WestJet customers offered 7.5-hour bus ride to destination after flight cancelled

WestJet customers were rebooked on a 7.5-hour bus trip from Calgary to Regina after Sunday afternoon’s flight was cancelled.

Passengers said they were informed three hours before boarding that an hour-long flight between the two cities had been canceled and that they could reach their destination by “land transportation” arriving in Regina after midnight.

Farmer Jeff Matheson, who had just returned from a vacation in Mexico with his wife and two young children, unsuccessfully tried to rent a car before accepting a 750-kilometer bus trip.

“I was very shocked to hear that we would be returning to Regina by bus instead of by plane,” he said in a social media message, adding that the next available flight would be late Wednesday night.

Told to meet near the WestJet check-in counter at 4pm, the family did not board the bus until an hour later, arriving at their home in Saskatchewan shortly after 2am.

“I understand that you have reached your destination, but given the price you have to pay for your recent trip, you should expect a certain level of service.”

In an email, WestJet said it sincerely apologized to guests affected by the cancellation due to “unscheduled aircraft maintenance.”

“Unfortunately, due to high demand for weekend travel and severe weather events across Vancouver and Vancouver Island, re-accommodation options were limited. Limited availability,” airline spokeswoman Dennis Kenny said in an email. .

“Ground transportation has been arranged to provide an immediate travel option for those who could not wait for another flight option to do their best to ensure that affected guests reach their destination as soon as possible. I did.”

WestJet canceled 8% of its flights on Sunday and delayed almost half, according to tracking service FlightAware.

Returning from a gig, musician Chris Henderson ended up paying for a Calgary hotel after managing to rebook a flight the next day.

“The last four times I had to connect in Calgary, the connection failed and I had to stay overnight. “I did,” he said, admitting that some cancellations were with other airlines.

“If I’m paying for a steak, don’t give me a hot dog.”

After travel chaos last summer and winter holidays, Henderson said he always travels the day before a show for fear of delays or cancellations. He said he missed an alternative education opportunity in Regina.

Regarding the hotel, a guest services representative said he was told to turn in a receipt rather than stand in line to claim a hospitality voucher “because the gong show is on now” .

The shortage of available seats comes after Air Canada suspended services between Calgary and Regina and Calgary and Saskatoon, leaving Prairie travelers dependent on WestJet.

But WestJet announced last month that it would ramp up its service between Alberta’s largest city and Saskatchewan, starting February 16, adding one daily flight between Calgary and Regina, bringing the total to seven daily flights.

It also said it would add three more daily non-stop flights between Calgary and Saskatoon, bringing the total to nine non-stop daily flights.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on February 27, 2023.

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