INTERVIEW: Children denied flight home to Belize from Toronto, took wrong “type” of COVID test?

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Kris Little was shocked to receive a phone call from his children, who told him that they were being barred from their flight home to Belize from Toronto Pearson Airport.

Aged 10 and 14 and chaperoned by a family member, Kris’s children were threatened with having security called on them if they continued trying to gain access to the flight that had been booked and paid for.

Belize has its own COVID-19 travel protocol in place, where travelers must provide a negative test result upon arrival or, for $50 USD, you can purchase one upon arrival.

The airline, American Airlines, has provided a Coronavirus Update that outlines travel requirements and details its face covering policy, but there is nothing in writing that stipulates mandated testing.

In order to “fast track” the arrival process for his children, Kris had them complete a COVID-19 test at a Shoppers Drug Mart within 96 hours of travel, as per the Belize requirements.

Their tests came back negative. Despite having paperwork to prove the completion of the test and negative result, his children were denied access to their plane ride home.

The children and their chaperone were told that this wasn’t the “correct type” of test and they were forced to leave the premises, after being threatened with security coming if they questioned anything further in terms of policy or decision making.

It took Kris a week to find another suitable, similarly timed flight out of Canada. After attempting to charge the family for a rescheduled flight, American Airlines eventually reversed the charge and offered Kris’ children a travel voucher for $100 as compensation for their inconvenience.

It seems like Belize, a developing country, has a good grasp on COVID policy implementation and has clear and concise protocols in place. Yet in the first rate country of Canada, corporations, governments and law enforcement are all struggling to keep up.

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