Dream vacation flight cancelled
Published Wednesday, March 2, 2011 6:03PM PST
David Stirling and his fiancé, Jessica, had been planning a dream wedding in sunny Mexico for a year.
"She's always wanted to get married in Mexico," he said.
"There's 30 people in total [going]. Ten people were flying out of Vancouver. We have people flying out of Calgary, Toronto and we've got people coming from Newfoundland and from Nunavut," he said.
Then the charter airline, Sunwing, cancelled David and Jessica's flight four weeks before the wedding.
Sunwing gave them a refund, but they had to rebook through another airline. They were looking at an additional bill of over $1,000 just for the two of them –- eight others going to the wedding were also affected.
CTV News contacted Sunwing to ask why this happened.
Sunwing's Director of Sales, Graeme Franklin responded in an email, saying Sunwing decided to end its Mazatlan departures from Vancouver for operational reasons.
"We regret that this decision caused inconvenience to our passengers," he wrote.
Franklin says the couple got "a full refund "and as a goodwill gesture, one complimentary one complimentary land-only passenger [hotel voucher] worth $568.
"We are unable to compensate Mr. Stirling and his group for any increased costs in his travel arrangements (i.e. Airfare) which was booked through another company," Franklin wrote
David says his travel agent helped get the extra compensation from Sunwing, but they are still out more than $600.
CTV News asked Consumer Protection BC if the law requires the airline to compensate you for additional costs caused by its business decision.
The answer is no.
"Airlines are allowed to change the dates and times of flights," Consumer Protection BC's Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith said.
And B.C.'s Travel Assurance Fund does not cover cases like this as the couple was given a refund.
"Something we might recommend is for consumers to take a look at their travel insurance and see what was covered there, and you may also want to check with your credit card provider to see if it might be a source of help as well," Chabeaux-Smith said.
If you're willing to accept a travel voucher you'll actually get more compensation -- usually at least double a cash offer. That's because airlines always have extra seats so it really doesn't cost them anything. Just make sure that it doesn't expire too quickly and that there are no other restrictions
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Chris Olsen