All Stephen Bennett wanted to do was get a good night’s sleep. Instead, he wound up causing an international flight incident.
In October, Bennett, from Burnaby, British Columbia, was traveling alongside his wife and son while en route to an all-inclusive vacation to Cuba. Their journey, BBC reported, included a layover in Toronto, where Bennett took a sleeping pill just before boarding his connecting flight.
According to Bennett, he was unable to sleep on the first leg of the journey, so he thought it prudent to take the pill — which was prescribed to him by his doctor — to get adequate rest. (Bennett was also recovering from a stroke that occurred two months prior, and he needed assistance to walk, reported the CBC.)
However, that pill apparently worked too well. A WestJet flight attendant attempted to wake him so he could be alert for take off, but couldn’t get him to respond. He only woke up in time to hear the crew member telling him he had to deboard the plane because he was a “medical emergency.”
“It was so humiliating. Basically, the stewardess became judge, jury and executioner,” Bennett told BBC.
Once in the terminal, Bennett was checked out by paramedics, who examined him and cleared him for the next flight. He also showed the crew his doctor’s note proving he was prescribed the medication. However, he and his family were still told they were not able to come back on board, per the airline’s policy.
The Bennetts had to spend $1,525 on new tickets on a different airline as the next available WestJet flight to Cuba was a full week later. To add insult to injury, the family also had to shell out for a hotel room in Toronto for the night. "It threw a massive wrench into the happiness [of the trip]," he shared.
Now, Bennett is seeking compensation from WestJet for his trouble, but, that’s likely not going to happen. “We stand by our crew's decisions and believe that what we have offered to this guest is reasonable under the circumstances,” the airline shared in a statement.