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NO WING, NO PRAYER: Sunwing travelers describe being dumped in Cancun

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Hundreds of passengers who’ve been stranded for days in Cancun were ready to spar with Sunwing on Boxing Day after some slept at the airport – and others had to fend for themselves to find a flight home.

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“Many folks are still stranded. Sunwing has stopped responding to us completely,” wrote Linda on Monday morning from Cancun.

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“Our travel agent contacted us yesterday to tell us Sunwing will not get us out and to not expect help from them — and to book with another airline. We’re trying to get out today via Air Transat.”

Videos on social media show passengers at the airport loudly chanting “Let’s go home!” as frustrations boiled over days after they were supposed to be home for Christmas.

One passenger said even the Mexican national guard was called in.

“I’m still stuck in Cancun still with no flight home. Getting help is near impossible here,” tweeted passenger Arlene Whiffin.

Many made alternative arrangements at their own expense.

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“I ran out of patience and could not let my wife and kids suffer any more or sleep at the airport,” Harshpreet Singh told The Toronto Sun.

“We booked a flight with another airline and came back home. There are still families stuck up there.”

Sunwing blamed severe weather, “which has limited our ability to move planes and crew to other airports, a number of northbound return flights continue to be impacted by delays,” an airline statement said.

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Its website told passengers their “flight is delayed due to uncontrollable operational requirements causing late arrival of your inbound aircraft and was outside the control of the carrier. Your flight is ineligible for delay compensation or a refund.”

Passenger Sohail Shahidnia returned home from Cancun at 7 p.m. on Christmas.

He has collected information from about 60 people considering legal action.

“Apparently this has been happening for the past three weeks. So it has nothing to do with the weather. It’s completely Sunwing related.”

A rights group said travellers should be compensated.

“If Sunwing is not offering passengers alternate transportation within a reasonable amount of time, passengers have every right to buy themselves a ticket and Sunwing would then have to pay for those tickets,” said Gabor Lukacs, president of Air Passenger Rights.

Moving baggage was also problematic into Monday afternoon.

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“Toronto travellers: we’ve been informed that the baggage belt in Terminal 3 at Toronto Airport is not operating due to a mechanical issue,” Sunwing tweeted.

“As a result, we can’t guarantee that customers’ checked baggage will accompany them on their southbound flights from Toronto.”

Pearson Airport countered, saying, “Terminal 3 baggage has been fully functional since 4:30 a.m. after a combination of cold machinery, delayed arrivals and departing flights caused backups on Christmas Day. We’re working with Sunwing operations to keep flights on schedule and reunite passengers with delayed bags.”

[email protected]
Twitter: @_ScottLaurie




Article content

Hundreds of passengers who’ve been stranded for days in Cancun were ready to spar with Sunwing on Boxing Day after some slept at the airport – and others had to fend for themselves to find a flight home.

Article content

“Many folks are still stranded. Sunwing has stopped responding to us completely,” wrote Linda on Monday morning from Cancun.

Article content

“Our travel agent contacted us yesterday to tell us Sunwing will not get us out and to not expect help from them — and to book with another airline. We’re trying to get out today via Air Transat.”

Videos on social media show passengers at the airport loudly chanting “Let’s go home!” as frustrations boiled over days after they were supposed to be home for Christmas.

One passenger said even the Mexican national guard was called in.

“I’m still stuck in Cancun still with no flight home. Getting help is near impossible here,” tweeted passenger Arlene Whiffin.

Many made alternative arrangements at their own expense.

Article content

“I ran out of patience and could not let my wife and kids suffer any more or sleep at the airport,” Harshpreet Singh told The Toronto Sun.

“We booked a flight with another airline and came back home. There are still families stuck up there.”

Sunwing blamed severe weather, “which has limited our ability to move planes and crew to other airports, a number of northbound return flights continue to be impacted by delays,” an airline statement said.

Recommended video

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Its website told passengers their “flight is delayed due to uncontrollable operational requirements causing late arrival of your inbound aircraft and was outside the control of the carrier. Your flight is ineligible for delay compensation or a refund.”

Passenger Sohail Shahidnia returned home from Cancun at 7 p.m. on Christmas.

He has collected information from about 60 people considering legal action.

“Apparently this has been happening for the past three weeks. So it has nothing to do with the weather. It’s completely Sunwing related.”

A rights group said travellers should be compensated.

“If Sunwing is not offering passengers alternate transportation within a reasonable amount of time, passengers have every right to buy themselves a ticket and Sunwing would then have to pay for those tickets,” said Gabor Lukacs, president of Air Passenger Rights.

Moving baggage was also problematic into Monday afternoon.

Article content

“Toronto travellers: we’ve been informed that the baggage belt in Terminal 3 at Toronto Airport is not operating due to a mechanical issue,” Sunwing tweeted.

“As a result, we can’t guarantee that customers’ checked baggage will accompany them on their southbound flights from Toronto.”

Pearson Airport countered, saying, “Terminal 3 baggage has been fully functional since 4:30 a.m. after a combination of cold machinery, delayed arrivals and departing flights caused backups on Christmas Day. We’re working with Sunwing operations to keep flights on schedule and reunite passengers with delayed bags.”

[email protected]
Twitter: @_ScottLaurie

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