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WestJet passengers fuming after being 'abandoned' in Mexico

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WestJet passengers fuming after being 'abandoned' in Mexico

Members of an Ottawa family say they felt abandoned in downtown Cancun, Mexico, after their return flight was first delayed and then cancelled last weekend.
 

Some passengers left to own devices after Cancun-to-Ottawa flight cancelled

Robyn Miller · CBC News · Posted: Jan 08, 2019 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: 3 hours ago
 
David Cimpello said he will never fly WestJet again after he and his family were left on a dark street in downtown Cancun on Saturday. The airline says after the Cancun-to-Ottawa flight was cancelled, it offered accommodations, but due to an error by its 'booking partner,' some hotel rooms weren't available. (Robyn Miller/CBC )

Some WestJet passengers say they felt "abandoned" in downtown Cancun, Mexico, after their return flight was first delayed and then cancelled on the weekend.

David Cimpello, his wife and two teenagers were supposed to fly home to Ottawa on Saturday, but their flight was cancelled after sitting on the tarmac for more than four hours.

It's a situation that nobody should have been put in.- David Cimpello, WestJet passenger

They soon found themselves, along with more than 100 other stranded passengers, on a dark side street after a shuttle dropped them at a hotel that wasn't expecting them. 

"It's a situation that nobody should have been put in," said Cimpello from his home in Stittsville, Ont., a suburban community that's part of Ottawa, on Monday.

"I think it's shameful for WestJet that they allowed this to happen. I think it's shameful that the captain left, and left everybody there."

No food, little water

Cimpello said his family arrived at the Cancun airport at 10 a.m. Saturday to board Flight WS2841, but a mechanical issue kept the plane grounded for hours. 

He said passengers were offered no food and little water while they waited on the tarmac, and were finally told around 4:30 p.m. that the plane wouldn't be flying out that day.

David Cimpello says he'll never fly Westjet again after his family's flight from Cancun was delayed several hours and then cancelled. He says the airline then sent them by bus to a hotel that wasn't expecting them. 0:36

Cimpello said things got more confusing as frustrated passengers tried to get answers about what would happen next. 

Around 7:15 p.m., they were loaded onto shuttle buses to go to a hotel for the night. They were informed the transportation and accommodation would be covered by WestJet, Cimpello said.

But when they arrived at the City Express hotel in downtown Cancun, Cimpello said hotel staff were unaware the tourists were coming and asked for payment upfront.

Passengers flooded parking lot

"It's downtown Cancun, so it's not the tourist area that we're in. And a lot of passengers didn't have cellphones, they didn't have money, they had small children with them," Cimpello said.

"It was just very confusing, and you realized at that point that you had been abandoned by WestJet. The buses left and it was sort of that moment where [we realized] we're on our own here."

Betty Clarke was also there with her family, including two young grandchildren. She said WestJet should be ashamed for treating passengers that way.

She said her seven-year-old grandson was so scared when the buses left that he began getting sick.

"He started to cry and he was throwing up on the sidewalk. It was just a horrendous experience and literally I felt like we were a herd of cattle," Clarke said.

Both the Cimpello and Clarke families were able to hail taxis to take them to another hotel. They managed to get a flight home the following day.

"Technical issues happen with airplanes. It's everything that happened afterwards that really took this to a different level," Cimpello said. 

"I can tell you, I'll never step on a WestJet plane ever again. Like, there's no chance, in any situation. They've lost my business forever."

He said he and other passengers are considering legal action.

Statement from WestJet

In an emailed statement, WestJet told CBC that following the cancellation of the flight, all passengers were offered accommodation and transportation along with meal vouchers.

"Unfortunately, due to an error by our booking partner, some hotel rooms were not available once guests arrived at the properties, so some guests were forced to book accommodation elsewhere on their own," according to the statement.

The airline said it's in the process of contacting all passengers affected by this mistake to provide the appropriate reimbursement.

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I heard the crews did a great job during a bad day at work, 3 attempts to depart with anti skid inop, gate returns and maintenance.  Ultimate cancellation.  Those days just don’t get better.

When I’m a passenger and things like this happen, I hit Hotwire and grab a room, run for a cab.   The waiting in lines is killer.   Go, get some rest have something to eat, then call the airline when the dust settles.

Submit your receipts when you get home.

checklist complete.

 

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It's downtown Cancun, so it's not the tourist area that we're in. And a lot of passengers didn't have cellphones, they didn't have money, they had small children with them," Cimpello said.

