There was widespread disruptions to a wide swath of airline travellers this holiday season. We talked to former Elrose resident Janis Danino who was scheduled to catch a flight home from a resort in Mazatlan on the 23rd of December. She and her family spent Christmas in an airport, in negotiations, and in limbo. Their flight finally landed in Calgary at 2:30am on December 31st.
Sunwing made an announcement on December 29th, stating that they were ceasing operations at Saskatoon and Regina airports until February 3rd. In the same media release they said that they would be sending out dozens of recovery planes to bring home thousands of stranded passengers.
Ms. Danino said the communication from Sunwing to her was poor. Reflecting the media release they claimed to be behind schedule due to the weather. The vacation airline business then sent her an email stating that since the delay was caused by an act of God, she would not be eligible for compensation.
At this time there was no gang violence in Mexico. "I have a Facebook friend who lives in Mazatlan." said Danino. Who also felt that the coverage was made to look worse than it actually was. She recapped her story, "we were supposed to come home on the 23rd. Sunwing put us on a plane on the 30th and we arrived in Calgary at 2:30am with approximately 160 other stranded passengers. Some people rented cars to get back to Saskatoon or Regina. I booked a WestJet flight for 8:30am the next morning."
The Canadian Transport Agency has received over 30,000 complaints. There's a transportation committee digging into this further, and they invited reps from Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing Airlines, and Via Rail to testify as to what caused the chaotic holiday travel season.
Hanson says the compensation they were offered was $500/person, and that was per APPR regulations. She didn't accept it. Instead, she put in a more complete claim with all of her out of pocket expenses. The committee tasked with looking into this has determined that the widespread travel and airline disruption was necessary.