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Family Claims Air Canada Abandoned Man With Down Syndrome at Vancouver Airport

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Dec 21, 2013 08:35 PM EST

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A family claims that an airline did not help their son with Down Syndrome as they promised to.

John 'JJ' Ross, 21, is not new to flying, but he was never treated the way Air Canada treated him during a recent trip from Portland to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He was flying to see his sister in Vancouver, KPTV reports.

Ross usually flies from Portland to Seattle and his sister picks him up, but  his parents decided to fly him right to British Columbia this time as Air Canada told them that someone would stay with him until his sister met him. Ross' parents and his sister called Air Canada several times to ensure that Ross wouldn't have any problems before he flew.

"I felt good about putting him on that airplane," Connie Ross told KPTV. However that changed when JJ landed in Vancouver.  Connie wrote a letter to Air Canada saying that she believes her son was taken to the baggage area after the flight but he was left alone at customs.

"I went into the hall. I didn't know [if I was] going to find help. [I] went to a security guard to help me," JJ said.

When JJ got out of customs, Connie says her son had no idea where he was or where he had to go. He wandered around the airport for an hour before calling his sister. His sister told him to talk to someone. The person that helped him was from customs and not the airline.

"I think the word is just simply disappointed," John Ross, JJ's father told KPTV. "They didn't do their job. They didn't do what they promised they would do."

The Ross' say Air Canada offered an apology but they still want an explanation for why no one stayed with their son. They're hoping that the airlines follows policies as promised and hopes that no one will go through what their son did.

"Be aware of the people around you," Connie Ross said. "We would love all the airlines to provide support to people with disabilities to be safe. That's so they have an opportunity to travel and be part of society."

Air Canada released a statement to FOX 12 about the incident, saying "This was an unfortunate incident, and we have been in touch with the customer. We have procedures in place to assist customers with special needs, and we are investigating how this situation arose," said Peter Fitzpatrick, Air Canada.

Ross is set to spend Christmas in Canada and will return home to Oregon next weekend. The Ross' say they will pick up their son by car for the trip home.

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