June 7, 2023

La Ronge Northerner

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Flight cancellations and difficult communication | “Unacceptable” situation at Sunwing

Repeated flight cancellations and difficult communication with Sunwing have left hundreds of travelers across the country frustrated and ruining their holiday plans in the past few days. Ottawa is calling the situation “unacceptable” as many commuters are describing their nightmares on social media and in the media.

“I am very concerned about the current situation with Sunwing,” Federal Transport Minister Omar Alcabra tweeted on Wednesday. “The current situation is unacceptable. Canadians need to get the information they need to return home safely. »

“Passengers have rights under Air Passenger Safety Regulations […] And our government will continue to ensure that these rights are protected,” he added.

Pres Minister Alcabra’s office sought clarification on what Ottawa plans to do “to ensure these rights are protected,” but did not receive a response as of this writing.

Gabor Lukacs, president and founder of the air passenger rights group, suggested earlier this week that affected passengers should seek compensation from Sunwing and sue the company if they refuse.

Pascal Bachand, 40, left for Cancun on December 9 with his partner and was due to return on December 16. He received more than a dozen notifications that his flight had been delayed and then canceled, and was finally able to return on December 18. Meanwhile, she changed hotels, took a room at her own expense, waited hours in the lobby, and made fruitless trips back and forth between the hotel and the airport.

Does she plan to travel with Sunwing again? “No, of course not,” she replies flatly.

Sunwing said on its website Thursday that it “cannot process” compensation requests for departures on or after Dec. 18.[e]Now s” due to operational issues.

In a statement sent to Pres On Thursday, Sunwing President Len Corrado said the company was “facing unprecedented operational issues, resulting in continued delays to many flights.”

He said his teams were working “tirelessly” to bring back stranded passengers abroad, adding that they had “planned 40 rescue flights this week, 18 of which were already carried out on December 28”.

“To our customers who are waiting for an update of their flight schedules, we will inform them of the full details of the rescheduled flights to confirm the timing, if we can through flight alert notifications and through destination representatives,” he said.

However, Sunwing announcements and representatives remain a major source of frustration for many stranded travelers abroad, particularly in Cancun, Mexico.

Many travelers like Mme Bachand recounted that they were repeatedly delayed before their flight was cancelled, forced to stay awake for days, go to the airport with nothing, change hotels sometimes at their own expense and chain sleepless nights while waiting for their news. Airplane.

They also complained about Sunwing representatives on the ground, who passengers said were rarely helpful and often uninformed.

Their stories have been making headlines in dailies across the country for the past few days. Posts on Facebook groups dedicated to rallying disgruntled tourists added a lot on Thursday.

Pres Several queries were sent to Sunwing, including the nature of operational difficulties, the number of passengers affected and the company’s compensation policy, but were not heard back at the time of writing.

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Federal air passenger safety regulations require up to $1,000 in compensation for cancellations or long delays due to reasons within the carrier’s control when notice is given 14 days or less before departure.

With Canadian Press