WestJet passengers’ 1hr flight turned into 8hr bus ride

WestJet passengers 1hr flight turned into 8hr bus ride

A crowd of people in jackets line up in front of a large bus.WestJet passengers line up to board a bus travelling from Calgary to Regina on Feb. 26. 

Gilbert Proulx said he was in a state of disbelief when he glanced at his phone after landing in Calgary on Sunday afternoon. He, his wife, and two sons (9 and 6) had just returned from a trip to the Bahamas and were preparing to board their connecting flight to Regina. However, WestJet had sent a notification to Proulx informing him that due to unscheduled maintenance, their flight was cancelled and ground transportation would be provided for all passengers. Proulx, a teacher in Regina, said he was astonished at the lack of other accommodation options with the airline.

In an emailed statement, WestJet apologized for the disruption to passengers travel plans and explained that the situation was due to high demand for travel over the weekend and significant weather events across Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Proulx said that he and the other passengers were directed to meet at Gate 1 for 4:30 p.m. MT and he was impressed with the group‘s overall attitude. The bus trip, which took the family from Calgary to Regina, lasted 8 hours and arrived at 1 a.m. MT.

Chris Henderson, a musician from Regina, received the same email but instead of boarding the bus, he visited the customer service counter to try and book another flight. Since he was travelling alone, he was able to get the last seat on a WestJet flight to Regina on Monday morning. He will be attempting to get his hotel stay in Calgary reimbursed

Proulx is planning to follow up with WestJet to demand a full refund for his family‘s trip, citing that the bus ride was not what they had paid for. He was also disappointed with the airline‘s communication and said he would be hard pressed to book another flight with WestJet in the future.

“It was not what we had paid for,” he said. “I’m going to do what I can to make sure that we’re fairly compensated for, I mean, what in my opinion is a really unacceptable thing on an airline’s part.”

A family of four poses for a selfie on the bus.

Gilbert Proulx stated that his children, as well as numerous other people on the bus, handled the situation calmly.

The incident comes shortly after Air Canada cut service between Calgary and Regina and Calgary and Saskatoon, leaving Prairie travellers reliant on WestJet. The airline responded by adding one more daily flight between Calgary and Regina, amounting to as many as seven flights each day and three more daily flights between Calgary and Saskatoon, totalling up to nine direct flights a day.

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