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Airline apologises to family for travel disruption

A WestJet plane

An airline apologised to a mother and her family after travel disruption meant she and her children arrived home 24 hours later than planned.

WestJet said Sara Landau could apply to be reimbursed for expenses incurred as a result of a missed connection.

She and her 11-year-old twins visited family in Bermuda and were scheduled to return home to Montreal, through Toronto, on March 19.

Ms Landau said she became aware the first flight would be delayed, which meant missing the connection, but the airline did not rebook the second leg of her journey, so she called the company.

She was told there was nothing available “in the near future” but that the family could fly from Toronto at 10.30pm the next night - 24 hours after the flight they would miss.

Ms Landau said she was advised that she could get information about overnight accommodation upon arrival.

She added: “It was a bit worrying, because I was travelling with the kids and the flight was due to get into Toronto quite late at that point, almost midnight.”

Ms Landau’s father, Robert, who built a house in Bermuda in 1967 and has enjoyed holidays on the island “ever since”, accompanied his daughter and grandchildren to the airport to help make sure arrangements were in place for when they landed.

He said: “We asked the lady at the check-in counter to check the bags through to Montreal.

“She [Sara] had a confirmed seat on the 10.30pm flight the next day, so I could not understand why she refused to do that.

“I asked her why and she wouldn’t answer me. So Sara was forced to take her bags off the flight in Toronto, take them to wherever she was going and then bring them back to the airport.”

Mr Landau said he asked to speak to someone more senior and, when he did so, found that the managerial person on duty was “not at all accommodating”.

He added: “She was quite flippant actually.”

Mr Landau, who said the woman advised she could only speak to his daughter because she was the customer travelling, told The Royal Gazette: “Normally if you have a flight cancelled or a delay where you miss a connection, the airline automatically puts you on priority wait-list for the first available connecting flight, she refused to do that.”

He added: “Then I asked her to send a message through to Toronto, telling them of these circumstances, she refused to do that.”

Ms Landau said passengers were told on arrival in the Canadian city that they would have an e-mail with information but hers had not arrived.

She explained that a staff member took her e-mail address to resend the information. “I guess they didn’t have it in the system to give us a hotel room,” she added.

When accommodation was arranged, it turned out to be some distance away.

Ms Landau said she waited about half an hour for a shuttle to transport the family and was supplied with meal vouchers – but the restaurant where they could be redeemed was closed.

She added that she paid for a late checkout the following day given the departure time of the flight to Montreal and even paid extra to keep the room until 8pm.

Ms Landau believed there was little support from WestJet.

Her father, who lives in Switzerland but has been in Bermuda on this visit since October, feared that the level of customer service experienced was detrimental to the island’s tourism industry.

A WestJet spokeswoman said last week: “We sincerely apologise to Ms Landau and her family for the delay of flight WS 2711.

“The flight delay between Bermuda and Toronto was due to unscheduled maintenance for safety, resulting in Ms Landau and her family missing their connecting flight from Toronto to Montreal.

“In alignment with WestJet policy, Ms Landau and her family were booked on the first available flight option between Toronto and Montreal and were provided with hotel accommodation and meal vouchers upon arrival in Toronto.”

She added: “We understand that the restaurants applicable to the meal vouchers were closed upon Ms Landau and family’s arrival in Toronto and that the guest was charged additional fees for requesting a late checkout at her hotel.

“We invite Ms Landau to submit a request for reimbursement for both of these expenses.

“We appreciate the patience and understanding of our guests and sincerely apologise again for the disruption to their travel plans.”

A spokeswoman for Skyport, the L F Wade International Airport operator, said last week: “At Skyport, we are always concerned to hear about any less than satisfactory experiences that passengers may encounter while travelling through L F Wade International Airport.

“We acknowledge that a wide array of airlines, companies, agencies, and individuals play a part in shaping the overall experiences of our passengers.

“In light of the situation involving Ms Landau and her family, we have reached out to our local airline partner to see what could have been done differently.”

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Published March 30, 2023 at 9:30 am (Updated March 30, 2023 at 9:30 am)

Airline apologises to family for travel disruption

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