Tag: Edmonton YEG

Swoop Expands Edmonton Network with New Service to Puerto Vallarta

Provided by Swoop/CNW

Travellers can head to warmer destinations this winter as Swoop inaugurates the first of four new routes with service to Mexico

CALGARY, Oct. 18, 2019 /CNW/ – This weekend, Swoop, Canada’s ultra-low-fare airline and subsidiary of WestJet Airlines Inc., takes-off with its new service from Edmonton International Airport (YEG) to Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR). Swoop’s first direct flight to Puerto Vallarta on October 19 at 5:35 AM MDT is the first of four new routes with service between Edmonton and Mexico to launch this winter.

“As winter draws closer, we are thrilled to offer Edmonton travellers an affordable way to escape to the sun,” said Steven Greenway, President, Swoop. “With the continued growth of our network, we are expanding our presence across North America, providing Canadians with more travel options at an affordable price.”

Swoop offers unbundled airfare, services and amenities to allow for travellers to customize their experience and book a getaway at a price that works for them. As one of Swoop’s major hubs, the ultra-low-cost-carrier currently operates eight domestic, transborder and international year-round and seasonal routes from Edmonton. Swoop’s new routes to Mexico include service to Cancun International Airport (CUN) launching on October 31, and service to Mazatlán International Airport (MZT) and Los Cabos Mexico International Airport (SJD) beginning November 2.

“Puerto Vallarta is one of Edmonton region travellers’ favourite sun destinations,” said Tom Ruth, Edmonton International Airport President and CEO. “The new Swoop flights provide great new scheduling options for our sun seeking vacation travellers.”

Flights are now available for booking through to April 23, 2020, offering weekly service to Puerto Vallarta on Saturdays.

To learn more about Swoop’s destinations, schedule and ultra-low-cost model visit FlySwoop.com or connect with Swoop on FacebookTwitterInstagram.

Sunwing partners with Swoop to offer customers even more travel options this winter

Provided by Swoop/CNW

TORONTO, Sept. 27, 2019 /CNW/ – Canadians looking for a tropical escape that’s easily accessible from their local airport have even more options to choose from this coming winter thanks to a new agreement between leading tour operator, Sunwing, and ultra-low-cost airline, Swoop.

Sunseekers departing from Hamilton, London, Abbotsford, Edmonton and Winnipeg can now book vacation packages with the tour operator that include a Swoop flight.  

Cancun, Mexico Aerial Photo (CNW Group/Swoop)
Cancun, Mexico Aerial Photo (CNW Group/Swoop)
Sunwing Logo | Learn more about Sunwing at Sunwing.ca (CNW Group/Swoop)

Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations for Sunwing, commented on the news, “Saving our customers time and money by providing convenient, direct flight services from their local airport has always been a key priority for us. Sunwing Airlines already offers flights to over 45 of the most popular sun destinations from over 30 departure airports coast to coast. With this new agreement, even more Canadians will be able to experience our top-rated resorts (including leading chains such as Royalton Luxury Resorts, RIU Hotels & Resorts, Planet Hollywood Hotels & Resorts) as part of a valued-added vacation package departing from their local airport.”

All Sunwing vacation packages with Swoop flights include one complimentary item of checked luggage, round-trip airport to hotel transfers, assistance from Sunwing Experiences representatives throughout, the option to benefit from savings by pre-purchasing Sunwing Experiences excursions at the time of booking and more.

“It’s a privilege to be entrusted with carrying Sunwing travellers onboard Swoop flights to our extensive network in Mexico,” said Steven Greenway, President, Swoop. “Partnering with a well-respected tour operator who shares our vision of making travel affordable and more accessible is a welcome opportunity for Canadians who want to travel more.”

Sunwing customers that take advantage of Swoop’s extensive network of flight services can now benefit from even greater access to some of Mexico’s most popular vacation destinations. A new departure airport now available as part of this agreement is Abbotsford, where travellers can take advantage of twice-weekly flights to Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta. The popular vacation destination of Cancun is now within easy reach for Sunwing customers in London if they choose to take advantage of the twice-weekly Swoop flight service as part of their vacation package.
Vacationers departing from Hamilton can now select from both Sunwing’s and Swoop’s regular flight services to Cancun – giving them the choice of four different departure days each week (including both Saturday and Sunday). Vacationers from Edmonton will enjoy additional weekend departure options to reach Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta. Finally, the addition of Swoop flight services from Winnipeg to Los Cabos has tripled the choice of departure days for customers travelling from the region, with new flights options departing Sundays and Wednesdays. 

