Alistair Butt

[Jun 11, 2008 03:11 PM]

Alistair Butt is a name that appears on a watch list used by Canadian airlines. For at least two Canadian boys who share that name, travelling by air has become a nightmare.

On June 6, 2007,  Alistair Butt, a 10-year-old home-school student from Saskatoon who just finished Grade 4 had no problems boarding an Air Canada flight to Ottawa with his father, mother and brother. But two days later, on June 10, when the family tried to fly from Ottawa to Toronto, they were told there was a security issue. This incident occurred a full week before Canada’s official no-fly list came into force.

Alistair Butt is a name on a watch list. He was eventually allowed to fly when he showed his Saskatchewan health card proving he was 10 years old!  And, two days later when the family tried to fly home, he again encountered problems at the check-in.

Meanwhile, Ottawa area 15-year old Alistair Butt  learned he was on a no-fly list on June 21, 2007 at an Air Canada check-in counter when he tried to board a flight in Montreal, bound for St. John’s, Nfld. An airline official told the parents Alistair’s name was on a no-fly list but wouldn't say whether it was the Canadian, U.S., or the airline’s own list. After several phone calls and a long wait, he was finally allowed to travel.

But despite spending months pursuing Transport Canada officials to find a way to ensure that Alistair can fly without problems in the future, the family has yet to receive any assurances. This year they gave up their annual winter holiday in the sun for fear of encountering serious difficulties and being stranded in a foreign country with even less remedy.

The question remains: If the name Alistair Butt is on a U.S. watch list, why were the two boys intercepted when flying on a domestic flight in Canada?