Derrin Espinola, 15, was traveling alone on Air Canada from Denver to Thunder Bay on May 1. He experienced a stopover at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, but due to delays, missed the next flight to Thunder Bay. The teen was stranded alone, in the airport, with no accommodation or food vouchers. According to Espinola, he felt “trapped” in the airport, like he was being held prisoner.

15-year-old boy stranded in Toronto airport overnight by Air Canada

Espinola said he arrived in Toronto at around 8 p.m., too late for his connecting flight to Thunder Bay.

While Air Canada rebooked him on another flight, it was only at 6 p.m. the next day. Reportedly the airline did not offer the teenager any accommodation or any food vouchers. Espinola told CBC News that he was trapped in the airport, with nowhere he could go. He couldn’t leave the airport and was unable to get a hotel room, because he is a minor.

Teen pleaded with Air Canada for help, to no avail

Espinola said he spent a majority of the night pleading with Air Canada for help, because he is a minor, but got no assistance from the airline.

He then tried to stay awake all night, as he was scared he might be robbed. Espinola went on to say he was very scared, very tired and very hungry and really didn’t know what was going to happen to him, all alone in the airport.

Teen's mother tried to contact Air Canada with no success

His mother was also frantic. Karin Patock reportedly spent around 10 hours on the phone in an attempt to get through to Air Canada.

She added that she booked that particular airline as they state on their website that in the event of any flight delays, youngsters between the ages of 12 to 17 traveling alone will be cared for by their agents. The website further states the airline would arrange accommodation, transportation and meals for youths as and when required in such situations.

Treated like an adult by Air Canada

As reported by the New York Post, Patock said after experiencing the delays and missing his flight, Air Canada rebooked her son just like any other person [adult]. They made the reservation for the next day without any thought of what would happen to the teenager when he landed in one of the largest airports in Canada, all alone.

According to Patock, when she tried to phone Air Canada, all she got was a message saying the airport is under construction and that they cannot accommodate anyone right then, saying to call back later. Patock says that was unacceptable to her.

Rebooked flight to Thunder Bay canceled by Air Canada

What made things even worse for the 15-year-old teenager was the flight to Thunder Bay they had rebooked him on was then cancelled, leading to the airline wanting to rebook him on a flight on May 3. This would have meant two days alone in the airport for the teen, so his family bought a ticket from another airline – at their own expense – to ensure he didn’t spend another night in the Toronto Airport.

According to a spokesperson for Air Canada, the airline is “investigating the matter” and will “reach out” to the family.

The spokesman told CBC News that the ongoing runway construction at the Toronto Pearson Airport, along with severe weather conditions in the area, have been a “challenge” for the airline. This also, reportedly, included bad weather conditions in Thunder Bay.

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