For more information on Sunwing packages or to book, visit www.sunwing.ca or contact your travel agent.

Swoop Airlines Review – is it really cheaper?

News provided by Travel Off Path – link to full story

Swoop Airlines Review

KASHLEE KUCHERAN SEPTEMBER 26, 2019

Canadian’s have always gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to cheap air fare, but that finally might be changing!

Swoop Airlines is a new discount airline that has launched in selected (smaller) airports throughout Canada, and they are offering some sweet ticket prices.

Living in Kelowna, I don’t have a lot of choices when it comes to direct flights. I’ll be honest, YLW airport sucks in its offering of non-stop destinations. When I first moved to Kelowna we at least had a direct to San Francisco and Los Angeles, but they slowly fizzled out and left us with just a few direct options.

However, Swoop Airlines just moved in and they are offering a few direct flights that caught my eye! Winnipeg for $79 and Las Vegas for $99. Those are some INCREDIBLY low prices for direct flights out of Kelowna.

Swoop Kelowna

My brother Cody lives in Winnipeg, but I can’t say I’m regularly tempted to fly over to visit him. (Sorry bro!) A one-way flight on WestJet or Air Canada is usually $250-$450 and all flights have at least one stop-over. The moment I saw I could get to Winnipeg for $79, I booked the flight instantly! $450 is a hard sell for me, but $79 I can do!

Now here is where people get concerned with a low-cost airline. They start to worry about the maintenance of the planes, how uncomfortable it might be in-flight, or how many extra fees will get tacked on for bags, water, or even breathing.

I’ve got you covered. Here is everything I experienced during my recent flight on Swoop from Kelowna to Winnipeg on September 18th 2019.

Swoop Airlines Review

Swoop review canada

Is Swoop’s website easy to use?

The site is super easy to use and very straight forward. It looks like any other major airline website and wasn’t sneaky or hard to understand in anyway.

They allow you to choose a seat (paid) add carry-on or checked baggage (paid) or you can hold off to do that at check-in or at the airport. Just know, if you buy baggage or seats DURING your initial booking, it will be cheaper. But more on that later.

Does Swoop have hidden fees in the fare pricing?

Surprisingly, no.

The price advertised was $79 and that’s what it was at the end of the day. The airfare was actually only $48, then after taxes and fees, came out to a total of $79. Great! No surprises there! I was half expecting it to double in price by the time I had just run through taxes, fees, and weird hidden surcharges – but thankfully that never happened.

Booking flights on Swoop

Can you bring ANY type of luggage on Swoop for Free?

YES! They allow a free ‘personal item’ on board.

They classify this as something that can fit under the seat in front of you, like a small backpack, purse, laptop bag, or briefcase.

If you can pack a super smart bag, you could likely get away with just using this personal item allowance for a short trip.

Here are the official dimensions they allow for your personal item:
16” x 6” x 13” (41cm x 15cm x 33cm)

How much is CARRY-ON BAGGAGE with Swoop?

Now here is where you can start to rack up a bill with Swoop, but truth be told, it’s STILL cheaper than flying with Canada’s other two carriers, even if you buy all the add-ons. 

Carry-on baggage starts at $35.

I was visiting my brother in Winnipeg on my way down south for the winter. Since I had to carry everything I needed for 6 months with me on this trip, I had no choice but to purchase BOTH the carry-on bag and the checked bag through Swoop. If I was just flying there for a weekend to see him, I could make it work with just the free personal item.

My carry-on bag from Kelowna to Winnipeg was $35 CAD.

Carry-on Baggage weight and size restrictions:

If you are considering buying a carry-on bag for a Swoop flight, know that it MUST fit within these dimensions: 21” x 9” x 15” (52cm x 23cm x 38cm).

But here is a fun tip – 
Swoop does NOT limit how much your carry-on bag can weigh.

Fees for carry-on bags on Swoop:

How much is a carry-on with swoop
Swoop Fees for carry-on bags

The cost for carry-on baggage will vary depending on two things:

  • If your flight is within Canada, or going to the states
  • If you purchase it at booking, or later on at check in or at the airport

You can buy a carry-on bag for as low as $35 as long as you do it at the time of booking.

