A Vancouver man says he'll never fly with a low-cost airline ever again following a recent cancellation of his flight to Arizona.
"I'll never book with Flair [Airlines] again and they've turned me off of all these ultra-low-cost airlines," explains the frustrated traveller.
Josh Rimer tells V.I.A. that he understood the extra costs and disadvantages of booking with an ultra-low-cost carrier -- such as paying for carry-on luggage or having less comfortable seating -- but he didn't anticipate how difficult it could be to re-book a flight if one got cancelled.
The local travel personality's original flight was scheduled to depart from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) on Wednesday, March 15 at 2:45 p.m. in the afternoon on a Flair Airlines flight to Phoenix International Airport (PHX). He was travelling for a family vacation and was scheduled to fly back a week later on the following Wednesday, March 22.
But his travel plans were cut short after Flair informed him that his flight was cancelled about an hour after his flight was scheduled to leave.
Rimer and other concerned air passengers had been watching other planes take off and didn't see their plane approaching the gate. When they asked Flair employees if the flight was running late, they were informed that the plane would be coming soon.
"There were absolutely no updates...no announcements or anything," he notes, adding that they were later told that the issue had something to do with birds.
Flair Airlines cancelled flights continue following aircraft seizure
After waiting upwards of an hour to get his luggage, Rimer went home to check his email and find out what his options were for re-booking a flight. However, the airline only provided him with two options: to get a refund for his original flight purchase or take the same flight departing a full week later on the date that he had a flight booked to return home.
While he could have taken the refund, all of the other available flight options cost upwards of $1,000 for a one-way ticket and had extremely long layovers.
Thankfully, Flair was able to find Rimer a seat on a flight departing on Friday, March 17 -- but he lost a couple of days of his seven-day family trip.
"Buyer beware," he said. "Anyone who has to be anywhere on time -- it's not worth it."
A spokesperson for Flair Airlines told V.I.A. that the flight to Vancouver "experienced a bird strike" and the pilots safely landed the plane but that there was damage to the wing.
While the airline will book passengers on the next available Flair Airlines flight, it "sincerely regrets the inconvenience to passengers."
Discount carrier Flair Airlines came under fire over the weekend after nearly 2,000 travellers were stranded in destinations across the country when their flights were cancelled at the eleventh hour following the seizure of four aircraft.
While the airline said it was communicating with passengers, many travellers said they spent days waiting for instructions and some of them re-booked their own flights. Many of them have also expressed uncertainty regarding whether or not they will receive compensation.