A Pointe-Claire, Quebec family feels wronged and lied to by Sunwing after their teenager’s flight was turned back to Montreal and canceled the next day.
14-year-old Jesse Massabuau was all excited and excited to head to Miami and reunite with his family for the holidays on his first solo trip.
But the airline he was flying with never made it to his destination.
“It really pissed me off. I was [waiting] for five months for this trip,” he said as he found himself in Montreal, unable to find another direct flight to Miami in time for New Year’s Eve.
Massabuau says shortly after takeoff on the morning of Dec. 25, the pilot of his Sunwing flight announced he was having trouble with the plane and needed to return to Montreal.
“At 10:30 a.m. I get a call, so you can imagine my heart stopping, because why would he call me at 10:30 a.m. from the plane?” said his mother Sheila Botton.
His mother says she returned to the airport to pick up her son and they were sent home with vouchers but very little information.
When they returned to the airport for the third time on December 26, they were checked in, suitcase loaded, but the flight was canceled for good.
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Sunwing sent an email a few hours later explaining the cancellation. “Please note that your flight has been canceled due to crew and aircraft relocation following severe weather disruptions across the country.”
“Of course it didn’t make sense because you have to have a flight, an operator, you have to have a plan B and a plan C, you can’t just ignore everyone and just let us down… abandon us,” explains Botton.
Sunwing offered a refund for the flight or the option to rebook another flight by Dec. 30 by calling their number, which Botton said is unreachable.
She would like to be compensated by the carrier.
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In a statement to PKBNEWS, Sunwing confirmed that its plane had a mechanical problem.
“Once the mechanical issue was addressed and resolved, and the aircraft was deemed fit for service, the crew was beyond duty hours and could no longer operate the flight,” Sunwing wrote in an email. mail.
“Although the flight was rescheduled for the next day, it unfortunately had to be canceled as Miami airport and ground staff were unable to meet the rescheduled date and time.”
The airline adds that the refund will be processed within 30 days, but did not respond to concerns about the APPR’s provisions to provide an alternative flight with another carrier for affected passengers.
“We sincerely regret the impact on our customers’ travel plans during the busy holiday season,” the statement concluded.
Air passenger rights advocate Gábor Lukács agrees the airline should do more.
“Because we’re talking about a maintenance issue here and a subsequent aircraft that was really under the control of the airline – not having the proper crew, not having the proper arrangements – Sunwing has to pay for these passengers for an alternative flight,” Lukács said.
Sunwing is facing cancellation issues across the country and beyond. Hundreds of Canadian passengers remain stranded in Mexico after Sunwing canceled their return flights.
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Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra called the current situation “unacceptable” on Twitter.
“Canadians are patient with weather disruptions, but they rightly expect their airlines to keep them informed and manage these disruptions smoothly. I am very concerned about the current situation with Sunwing Airlines,” Alghabra wrote in part.
“Passengers have the right under the Air Passenger Protection Regulations to provide strong passenger protection in situations like these, and our government will continue to ensure that these rights are protected.
Lukács believes that the government is not enforcing passenger rights in Canada and that current legislation is not strong enough.
“The Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) are grossly poorly drafted, unnecessary, complex and require a disproportionate amount of resources to enforce passenger rights, but this problem is compounded by the government’s inability to take enforcement action,” Lukács said.
“Under the law, the government could fine airlines up to $25,000 per passenger per incident.”
Meanwhile, the Canadian Transportation Agency says passengers who believe an airline has not followed the APPR can file a complaint on the CTA’s website.
“The APPR defines the minimum obligations of airlines towards passengers when flights are disrupted. This can include things such as rebooking a passenger on a flight, providing meals and accommodation, or compensating for inconvenience depending on the reason for the flight disruption,” the carrier wrote. word of the CTA, Martine Maltais, in an email.
As for Massabuau, he says his vacation is ruined and he will never fly with the airline again.
“Certainly not, never. I don’t even want to see that brand again,” Massabuau said.
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