Air Canada passengers scramble after flight moved to another airport
Ross McLaughlin and Sandra Hermiston , CTV Vancouver
Published Wednesday, July 5, 2017 6:00AM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 5, 2017 4:44PM PDT
Flight delays, cancellations and re-bookings can make air travel challenging at the best of times. But what about a change of airports? Some Air Canada passengers were left to scramble after finding out at the last minute their flight wasn’t leaving from the airport they thought it would.
Charlene MacInnis thought it would be easier to fly out of Abbotsford Airport when she booked a flight to Toronto, until she showed up.
"They completely cancelled the flight and rebooked it to Vancouver," she explained.
Yet when she logged into her Air Canada account online, her flight to Toronto still showed an Abbotsford departure.
“No message was sent to me. There was no confirmation sent about the change of flight and I think there’s going to be other people showing up at this airport for this flight that didn’t get notification just like I didn’t,” she said.
MacInnis was right. Clint Gamble also showed up to the airport for his flight.
"I showed up to Abbotsford and WestJet told me that the flight was cancelled," said Gumble.
Why did WestJet have to be the bearer of bad news? “Because nobody from Air Canada was there,” Gamble explained.
Gamble had to rush from Abbotsford to Vancouver International Airport, more than an hour’s drive away, to catch another flight to Toronto.
"There was no notification, no phone call, no text message, no email, nothing. And every person I talked to played stupid," he said.
Flight Centre travel expert Richard Job says he’s never come across a situation like this before.
"It's very unusual that we find an aircraft not operating to an airport and for the flight to be moved to somewhere else completely different," said Job, "Normally when there's a change of any sort there's notification sent by the airline."
In a statement to CTV News, Air Canada apologized, "Clearly our notification process did not work as it should have to reach all customers and we're still looking into why that occurred."
Air Canada had been offering daily summer service from Abbotsford to Toronto but at the end of May re-assessed its flight loads and cancelled Thursday and Friday flights. Anyone who pre-booked flights prior to the change would be affected and could possibly be caught off guard if they don’t get notification.
The airline says it's working to alert other passengers about the summer cancellations and is offering taxi service to YVR for anyone else who shows up to find their flight moved to Vancouver.
But no one from Air Canada was around to assist MacInnis and Gamble and they had to find their own way to YVR.
MacInnis says an email notification about the airport changes was eventually received, less than three hours before the flight was to take off from YVR.