A LOCAL man missed a July 27 flight to Vancouver and then ongoing flights to a family wedding back east because the all-female security clearing crew that morning said they couldn’t do a physical pat down.
He has now received an apology.
The screeners were wrong when they said Rob Hart could only receive a pat down from a male screener and not a female one, said Mathieu Larocque from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA).
Provided a passenger consents, a screener of a different gender can do a pat down, he said.
“We made a mistake. That passenger should have been screened.”
There are other measures instead of a physical pat down, ones on which Larocque wouldn’t elaborate, citing procedural matters.
When Hart missed his morning flight to Vancouver because female screeners would not pat him down, he had to wait until a male screener came on shift. It resulted in an afternoon flight to Vancouver, a lengthy wait in that city and then a red-eye flight across the country.
The demand for a pat down came after Hart, who had part of his right hip replaced last year, triggered the metal detector in the security clearing area at the airport.
Larocque said CATSA’s policy has been in place for several years, permitting pat downs by screeners of the opposite gender when ones of the same gender of the passenger aren’t on duty.
“This should have happened and it did not,” he said.
It’s very rare to have only screeners of one sex on duty at an airport and on the occasion it does happen, it’s at smaller facilities, Larocque added.
Larger airports with scores of screeners are assured of a gender mix, he said.
Larocque said the correct policy on screening has now been explained to screeners in Terrace.
Hart estimated he spent about $100 on meals and incidentals because of his altered travel schedule.
It is a figure CATSA would consider should Hart wish compensation, said Larocque.
“We do have a claims process in place and we will consider his claim absolutely,” he said.