting on the runway for an hour when a member of security staff from the airport who was in a stab vest began walking up and down the plane.
‘There was nothing going on whatsoever. Then all of a sudden a long line of five or seven police officers came on the flight.
‘They were with a bald guy who had been checking tickets and passports as people got on board. He had a piece of paper with a list of seat numbers of people who were being thrown off.’
Jordan said the first person ordered off was a Williams team member in Business Class who had his leg in a brace after breaking his ankle in Canada.
Then the police threw off a pregnant member of the Williams team and another woman colleague, sitting near him in economy.
Jordan Conlan works for a company installing garage walling for the Williams Formula One team. He said: ‘Everyone on the plane was behaving properly and it was very quiet’
Mr Brailey said he and his wife would now be demanding compensation for their ordeal and the money spent on the alternative flights which could not be refunded. Pictured is their camper van which they enjoyed before their dream Canada holiday ended in a nightmare
Jordan said the mystified pair ‘were completely fast asleep’ when they got tapped on their shoulders by armed police and told to leave.
He said: ‘They were both crying and very upset. They just could not understand it.
‘The bald guy was just going along, saying ‘This person, this person’ and saying they had to get off. Then it was my turn to be ordered off. I asked why, but he would not tell me.
‘I previously had my head phones on with my shoes off and my mask on, and I was falling asleep with my eyes closed.
‘I had been for a meal with a colleague about two hours previously, and we had just one beer each. He stayed on the flight, and I got taken off. It was scary stuff. It was a bizarre situation.
‘I was with the Williams team, so I was obviously expected to behave properly. The last thing I would have been doing was getting drunk.
‘Two Canadian residents next to me were also taken off. The guy had a full face mask and an eye mask, and was fast asleep.
‘They were not telling us where we were going and just said we needed to get off.
‘The gantry walkway back to the terminal was lined with armed police officers on both sides and we had to walk between them.’
He added: ‘They just said to follow police to Customs and there would be people waiting for us. Some of us tried to head back to the plane and we got told off.
‘We were told we had to go back through Customs to enter Canada. I was worried about doing it, but in the end everyone went through.
‘We landed up in the baggage hall where we spoke to a female representative from Air Canada. She was not saying exactly why we got ordered off.
‘She just said that the police had grounds to take us off because we were not following mask rules, were drunk or aggressive.
‘She did not specify who had done what, but we were all under that remit.
‘We were waiting for our luggage to come off the plane, and she was blaming Customs for not taking our bags off.
‘The Customs guys were shouting back at her that it was not their fault. In the end, the plane left with our bags still on board.
‘I was arguing that it was a horrendous breach of aviation laws because travellers have to be flying on planes carrying their luggage.
‘The Air Canada lady told us all that Air Canada would not be giving us new flights because of our behaviour. Nobody could understand it because we had done nothing wrong.’
Jordan who lives in Warwickshire said he had been left wondering whether a ‘grumpy’ air stewardess on the flight was anything to do with the decision to eject passengers.
He said: ‘She was quite rude to two of my colleagues and said, ‘Can you sit down please?’ when they were putting bags in overhead lockers.
‘I just wonder whether she had a bad day and wanted to get revenge.’
Jordan said he and his colleagues were put up in a downtown hotel in Montreal for the night and were booked by Williams representatives on to a British Airways flight back to Heathrow on Tuesday night.