 

I used to think only an idiot would go on a vacation to a foreign country and be in an airport ready to fly home and not have any money left  for the unexpected....but....

 Scuba 02 and I  were in an airport in Columbia awaiting our AT flight back to YYZ and back  then each passenger had to pay $30.00 to get out of the country and the funds were collected  just before security screening at the airport.. (note..... AT no longer does YYZ- ADZ-YYZ and the cost to exit is now included in your All Inclusive pkg..AT now doesYUL-ADZ-YUL)

Anyhow, a couple in their mid 50's were getting into a shouting match with the female exit fee collector as they stated they had no money and what were they supposed to do ?? The conversation was getting pretty hot so I interceded and said I would pay for the couple exit and the male passenger could pay me back  when we got to Canada.....Happiness ensued and I made a ton of "brownie points" with Scuba02.😊

The next step was the security check...the gentleman let his wife go first. She hauls her suitcase up on the stainless steel table and the Military soldier does a quick check of the contents and then points at the floor and the lady takes her suitcase off the table.  Now it is the gentleman's turn  and as he heads to table he turns back to me, with a smile on his face, and says in a less than quiet voice......

..""Well they didn't find the bomb so I guess we won't be delayed!"

I cringed and expected the worse but it seemed like the Military Inspector did not understand English and everyone was quickly processed.  In the departure  the lounge I took the gentleman aside and gave him a thorough briefing of what NOT to say while in the confines of  ANY airport. Of course he was trying to brush of his remark as a joke but I think he realized the gravity of such a statement when I finished "debriefing him...

Goes to prove....you never know how people  plan, think,  or will act on a vacation.. 

PS............ a few weeks later I received a $60.00 money order from the fellow from YYZ.😁

Edited by Kip Powick
speling

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3 hours ago, lvlchange said:

I heard the crews did a great job during a bad day at work, 3 attempts to depart with anti skid inop, gate returns and maintenance.  Ultimate cancellation.  Those days just don’t get better.

When I’m a passenger and things like this happen, I hit Hotwire and grab a room, run for a cab.   The waiting in lines is killer.   Go, get some rest have something to eat, then call the airline when the dust settles.

Submit your receipts when you get home.

checklist complete.

 

One thing many airline people forget is not all passengers are veterans of air travel or wealthy so you might want to find some sympathy for the less frequent flyers who help with your paycheque.

For a 10am departure most people would probably leave their resorts and hotels four hours prior. So after a long day sitting in the Cancun airport it’s not surprising to have a tired group not dealing well with the delay plan. 

 

Edited by blues deville
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Well stated. Everyone that commented here is a veteran travel, even more seasoned after years of standby. Many, many people rarely ever travel and even more don’t ever leave the country. 

It’s still a dropped ball by WJ as a customer service failure. Hotel had no idea they were coming despite being bussed there.

The customer even acknowledged that airplanes break and understood that. This guy’s not a complete idiot and has valid points.

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28 minutes ago, lvlchange said:

I should had also given the sympathetic part of my post.  I’ll keep it easy, WestJet screwed up.  

Either the press is concentrating on their mistakes and ignoring the other Canadian Airlines or …………………….   🙃

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Sunwing screws up, Westjet screws up, Air Canada screws up, Transat Screws up etc etc etc.  Only the screw ups make the press.  For every **bleep** of passenger there are 200,000 happy ones.  Airlines, ALL airlines get a bad rap but when you actually look at numbers, airlines do pretty good overall.

Remember only the unhappy vocalize.

 

Edited by boestar
because Apparently I can't spell

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So far all WestJet has done is to add to the demand for Passenger Rights.

Mind you they are not unique in that. Just take a look at the various complaints against the so called leisure carriers (Sunwing etc) but in this case WestJet can only be judged as would a Full Service Carrier (legacy) but if it had been their offshoot (Swoop) then perhaps …….. 

WestJet apologizes to passengers who were stranded in Cancun for 33 hours

WestJet Airlines Ltd. has announced it will launch an investigation after passengers spent an extra day and a half in Mexico over the weekend, many without the hotel rooms the airline had said would be made available following a cancelled international flight.

