Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Weather happens, but customer service ...

Hamilton's airport isn't exactly a busy place. Although Westjet did run a lot of flights out of there for a while citing Toronto's massive landing fees, most flights eventually migrated to Pearson although there are still a few WJ planes every day from Munro. For the most part, the white elephant airport has been running on charter flights. The facility is known for very quick check-ins, easy security checks and being able to walk right up to the plane to fly.

Such wasn't the case Monday night when the first storm of the winter season kicked in. A Sunwing flight from the Dominican Republic made a stop in Hamilton before reaching Calgary. It got stuck on the tarmac for eight hours. The airline says the weather made it difficult to attach the ramp to the plane meaning passengers had no recourse. The situation was only resolved when someone called 911. They finally got to sleep at a nearby hotel before flying onward. As compensation, the airline is offering $150 a head.

Maybe it's me, but I was on a flight that was delayed for one hour because someone who checked baggage never showed up at the gate - which made sense. I can't imagine being on a plane that long - no food, no other attempts to comfort the passengers. Not to mention no ventilation.

Friendly skies this is not. I realize charter airlines have a different mandate than commercial operations, but one would still expect a level of service that is comfortable even during an emergency. Friends of mine have flown SW and have had no complaints - but I'd think twice the next time I'm headed to the Caribbean.

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