Each moment that your flight draws closer it goes up in price. If 30 seconds after you book your flight you decide you want to buy a carry-on bag, it’s now $40. When you go to check-in for your flight 24 hours before departure, it’s now $45. If you wait until you reach the check-in counter at the airport, it’s now gone up to $50. The worst price is definitely if you wait until last minute until the gate, about to board your flight – here they will charge you a whopping $70 for your carry-on bag.

How much is CHECKED BAGGAGE with Swoop?

Checked baggage is around the same cost as carry-on baggage.
It starts at $35.

Checked Baggage weight and size restrictions:

Your checked baggage with Swoop can weigh 50lbs MAX

Maximum dimensions: 157 cm (62 in.) total combined dimension (length + width + height)

You obviously get a bigger dimension allowance, but be warned, they are STRICT about their 50lb maximum weight policy.

As I was in line at the check-in counter I saw them make a girl who was only 2lbs over take items out of her luggage.

I was sweating with nerves because I knew my checked bag was shoved full of stuff for the next 6 months of travel. I don’t have a scale at home, so I crossed my fingers and prayed I would be okay.

When I put my bag up on the scale at the counter it weighed 55.3lbs. DANG!

She gave me two options: I could either find 5.3 lbs of stuff to take out of my checked bag OR I could pay the $106 overweight fee. There was NO way I was paying $106 for 5lbs, so I dug out 2 sweaters and my leather jacket and put them on over my t-shirt. Yep, I felt like Chandler from friends. I was still 1.5 lbs overweight, so I had to take out some items and shove them into my already brimming carry-on.

I put my checked luggage back on the scale and low and behold it came in at EXACTLY 50.0lbs. Success! The check-in attendant told me it’s better to buy a 2nd checked bag for $50 at time of booking instead of the $106 over-weight charge for next time.

Fees for Checked Bags on Swoop:

How much are baggage fees with swoop
Checked baggage fees with Swoop

The cost for checked baggage will vary depending on two things:

  • If your flight is within Canada, or going to the states (states is $5 more)
  • If you purchase it at booking, or later on at check in or at the airport

Just like the carry-on baggage, the checked baggage is also on a sliding tier scale. You will get the lowest price ($35) for your checked bag at time of booking, and it will go up to $70 by the time you reach the gate.

How does Seat Selection work on Swoop?

Seat selection on swoop

FREE:
You will be automatically assigned a random seat upon check-in. This random selection is free, so if you are budget conscious, just roll the dice.

PAY:
To pick ANY seat on the plane ahead of time, even the worst one, it will cost you. Prices for seat selection at time of booking range from $10-$50, and if you wait until check in you will pay anywhere from $20-$70. (approx $10 more per seat if you wait.)

Since my TOTAL bill for a direct flight to Winnipeg was only $150, even after buying both a checked bag and a carry-on bag, I decided to really go all out and buy a seat in the emergency row. Of course, I waited until check-in so I could give Swoop some extra money.

emergency row on Swoop

The emergency row seat cost me $40 at check-in, 24 hours before the flight. The best part of buying this seat was that no one else on my flight decided it was worth the extra $40. I had the entire row to myself, including the row across the aisle. Most of the regular seats on the flight were full, which made it extra luxurious to have the entire area to myself.

Here is the pricing tier for seat selections on Swoop:

How much does it cost to select a seat on Swoop
Seat selection fees on Swoop

Are the seats really crowded on Swoop?

are seats crowded on swoop

Swoop says their normal seats give 74-76 cm of leg room (that’s 29-30 inches).

If we compare that to other flights heading to Winnipeg, WestJet has one flight with 76 cm and one with 79 cmAir Canada also ranges from 76 cm up to 81 cm depending on the type of aircraft.

So, if you’re on a Swoop flight with 76 cm in their ‘base’ seat, you might find the exact same leg room on certain WestJet and Air Canada flights also providing 76 cm. (Usually a Bombardier Dash-8).

If you fly a 737 or an a320 on WestJet or Air Canada, you’ll likely have 79 cm to 81cm, making them much roomier than Swoop.

Swoop seat

Now, I did fly in the emergency row which gave me lots of extra room. Swoop’s website says their ‘extra-pitch’ seats give 86 cm to 96 cm of legroom (34-38 inches). While I didn’t whip out my measuring tape to see exactly what mine was, it felt extremely spacious.

By the way, seats have a USB plug and 110v plug, which makes any small seat a little more comfortable.

plus on Swoop

Does Swoop charge for water?

You bet! And I’m cool with that. I would rather score a ticket for $79 and have to pay for my own water than pay $450 for the same flight that offers free water or pop. In reality, we should all be bringing empty re-usable bottles through security and filling them up for free at the many water fountains.

