An Air Canada passenger was left stranded inside an empty, dark, and locked plane on the tarmac of Toronto Pearson International Airport after she fell asleep and was never alerted of their arrival.
Tiffani Louise O’Brien was flying to Toronto on Air Canada Flight 1799 on June 9 after spending the weekend in Quebec City when she woke up hours later in a "completely pitch black" aircraft. "I thought, this is a nightmare," O’Brien told CTV News. "This is not happening. I’m having a bad dream. Wake up, Tiffani."
O’Brien remembers seeing a number of text messages from her friend Deanna Noel-Dale, who was with her in Quebec City, and dropped her off at the airport. Noel-Dale recalls receiving a text from Tiffani at around 11:45 p.m. local time which stated that she just woke up and was stranded on the plane. O’Brien tried to FaceTime Noel-Dale, but their conversation was cut short when Tiffani's phone battery died.
After repeated failed attempts to get in touch with Tiffani, Noel-Dale contacted Pearson Airport to alert them of her friend's situation. Meanwhile, O’Brien searched for a way out without the help of her phone since the plane's lack of power prevented her from charging her device.
O’Brien was able to get into the cockpit of the aircraft where she found a flashlight. With Pearson Airport in her sight, she tried to signal for help, but her efforts were unsuccessful. Tiffani was able to unlock the plane's door where she faced yet another obstacle. Since the drop to the tarmac was too high up for her, she tried getting anyone's attention with her flashlight.
Whether it was her flashlight or Noel-Dale's call to Pearson Airport, help was finally on the way. "When I see the luggage cart driving towards me I am literally dangling my legs out of the plane ... he is in shock asking how the heck they left me on the plane," O’Brien recalls.
Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said the airline is "still reviewing this matter, so we have no additional details to share, but we have followed up with the customer and remain in contact with her."
Robin Smith, spokesperson for the Toronto Pearson Airport, acknowledged that they were "aware of this passenger’s story and we can certainly empathize with the concern she must have felt."