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Voyage aborted due to name error in a plane ticket

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Elvira Castillo Larocque and her husband Viateur Larocque were unable to leave for Peru on January 2 from Timmins, a trip that they have made without problems many times.

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A couple from Timmins, in Northern Ontario, saw their annual trip to Peru suddenly aborted this year due to a name transcription error. Elvira Castillo Larocque and her husband Viateur Larocque have difficulty understanding why the modification could not be made quickly.

Elvira Castillo Larocque does not is still recovering from what happened to her on January 2.

They prevent us from being happy. I don't know what happened in that call. It’s overwhelming, everyone is against us, she says, before bursting into tears.

As she has done every winter for two decades, the resident of Timmins, in Northern Ontario, was preparing to fly to Peru, her country of origin, with her husband, Viateur Larocque, for a stay of a few weeks.

This year's trip was particularly close to her heart, she says, because it would especially allow her to spend time with her 93-year-old mother.

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It was Viateur Larocque who booked the flights in November, via Flighthub: the first Air Canada flight from Timmins to Toronto, followed by two flights from the airline Avianca, with Lima, the Peruvian capital, as destination.

The reservation confirmation received immediately afterwards was nothing unusual for the couple.

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Viateur Larocque emphasizes that his wife always reminds him to pay particular attention to the transcription of his name during online transactions.

But there was a twist on January 2nd.

Arriving at the airport, two hours before takeoff, an Air Canada agent told Elvira Castillo Larocque that the name on her ticket did not match the name on her identity documents, including her passport.

On his post, Castillo, which is part of his last name, was rather attached to his first name.

[The Air Canada agent] asked me if I had a middle name and I told her no. […] She told me that since I had not purchased my ticket with Air Canada, I had to call FlightHub, explains Ms. Castillo Larocque.

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On the Air Canada boarding pass, Castillo happens to be his middle name, while on the passport Castillo is his first name. family.

Her husband followed the directive and, after about ten minutes of waiting, managed to speak on the phone to an agent of the company.

For an hour and a half he would talk to us and say "give me five minutes to try to change." […] Two hours later, the plane left and we lost our entire trip.

A quote from Viateur Larocque, resident of Timmins

Persistent, Mr. Larocque said he called FlightHub multiple times, trying in French and English to see if he could have another recourse.

Agents on the line eventually told him that the case had been forwarded to a special team who would follow up with him within seven to ten days of his call.

I'm so frustrated. […] I could not understand that the world could place honest people in such situations, he confides.

It's amazing to see the stress a person can gain from a situation like this that is simply a name that was simply put in the wrong place.

A quote from Timmins resident Viateur Larocque

He estimates that this mishap could have cost him more than $7,000, because having still not obtained a promise of reimbursement, he has already purchased other tickets to go to Peru this Sunday.

In an email sent to Radio-Canada, an Air Canada spokesperson explains that as it was a ticket issued by a Another carrier, Air Canada was unable to change it and we advised customers to consult their travel agent.

For a ticket issued by Air Canada, we would normally have been able to make the correction, writes the company's vice-president of communications, Christophe Hennebelle.

Generally speaking, we advise all travelers to ensure that the name on their ticket matches the name on their travel documents, which is legally required for security reasons.

A quote from Christophe Hennebelle, vice-president of communications for Air Canada

By email, FlightHub customer service director David Masanga confirmed that the ticket was indeed issued by Avianca, which did not follow up to our requests.

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The couple still do business with third parties to book their flights, as was the case with Flight Hub.

Mr. Masanga explains that after being contacted by Mr. and Mrs. Larocque, FlightHub took the initiative to contact [Avianca] on their behalf even though the usual protocol is to direct customers themselves to the carriers.

However, the air carrier declined our request for resolution, writes Mr. Masanga.

If the customer had informed us two to three days before the flight, we could have initiated communication with Air Canada to seek a resolution. Unfortunately, the last minute contact did not give us enough time to properly communicate with the airline, he continues.

The history of The Larocque couple's reservations through FlightHub indicate that Elvira Castillo Larocque's name has been listed in the same manner several times since 2016.

In situations involving a partnership between Avianca and Air Canada, it is at the discretion of both airlines to allow a name change, says David Masanga.

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Air Canada, which refuses to comment on the couple's travel history, persists on its inability to make the modification.

I can only reiterate that, not being the issuer of the ticket, we could not make the correction ourselves. So contacting the travel agent to make the correction was the right thing to do. I don’t know why this was not possible, writes Christophe Hennebelle.

But the issuer of the ticket is not relevant at all, observes the president of the air travelers rights group Air Passenger Rights, Gábor Lukács.

It is only a matter between air carriers and has no impact on the link between passengers and the carrier, he notes.

He believes that Air Canada should have made the necessary changes to at least allow Elvira Castillo Larocque to travel to Toronto and handle the rest of the situation with Avianca there.

When traveling abroad, foreign governments may refuse entry to individuals with incorrect documentation and Air Canada may be subject to heavy fines and fines. additional costs for transporting people without the correct documents, underlines Christophe Hennebelle in his email to Radio-Canada.

Passengers should be fully reimbursed for their plane tickets and all other related expenses they made, says Mr. Lukács.

With information from Jimmy Chabot< /em>

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