Does Swoop serve food and drinks?

Yes they do, of course for a fee. The prices are pretty decent considering they are on a flight.   

Drinks

  • Soft Drinks $1.99
  • Juice $2.49
  • Tea $2.99
  • Alkaline Water $3.29
  • Coffee $3.49
  • Spirits $5.99
  • Beer $6.99
  • Wine $7.99

Food/Snacks

  • Gummies $1.99
  • Biscotti $2.49
  • Brownies $2.99
  • Chocolate Bars $2.99
  • Pringles $2.99
  • Hummus and Lentil Crackers $4.49
  • Beef Jerky $4.49
  • Oatmeal $3.49
  • Mr. Noodles $3.49
  • Instant Pho $5.49
  • Snack Plate $6.99

You are allowed to bring your own water, pop, coffee and food on-board to consume if you don’t want to by airplane food. Most food you can bring through security but remember all drinks will have to be purchased post-security.

Swoop menu food
Swoop menu drinks

Is there Wi-Fi on Swoop?

YES!

There is Wi-Fi on Swoop flights, for a fee.

They don’t have the prices listed on their website and some forums say it’s based on the type/length of flight. Rates should be around $6.49/1 hour and $8.99/3 hours.

wifi on Swoop

My Personal Swoop Experience

Everything was really equal to flying with any other Canadian airline. Booking, checking in, etc was all pretty similar. If anything, the below observations are because I am looking at Swoop with a very critical “I’m going to write a review about you” eye.

Here are the small differences I noticed flying with Swoop:

• They are hardcore about the 50-pound maximum for checked baggage. Don’t expect to get any leniency with Swoop.

• Post security, at the gate, they seemed a little behind schedule and disoriented. They called for families and anyone needing additional time/assistance to come up first and then held them there for a good 15 minutes without processing any of them through. The plane was there, and it was empty, so I am not sure what caused the delay.

• The flight did depart slightly late, but just a few minutes

•I guess it was a different experience to be nickeled and dimed with each tiny detail of the trip, but I still enjoyed a much lower fare than I would have with the full-service competitors.

• Service levels were not as hands on because the flight attendants don’t come through offering free drinks and pretzels to everyone. You really only see them for the safety demo and if you elect to buy something.

• Were the seats less padded? I couldn’t help but notice my butt didn’t feel as cushioned, but that might be me imagining things. Also, I am kind of a high maintenance flyer and I am usually doing everything I can to find a lay-flat business class seat, so I might just be extremely spoiled and biased. Sorry I have no data to confirm my suspicions on this one.

Once on board I didn’t notice anything different about the actual flight itself. The plane looked and felt like every other 737 I’ve ever been on.
Sometimes I think people suspect flying with a budget airline means flying on a lower end plane, but they are really all the same metal tube in the sky. We took off and landed without any events, which is always a blessing. Once we touched down in Winnipeg the plane went right to the gangway and we departed within a few minutes. Baggage came quickly. The entire experience went well!

Where does Swoop Airlines Fly

Swoop is able to keep their prices super low by only flying out of secondary and smaller airports in Canada. The fees and taxes are lower, which helps keep ticket prices down.

However, they still fly to some major airports and top destinations!

International Swoop Destinations:

  • Las Vegas
  • Phoenix
  • Tampa
  • Orlando
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Los Cabos
  • Mazatlan
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Cancun
  • Montego Bay

Domestic Swoop Destinations:

  • Abbotsford
  • Kelowna
  • Edmonton
  • Winnipeg
  • London
  • Hamilton
  • Halifax
Where Swoop airlines flies

My Rating of Swoop Airlines

I would give my experience with Swoop an 8/10. (taking into consideration it’s a budget economy flight!)

I really didn’t have any kind of a negative experience at all, but of course the main reason for such a high score really boils down to price. I love a good deal, and when I can pair that with cutting my flight down from a 1-stop to a direct flight, even better!

Now that Swoop has a $99 flight from Kelowna direct to Las Vegas, I think that is a great way to get down to the US for cheap, even if Vegas isn’t my final destination. I’m looking forward to trying that service and seeing what it’s like.

Would I recommend Swoop?

I actually did today! My friends are looking to come and visit me in Mazatlan this winter and they can fly DIRECT from Abbotsford to Mazatlan for next to nothing. On WestJet their total cost for 2 round-trip tickets was going to be $1900 and with Swoop it will only be $800. 50% off!

