All-inclusive trip departure delay leaves vacationers upset
February 29, 2016
Two Mount Uniacke couples say they will not fly Sunwing again after the
departure of their seven-day, all-inclusive trip to Cuba was delayed
without explanation, causing them to lose most of a day of their vacation.
"We would have had a full day on the beach and meals and what all is
included," said Brian Stephen, who is travelling with his wife and a
neighbouring couple to the southern destination.
The couples were notified two weeks before their scheduled departure
that their flight would not leave at 6 a.m. as scheduled, but instead
would depart almost 11 hours later at 4:55 p.m.
"We should have been there having lunch but now we're going to get to
our room at midnight so we're losing an entire day," said Danielle
Weickert, as she prepared to check in at Stanfield International Airport
in Halifax, adding it's very disappointing because they were given no
reason for the change in their departure time.
Stephen said they "paid good money" for the trip, which cost them
Departure changes possible
CBC News contacted Sunwing about the flight delay. In an email,
spokeswoman Rachel Goldrick said they try to avoid such schedule changes
as much as possible. She pointed out their terms and conditions state
"on occasion it is necessary to make schedule changes for operational
Sunwing's terms and conditions, which are eight pages long, says "all
flight times, airlines and type of aircraft, as well as itineraries are
subject to change with or without prior notice."
The document goes on to say "operational changes can occur which may
result in the need to reschedule or cancel flight" and
notes Sunwing does not accept responsibility for missed holiday time or
any other expenses.
Sunwing responded with 'blow-off letter'
Stephen emailed Sunwing saying this is the fourth time he has booked
trips with them where there has been some type of delay. He was told by
his travel agent that Sunwing offered a $50 voucher for future travel
but Stephen told Sunwing that was an insult.
"Contact Us Sunwing" emailed Stephen saying they understand his
frustration but flight changes are "periodically a necessary reality" in
The email went on to say that while flight schedules are arranged many
months in advance of departure dates, "due to various operational
factors, it may become necessary to make amendments to the schedules."
Stephen calls that a terrible way to reply to his concerns.
"Their response is basically a blow off letter," he said. "They're not
saying any reason why the delay. You don't get a delay two weeks in
Advocate urges legal action
Air passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs told CBC News in his opinion
the airline's terms and conditions don't apply because of the Montreal
Convention, an international treaty signed by Canada that governs
international air travel.
"They can put whatever conditions they want but they have no legal
effect under Article 26 of the Montreal Convention," he said.
"The Montreal Convention imposes a liability on the airline for damages
incurred by delay up to approximately $9,000 per passenger unless the
airline can show it has taken all necessary measures to prevent delay or
there were no such measures."
He's urging people whose international flights are delayed to take the
airlines to small claims court.
"Airlines will continue to do it and only stop if it's no longer
profitable," he said.
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