Investigation launched after about 135 passengers affected by cancelled flight

Christopher Reynolds · The Canadian Press · Posted: Jan 09, 2019 2:55 PM MT | Last Updated: an hour ago
 
WestJet Airlines Ltd. has announced it will launch an investigation after passengers spent an extra day and a half in Mexico over the weekend. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)
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WestJet Airlines Ltd. has announced it will launch an investigation after passengers spent an extra day and a half in Mexico over the weekend, many without the hotel rooms the airline had said would be made available following a cancelled international flight.

 

About 135 passengers bound for Ottawa found themselves stranded in Cancun Saturday after a pair of mechanical issues caused a four-hour flight delay and eventual cancellation.

 

WestJet said the plane was moving constantly during the hold-up on the tarmac, which prevented flight crews from offering more water and snacks.

 

"We do understand how this rolling delay followed by the cancellation was an extremely tough situation for guests to endure," WestJet said in a statement Wednesday.

 

After the cancellation, the airline told passengers they would be bused to hotels to spend the night without charge. Many of them wound up having to book their own accommodations, however, due to a lack of available rooms.

 

"WestJet sincerely apologizes to our guests who were impacted by the long delay and subsequent cancellation of flight 2841 from Cancun to Ottawa on Jan. 5. We recognize that this and the situation that followed was very stressful to all involved."

 

The Calgary-based airline said it will offer "appropriate reimbursement" for the hotel stays along with a "gesture of goodwill" in the form of store credit to be spent on any WestJet flight or vacation package.

Compensation changes on the way

 

In the future the airline may have to dole out even more. The Canadian Transportation Agency released draft regulations for public comment last month under the government's long-promised passenger bill of rights.

 

Air passengers who are bumped from overbooked flights or forced to sit through long delays could receive up to $2,400 in compensation, based on a sliding scale that sees larger airlines and longer delays trigger bigger compensation payments.

 

Payments to passengers whose flights are delayed would max out at $1,000 and cancellations at $2,400.

 

Aside from situations beyond their control, airlines could sometimes use loopholes to get off the hook for compensation — specifically mechanical issues that make it unsafe to fly.

Investigation launched after about 135 passengers affected by cancelled flight

Christopher Reynolds · The Canadian Press · Posted: Jan 09, 2019 2:55 PM MT | Last Updated: an hour ago
 
swoop-pilots-20180611.jpg
WestJet Airlines Ltd. has announced it will launch an investigation after passengers spent an extra day and a half in Mexico over the weekend. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)
0 comments

WestJet Airlines Ltd. has announced it will launch an investigation after passengers spent an extra day and a half in Mexico over the weekend, many without the hotel rooms the airline had said would be made available following a cancelled international flight.

 

About 135 passengers bound for Ottawa found themselves stranded in Cancun Saturday after a pair of mechanical issues caused a four-hour flight delay and eventual cancellation.

 

WestJet said the plane was moving constantly during the hold-up on the tarmac, which prevented flight crews from offering more water and snacks.

 

"We do understand how this rolling delay followed by the cancellation was an extremely tough situation for guests to endure," WestJet said in a statement Wednesday.

 

After the cancellation, the airline told passengers they would be bused to hotels to spend the night without charge. Many of them wound up having to book their own accommodations, however, due to a lack of available rooms.

 

"WestJet sincerely apologizes to our guests who were impacted by the long delay and subsequent cancellation of flight 2841 from Cancun to Ottawa on Jan. 5. We recognize that this and the situation that followed was very stressful to all involved."

 

The Calgary-based airline said it will offer "appropriate reimbursement" for the hotel stays along with a "gesture of goodwill" in the form of store credit to be spent on any WestJet flight or vacation package.

Compensation changes on the way

 

In the future the airline may have to dole out even more. The Canadian Transportation Agency released draft regulations for public comment last month under the government's long-promised passenger bill of rights.

 

Air passengers who are bumped from overbooked flights or forced to sit through long delays could receive up to $2,400 in compensation, based on a sliding scale that sees larger airlines and longer delays trigger bigger compensation payments.

 

Payments to passengers whose flights are delayed would max out at $1,000 and cancellations at $2,400.

 

Aside from situations beyond their control, airlines could sometimes use loopholes to get off the hook for compensation — specifically mechanical issues that make it unsafe to fly.

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Good for Westjet in addressing the issue. The report mentioned how tbe cabin crew could not do a service during the delay as the aircraft was moving frequently. However had these been prize race horses in the back in need of watering instead of people the aircraft would have stopped moving to complete the task.

Edited by blues deville

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