Cancun, Q. Roo — WestJet passengers hoping to head home to Ottawa spent an extra 33 hours in Mexico in what the airline admits was not its “shining moment.”
” … and we are sorry for what did transpire,” WestJet vice-president of marketing and communications Richard Bartrem told CTV Ottawa.
“Ordinarily we are good at this sort of thing. The unfortunate case this time around was that we weren’t.”
Flight 2841 was supposed to take off in Cancun Saturday morning.
After spending more than four hours on the tarmac, the roughly 150 passengers were told that they would not be flying out that day.
Passengers have complained that they were only offered a small snack and a glass of water during the tarmac delay. WestJet said it would have been unsafe to serve food because the plane was in constant motion during that time, preparing to take off. Then a mechanical issue was checked out, and then they repeated the process.
“We do understand how this rolling delay followed by the cancelation was an extremely tough situation for guests to endure,” the airline said in a statement.
Once the flight was canceled, passengers were told they would be bused to a hotel to spend the night. But for many, rooms were not available when they attempted to check in.
They ended up arranging their own accommodations for the night.
“We weren’t expected to be dumped by WestJet, and that’s what happened,” passenger Betty Clarke told CTV Ottawa.
WestJet said it will more than cover the passengers’ expenses. Passengers say the airline has offered a refund plus a $100 flight voucher.
Delays caused by emergency maintenance don’t qualify under federal sanctions.
Chris Spiteri, a lawyer who was on Flight 2841, says he’s setting up a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all the passengers.
“They abandoned a whole planeload of passengers in a parking lot,” he said Tuesday. “That’s a very different situation than just a delay.”