WestJet compensates Edmonton couple $1,800 under new air passenger rights

Provided by CTV News – link to full story and updates

westjet
The tail of a WestJet plane is seen before the airline’s annual meeting in Calgary, Tuesday, May 3, 2016.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Mariam Matti, CTVNews.ca Staff with a report from CTV News’ Molly Thomas Published Sunday, September 22, 2019

An Edmonton couple who missed the first day of their honeymoon due to a WestJet flight change finally received compensation from the airline.

An Edmonton couple were forced to file a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) under the passenger bill of rights after they were denied boarding on a WestJet flight to their honeymoon destination in July.

Chelsea Williamson said she and her husband were checked in to their flight and at the gate when WestJet informed the couple an aircraft change would mean they could not get on their original flight to Italy. They were placed on another flight hours later and missed the first day of their honeymoon.

After several weeks of back and forth with the airline, the newlyweds were offered WestJet travel vouchers.

Under the Air Passenger Protection Regulations, passengers who are denied boarding are entitled to $900 for a delay less than six hours.

Williamson ended up filling an official complaint with the CTA.

“If the airlines weren’t following the rules with us, does that mean they aren’t following the rules with other people?” she told CTV News Edmonton.

WestJet offered the couple $900 each in compensation along with an apology.

“Guest care is central to our brand and fundamental to our business and following an internal investigation, we recognized that we failed to meet our obligations to these guests,” the company said in a statement. WestJet added that a tight timeline to implement the new regulations has been a challenge.

“By WestJet coming forward and saying we were denied boarding, it may set some precedent,” Williamson said.

On Aug. 16, the CTA launched an inquiry to “examine whether the terms of WestJet’s dealing with schedule changes and irregularities are just and reasonable, taking into account the requirement for airlines to respect the minimum obligations towards passengers set out in the Air Passenger Protection Regulations,” according to their website.

The agency has received 1,770 complaints in a two-month period, including passengers who have been denied boarding or had luggage problems. In 2018, the CTA received about 1,000 complaints in the same time period.

Gabor Lukacs, air passenger rights advocate, warns that not every passenger will receive compensation for their complaint.

“In no way should passengers conclude that this means the new rules are working. They are not,” he told CTV News. “This case is a victory of the court of public opinion and of public pressure.”

‘Doing very well’: A look into the growing cargo business at Edmonton International Airport

News provided by Global News – link to full story and updates

20 September 2019, By Margeaux Maron, Community Reporter  Global News

For more than four years, a KLM flight direct from Amsterdam has been bringing precious goods to and from Edmonton.

Passengers, of course, in addition to the all-important cargo.

“Cargo has a huge impact to the economy — more than a passenger flight does,” said Myron Keehn, vice-president of air service and commercial development at Edmonton International Airport.

“Cargo can make a difference between a passenger flight making sense or not, because a lot moves in the belly of an aircraft.”

The better the cargo business, the more likely routes like KLM’s stay in Edmonton.

“Cargo volumes in Edmonton are doing very well,” said Keehn. “We’re up almost five per cent year-over-year in a world economy that has about a six per cent decline in cargo.”

As Edmontonians arrive home, a flyover of the southeast corner of EIA shows a significant change from the canola fields that stood there five years ago.

The new Rosenau Acropolis and Air Canada Cargo warehouses offer up several hundred thousand square feet of expanded cargo facilities, while a new Shell fueling station increases service capacity to cargo aircraft.

Nestled in the heart of the cargo village is BBE Expediting.

“We moved into this facility at the end of 2014, which doubled our footprint in Edmonton,” said president Heather Stewart. “When we moved in, we didn’t think we’d have enough volume to fit it and every day it’s full.”

Cargo traffic at EIA has grown 18 per cent over the past decade, according to the airport authority.

Though Statistics Canada shows all Edmonton exports hitting a five-year low in 2016, they’ve been steadily increasing ever since.

“When products are moving, generally it’s a good sign the economy is moving as well,” said Stewart.

A strong 2019 is expected, with inbound and outbound cargo volume growth of nearly five per cent over the past 12 months at EIA.

BBE has expanded its online freight services to keep up with the growth of multi-modal transportation in Canada, especially to the north.

They’ve also ensured their cold storage capabilities can meet demand. Some of the best growth lately has been in the areas of food and pharmaceuticals.

“We’ve been trying to build up our resources and scale accordingly so it’s been really exciting,” said Stewart.

