YouTube Video Sparks Airline Passenger Safety Concerns In Canada


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YouTube Video Sparks Airline Passenger Safety Concerns In Canada

By Shane Nolan

August 3, 2010 - In Canada, recent media reports have indicated airlines are not properly screening their passengers and passengers are routinely boarding aircraft without being visually identified.  

One example given, when passengers arrive at an air carrier’s check-in counter, each passenger is required to show an identity card, proof of identity. The airline agent then looks at the identity card; diver’s license or passport and verifies the picture with the person presenting the identity card.  

A recent youtube video surfaced which showed that on July 11th, there were some passengers allowed to board Air Canada Flight AC864 departing out of Montreal to Heathrow with out verifying their identity to the check-in counter agent as required by Canadian law.


The video showed passengers standing inline, handing the gate agent their passports and the agents verifying their identity with their paper work. However, a group of Middle Eastern traveler’s next inline, a gentleman within that group collected the passports of the women and handed the passports the agent. 

It appears in the video that the agent did not verify the pictures on the passports to the faces of the women and two of the Middle Eastern were wearing a full face veil in which they did not revile their faces to the agent nor were asked to remove their veils to check their faces against their passports. They're not wearing hijabs, the partial Muslim scarf but the full veil that blocks everything but the eyes. The women then proceeded to board the aircraft.

As a result of the video Federal Transport Minister John Baird is probing whether airlines are following the rules requiring staff to see the faces of all passengers, including those wearing veils. Baird said “such actions pose a serious threat to the security of the air travelling public. Therefore, I have instructed my department to immediately look into this matter and report back. If our current security policies in this area are deemed to be lacking, our government will take the necessary steps to protect the safety and security of the travelling public.”


In a statement released Monday, Air Canada said the airline is aware of the video and "the safety and security of our operations is our number one priority. We comply with Transport Canada regulations requiring passengers to present government issued photo ID before boarding and our agents are trained, to verify photo ID in a private area away from other passengers, as required for religious or medical reasons. Air Canada has "reminded our employees of these procedures and are also working with Transport Canada on this matter," said Air Canada spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur. 


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