Flair Airlines debacle

Alanna Kelly

A Vancouver resident is awaiting compensation after being stuck at Kelowna International Airport for more than eight hours.

A passenger named Marina expected to fly out of Kelowna with Flair Airlines at 1:35 p.m. on Sunday, but was left with no idea when she would be able to leave after the plane twice made an emergency landing.

The Boeing 737-400 landed back at YLW twice due to a safety interlock, which prevented the landing gear from retracting once in the air.

According to Marina, passengers were not given any information on when the plane would leave YLW.

After waiting eight hours, until 8 p.m., a representative from Air North approached the frustrated travellers and said it had flights available.

“I chose to do that so I could get home because there still wasn’t any details about when it would be taking off and I had to come to work Monday,” she said. "After waiting hours just to ask to re-book my flight, I was told that I could be reimbursed.”

Marina was assured by Flair she would receive a refund. She emailed the company to confirm once she got home Sunday night, but was surprised when a customer support representative told her she would not be receiving reimbursement because the plane did take off.

“Due to the nature of the delay, we do not offer financial compensation when the flight has been flown,” the company said in an email to Marina.

Castanet contacted a Flair representative, who now says the woman will be reimbursed. But the final outcome is still unclear, as Marina has been told yet again that no refund is coming. 

“I never would have purchased that ticket, and I am sure others would not have, if we hadn’t been told for sure that we would be reimbursed,” she said. “Not all of us can afford to pay this additional fee.”

She said she won't fly with a budget airline ever again. 

“Now I have paid over $300 for a terrible flight,” she said. “It was awful … they were incredibly understaffed and they told us people already left the office.”

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