The airport is in the process of becoming the only Canadian airport with the International Air Transport Association’s certificate for Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV), otherwise known as the international gold standard for pharmaceutical air shipping.

Keehn says this move helps position Edmonton as the northern leader in cold-chain and pharmaceutical shipping.

“Transportation is so vital to our economy, such a large piece of our economy and we as the airport like to play our small part to help grow that,” said Keehn.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Updated: Swoop emergency landing in Abbotsford

News provided by The Abbotsford News – link to full story and updates – with a hint from P.N.

Passenger jet makes emergency landing in Abbotsford after hitting birds

737 aircraft hit flock of birds shortly after takeoff

Patrick Penner, 10 September 2019

A 737 aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing at Abbotsford International Airport Tuesday morning after hitting a flock of birds shortly after takeoff.

Flight number 312 departed from Abbotsford at 8:07 a.m. and was headed for Edmonton under Swoop airlines. It was carrying over 100 people.

People around the city reported hearing a loud boom in the skies and one witness said she saw flames coming out of one of the engines. One passenger reported a burning smell filling the cabin, which the pilot then reported was the result of the birds combusting.

“It’s not in my memory the last time an aircraft landed here due to an emergency tied to a bird-strike,” said the airport’s general manager, Parm Sidhu.

Police cordoned off the area as emergency crews headed to the scene prior to the plane landing.

It without further incident and passengers were escorted to the terminal to await another flight shortly after.

Flair Airlines Reports 92% Load Factor for Summer 2019

Provided by Flair Airlines/Globe Newswire

Edmonton, Alberta, Sept. 05, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Flair Airlines, Canada’s only truly independent low cost airline, is pleased to report an average passenger load factor of 92% for July & August 2019. 

“We are delighted with the rapidly growing number of Canadians who have flocked to Flair this summer” said CEO Jim Scott. He continued ,“After only one year as an exclusively scheduled carrier we have established Flair as the place to go for low fares, great service and are already recognizing many return customers.”

During the summer, Edmonton-based Flair flew from Vancouver, Abbotsford, Kelowna, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto and Halifax. Flair successfully initiated daily non-stop service between Toronto (YYZ) and Vancouver as well as between Toronto and Calgary.

Over the last few months, as part of it’s fleet renewal program, Flair has added three newer Boeing 737-800NG aircraft and is gradually phasing out it’s older B737-400’s. All three additions sport Flair’s distinctive new livery and logo.

By next summer Flair plans to be operating a single-type fleet of B737-800 NG‘s, which are more fuel efficient and also have longer range capabilities. Flair’s unified fleet will open up a number of exciting southern destinations offered at accessible rates.

While Flair’s year-to-date on-time performance has been one of the best in Canada, the younger aircraft should serve to make it even better.

Meet the honeymooners who became the test case for new airline passenger rules

News provided by TheRecord.com – link to full story and updates

When Chelsea Williamson and Sean Fitzpatrick’s honeymoon was delayed by a flight change, WestJet offered them less than what they were entitled to under new air passenger protection regulations.

25 August 2019 By Rosa Saba, Star Calgary

Chelsea-Williamson_2
Chelsea Williamson and her husband, Sean Fitzpatrick. – Provided

When Edmonton couple Chelsea Williamson and Sean Fitzpatrick’s honeymoon was delayed by a flight change, WestJet offered them $125 WestJet dollars each — less than what they were entitled to under new air passenger protection regulations. Williamson complained to the Canadian Transportation Agency, which has since launched an investigation. – Chelsea Williamson photo

lukacs
Airline passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs says new regulations leave much more room for airlines to take advantage of customers and deny them the compensation he feels they deserve. – Andrew Vaughan , The Canadian Press file photo

CALGARY—On July 22, newlyweds Chelsea Williamson and Sean Fitzpatrick arrived at the airport, excited to kick off their honeymoon in Europe with a flight to Venice.

The Edmonton couple checked into their flight online at around 4 p.m. the day before. They arrived at the airport the next morning, went through security and made it to their gate, only to be told they were no longer on the plane, Williamson said in an email.

Sometime after they checked in, their aircraft was changed to a smaller plane and the couple was told by a WestJet agent that they had been moved onto a new flight that would leave five hours later. The agent told them they should have been notified of the change by Air Miles, which they used to book the flight.

Williamson said she received no notification from Air Miles and when she contacted them, they told her that they had not been notified of the change by WestJet.

