Two B.C. women are looking for answers and are out hundreds of dollars after their Flair Airlines flight from Saskatoon to Vancouver was cancelled.
Jennifer Langley told Global News her travel nightmare began last Wednesday, when she and her family were set to fly home to Victoria after visiting family in Saskatoon.
The flight was cancelled just hours before they were set to take off, and she said they were stranded for three days until the next flight out.
Langley, travelling with her 18-month-old son, her four-year-old daughter and her mother, said she was put on hold for three hours to get a hotel voucher and ended up having to pay for a second room out of her own pocket.
“The wait times were hours and hours long to try and even get to an agent,” she said.
The first night, Flair provided vouchers for a hotel stay and food, but from there, Langley was told to call every morning to receive more.
The last hotel voucher was not valid, and her credit card was charged for both rooms on the third night.
“The food vouchers didn’t come in till around 6 p.m. that night, too. I had to obviously feed my children, so I went to buy them food. My 18-month-old didn’t get any food vouchers, he didn’t even get anything. He wasn’t even on the list for the hotel,” she said.
“The fact is, I was very lucky I had a credit card that I could pull from. But if I didn’t, I don’t know how I would have fed my kids and made sure they had a roof over their heads. It was unacceptable.”
She said she’s filed an expenses claim for roughly $728 and was told by Flair that the claim will take roughly 30 days to process.
As a plan B, she plans to file a complaint with the federal Air Passenger Protection program.
“If they would’ve cancelled the flight and given us the hotel and vouchers and all of that – that would’ve been one thing,” she said. “They shouldn’t get away with it.”
Krystle McGough was on the same flight and didn’t have cash or a credit card to cover costs of the cancellation.
She told Global News her parents had to send her money as she fought the airline for vouchers that also arrived late or not at all.
“It was very demeaning having to contact Flair every day — multiple times a day — to beg for my housing and my food,” said McGough.
“As somebody who has been in that situation before, when I found out I was stranded in the middle of nowhere, I thought I was going to end up on the streets.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the airline said it’s looking at the specifics of the flight and will contact its passengers directly.
But, according to the non-profit group Air Passenger Rights, if an airline cancels a flight, it must book affected passengers on another one within nine hours and compensate them.
If it doesn’t have that capacity, it must look to competitors.
“If the airline refuses to pay, then you take the airline to small claims court. My most important message to Canadians is this is not the time to be shy to take matters to court,” president Gabor Lukacs said.
It’s a move Langley is seriously considering, and she said it comes down to a matter of principle.
“I would rather spend the money – I don’t want Flair to have it at this point.”