Consumer watchdog group issues warning against Winnipeg based NewLeaf

Global News / File

Winnipeg — Travellers considering booking a flight with NewLeaf Airlines are being urged to think again by the Consumers’ Association of Canada.

The association has posted a travel alert on its website over concerns passengers have experienced, “arbitrary cancellations and alterations to flight dates and times on thousands of tickets purchased from NewLeaf Travel Company Inc. on flights operated by Flair Airlines Inc.”

RELATED: NewLeaf faced with lawsuit, dire predictions ahead of take-off

The statement goes on to urge travellers with NewLeaf tickets to have “an alternative plan to reach their chosen destinations and return home on time.”

“Does the saving of buying cheap tickets warrant the risk of being stranded,” the association said in a statement.

NewLeaf fired back with its own statement to media, calling the Consumers’ Association of Canada statement as an opinion.

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“It is unclear why an organization, who again has never contacted NewLeaf to gain an understanding of the facts would choose and try to damage our reputation,” Julie Rempel, the NewLeaf director of marketing and communications, said in a statement.

Rempel said NewLeaf has flown 150,000 passengers since its launch six months ago, but does acknowledge it is a new company.

“As a young company, we have provided a product to customers that has filled a niche in the marketplace; we are learning, but we are growing, and we are overwhelmed with the positive support of Canadians,” the statement read.

Last month NewLeaf cancelled service to Arizona and Melbourne, Florida and had to refund tickets.

READ MORE: Discount company NewLeaf Travel says ‘sorry Alberta’ and cancels Arizona, Florida flights

The airline also faced backlash after dozens of passengers were left stranded on New Year’s Eve in Abbotsford. The passengers said NewLeaf did not help them with food or alternative travel arrangements.

RELATED: Discount travel company NewLeaf frustrates passengers stuck on New Year’s Eve

At the time NewLeaf said mechanical trouble on one of its planes grounded travellers headed to Calgary. Meantime, a flight to Edmonton was cancelled when the de-icing machine, owned and operated by the Abbotsford Airport, broke down.