According to an Air Miles spokesperson, after a passenger has checked in, it is the airline’s responsibility to notify them of any schedule changes.

Williamson reached out to WestJet customer service via Twitter direct message, where she was told the flight change was due to overselling of tickets by Delta, WestJet’s partner airline.

She said WestJet called it a “schedule change,” and offered her and Fitzpatrick $125 WestJet dollars each. But something didn’t feel right, so Williamson checked the WestJet website and found that schedule changes within the three-day period before a flight are considered delays or cancellations.

Since the plane the couple was supposed to be on was not delayed or cancelled, Williamson felt this was a case of denied boarding, which would merit much more than $125 WestJet dollars per person. Under the new regulations that came into effect just a week before their flight, compensation for denied boarding is between $900 and $2,400, depending on the hours delayed.

“If they are attempting to do this with me, I can only imagine how many people they are also doing this to,” Williamson said in the email.

She complained to the Canadian Transportation Agency. On Aug. 16, the CTA announced it is launching a federal investigation into the incident.

In an email, WestJet media relations said the company cannot comment on the ongoing investigation. They said they were committed to their customers “even when things do not go according to plan” and continued to work with the CTA to implement the new regulations.

But airline passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs said spats like this over the definition of denied boarding could be the new norm.

In February, the Air Passenger Rights organization, headed by Lukacs, sent a 52-page report to the Canadian Transportation Agency outlining its concerns and recommendations regarding the new air passenger protection regulations, some of which came into effect July 15, 2019. The rest of the regulations come into force at the end of the year.

The advocacy group said it had two major concerns with the regulations. The first is the length of time passengers can be kept on the tarmac. This was extended from 90 minutes to more than three hours, said Lukacs. The second is the term “denied boarding,” a rule Lukacs says has been made stricter to the point where airlines can weasel their way out of compensation in pretty much any scenario.

That’s what Lukacs says is happening right now to Williamson, a situation he calls a “disgrace.”

“It took us one week to prove that we were right about this. I’m very sad, because it was so predictable,” said Lukacs.

Lukacs said that during the public and stakeholder engagement regarding the regulations, all he and his organization asked was that the current standards be upheld.

Instead, he said the new regulations leave much more room for airlines to take advantage of customers and deny them the compensation he feels they deserve.

“It’s not like we were asking for the sky.”

Air Canada media relations directed Star Calgary to a webpage outlining the airline’s tariff policies concerning denied boarding and damaged or lost luggage under the new regulations.

So, what changed on July 15 for airline passengers, and what is yet to come?

According to an overview of the new regulations posted to the Canadian Transportation Agency’s website, the regulations apply to all flights to, from and within Canada. On July 15, regulations concerning general communication, flight delays and cancellations, denial of boarding, accessibility, tarmac delays, lost or damaged baggage and transportation of musical instruments came into effect.

Airlines are required to provide passengers with proper treatment during tarmac delays, including food, water and the ability to contact others outside the airplane. The maximum tarmac delay before an aircraft must allow passengers to disembark is three hours, with an additional 45 minutes if it is likely the plane will depart during that time.

The new regulations also set a concise definition of denied boarding: when a passenger has a valid ticket for a flight, but cannot board because there are more passengers than seats.

Airlines are required to provide compensation to passengers denied boarding at the time the denial occurs, and must rebook them free of charge.

On Dec. 15, the rest of the regulations will come into effect. These include compensation for delays and cancellations, standards of treatment for disrupted flights and seating of children.

Delays or cancellations within the airline’s control that are unrelated to safety could result in compensation between $400 and $1,000 for large airlines, or $125 and $500 for small airlines.

On the Air Passenger Rights Facebook page, passengers on flights around the world post daily asking Lukacs and others for advice regarding baggage claims, compensation and more. Several passengers have posted about situations similar to Williamson’s: where passengers say they have been offered a small amount of compensation, usually a discount on an upcoming flight or a voucher. Lukacs said they’re owed much more.

“The passengers in those cases are entitled to compensation,” he said. “The airlines are just trying to brush them off and mislead them that they are only owed a small amount.

Rosa Saba is a reporter/photographer with Star Calgary.

Summer airport crowds prompt recommendation to arrive earlier for flights

News provided by CBC News – link to full story

Edmonton – August is the airport’s busiest month of the year

CBC News · Posted: Aug 04, 2019

August is the busiest month of the year at the Edmonton International Airport. (Tom Arban)

Travellers embarking on summer vacations should arrive at Edmonton International Airport an extra hour early in August, airport officials say. 

