Just One Story

Attribution to Thankyoubaby – Own work

Above is a picture of the Edmonton airport. I had the privilege of spending 15 hours there on Sunday December 18, before I went back home, after my flight was cancelled. This is just my story My story pales in comparison to the frustrating and even heartbreaking experiences of thousands of airline passengers over the holidays. In fact I consider myself extremely fortunate as to how my experience ended.

I live about 30 miles away from the airport and had an early flight to Kelowna. I decided to have a relaxed time and stayed at a hotel near the airport the night before All relaxed. Got to the airport at 7 in the morning Flight was at 9 Breezed through security. Had time for breakfast at the Canadian Brewhouse. Good breakfasts. Even had a coffee with Baileys. Went to the departure gate Flight delayed because of bad weather in Kelowna. No problem. Couple of hours and I will be on my way. It comes to 11 o’clock No plane. No idea when flight will leave. Call my daughter I will be late Still is ok. I watch my Lions beat the Jets on the cell phone. This is working good. Because if the flight had left as scheduled I would have missed the first half. Oh, and the World Cup final is on one of the Canadian Brewhouse tvs facing the passenger area Great. No sign of when flight is leaving. So, lunch at the Brewhouse Couple of beers.

New announcement. Flight is not leaving until 6 in the evening. My daughter tells me that the snow seems to be stopping in Kelowna. Hearing stories that a number of flights grounded in Vancouver which is affecting flights elsewhere. Also, flight staff shortages. Lot of staff calling in sick. World Cup final goes into overtime, then a shootout. Lions won. It is all good

Supper at the Brewhouse Ate too much already So just water and a salad. Had chicken in it Caesar salad. Whatever. It comes to 7 o’clock and still no plane. We do find out that the plane is in Calgary and once it arrives in Edmonton, then we will be able to leave. The plane does land at 8 but we are still not boarding Then at 9 o’clock, we hear that the flight is cancelled because the flight crew has exceeded their allotted hours of work. In the meantime, after my supper, I got a coupon for $15 dollars which I could use for a meal. Please hand the coupon with the meal.

Naturally, no one knew what was going on. The airport staff was also short staffed. No one knew where our luggage was It took me two hours to find my luggage I had a home to go to. Other out of town passengers found out that hotels were full. Got home after midnight I was out monies for a hotel taxis and meals. Got an email from the airline that they would contact me in the next 48 hours for a follow up flight On Monday decided to book with another airline, Flair. Caught a flight on Wednesday December 21. Got to spend a week and a half with family. The initial airline was unable to arrange a follow up flight. If I had depended on the initial airline, I would not have been able to go

I did get a refund for my flight from the initial airline but not a cent of compensation for the meals, taxis and hotel. The excuse for not receiving compensation was that weather caused the cancellation. Weather did cause the delay, but staff shortages was a major reason.

This is just one story. So many plans were ruined. Passengers stranded, here in Canada and elsewhere such as Mexico. There is air passenger protection legislation in place. But the legislation looks like it was drafted by the airlines themselves. There are currently hearings going on, looking into the Christmas travel chaos. The finger pointing is already going on. Airlines blaming airports and the airports doing the same. Will anything result from it I doubt it. In the meanwhile, though, I will keep my form email from the initial airline denying my compensation.

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