Passengers should tack on the extra hour for both domestic and international flights, communications and passenger experience vice president Traci Bednard told CBC. That means arriving two hours prior to a domestic flight, and three hours before an international flight. 

“August is actually the busiest month of the year for us,” Bednard said.

Over 800,000 passengers travelled through Edmonton International in August 2018. July was the next busiest month, with over 700,000 passengers. Bednard said Christmas and winter break can also see volumes spike, but August takes the prize for busiest overall time of year.

“It’s also a month where we see a lot of leisure travel, vacation travel, so, you know, folks that might not be as familiar with using the airport,” she said. 

Bednard said recent updates to security procedures may help ease wait-times, but she recommends travellers take extra time and avoid risking getting stressed out about making it to the gate on time.

Calgary International Airport also recommends showing up earlier than than normal during peak summer travel times, but that airport advises 30 to 45 extra minutes should be adequate. 

Nearly eight million passengers travelled through Edmonton’s airport in 2018. 

More flights, more often with WestJet’s winter schedule

Provided by WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership/CNW

Frequency increases to popular domestic, transborder and international destinations from airline’s hubs in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto

Seasonal service to Paris and Nashville from Calgary resumes early in March 2020

CALGARY, July 22, 2019 /CNW/ – As part of its 2019/2020 seasonal winter schedule, today WestJet announced increased frequency and improved connectivity from its hubs to more destinations across its network.

WestJet Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner photographed on March 5, 2018 by Chad Slattery from Wolfe Air Learjet 25. (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)
WestJet Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner photographed on March 5, 2018 by Chad Slattery from Wolfe Air Learjet 25. (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)

WestJet’s seasonal schedule for winter 2019/2020 features more flights from Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto to domestic, transborder, international and sun destinations and includes WestJet’s seasonal service to both Paris and Nashville from Calgary, commencing earlier than past years on March 12 (Paris) and March 16 (Nashville). WestJet’s popular daily summer seasonal service between Calgary and Portland (PDX) will also extend through winter. 

“By executing on our hub strategy, we’re improving schedules not only for guests in Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto, but also building thousands of new connections for guests across the country,” said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “This winter Canadians have more flights and better access to popular leisure and business destinations and will benefit from schedule improvements, frequency increases and improved connectivity across our growing global network.”

For winter, WestJet’s 787-9 Dreamliner will also fly between Calgary and Maui and as previously announced, the airline’s new weekly non-stop service between Victoria International Airport (YYJ) and Los Cabos Mexico International Airport (SJD) begins November 5, 2019 and service between Calgary and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ) commences on December 14, 2019.

Highlights of WestJet’s 2019/2020 winter schedule include:

  • Calgary-Halifax, from seven times weekly to 10 times weekly
  • Calgary-London, Gatwick, from three times weekly to four times weekly flights
  • Calgary-Fort Lauderdale, from once weekly to twice weekly
  • Calgary-Honolulu, from two times weekly to three times weekly
  • Calgary-Varadero, from once weekly to twice weekly
  • Calgary-Paris, seasonal service beginning March 12, 2020
  • Calgary-Nashville, seasonal service beginning March 16, 2020
  • Calgary-Portland, extension of daily summer route through winter
  • Calgary-Maui, 787 Dreamliner service
  • Vancouver-Winnipeg, from 13 times weekly to two daily flights
  • Vancouver-Orange County, from six times weekly to daily
  • Vancouver-San Jose del Cabo, from five times weekly to daily
  • Vancouver-Puerto Vallarta, from eight times weekly to nine times weekly
  • Vancouver-Huatulco, from once weekly to twice weekly
  • Vancouver-Cancun, from seven times weekly to nine times weekly
  • Toronto-Fort Myers, from 10 times weekly to 11 times weekly
  • Toronto-Aruba, from twice weekly to three times weekly
  • Toronto-Kingston, from three times weekly to four times weekly
  • Toronto-London, Gatwick, daily service offered on WestJet’s 787 Dreamliner
  • Ottawa-Fort Myers, from once weekly to twice weekly
  • Edmonton-Saskatoon, from 18 times weekly to 23 times weekly
  • Victoria- San Jose Del Cabo, new weekly service beginning November 5, 2019
  • Calgary-Punta Cana, new weekly service beginning December 14, 2019

For more information on new routes and increased frequencies in WestJet’s 2019/2020 winter schedule, please visit westjet.com/flight-schedules-new