Four friends from Toronto are dealing with Christmas chaos after their flight to Mexico was rescheduled last minute.
The group had been scheduled to fly out of the Region of Waterloo International Airport via Flair Airlines on Sunday, and arrive in Puerto Vallarta later in the day.
Marie Anthony says they chose to fly out of Waterloo Region to try and avoid the hustle of Pearson Airport on Christmas Eve.
“So it was scheduled at 7a.m., and when we arrived we got a message saying that the flight is delayed by one hour,” recalled Anthony. “Because of the weather conditions, the pilot wasn’t able to land in Kitchener airport yesterday so he went to Pearson Airport. “
According to Anthony, fog this morning caused another four hour delay.
“My friend laid down her beach towel on the floor, that’s when she slept. She was driving us and didn’t want us to be late. So we were rushing to the airport, we were on time, we got through security and then every single hour it said ‘delayed, delayed, delayed,’” explained Anthony.
When the plane finally arrived in Breslau, more bad news came.
“Finally the plane took off from Pearson Airport, came to Kitchener and now the pilot has a sign saying ‘there’s a maintenance issue,” she said. “The pilot said the maintenance issue is not fixed yet and that he already did his hours of duty by that point.”
“They said [the flight] is being rescheduled for tomorrow morning because we couldn’t get a pilot.”
Anthony added that this trip was something she had been looking forward to for some time now.
“I didn’t want to be in Toronto for Christmas and I gathered my friends because I was really depressed and wanted to go for some sunlight, and it’s not even happening,” she said.
The friends weren’t alone in their frustration, roughly 200 passengers were booked to travel on the Flair Airline flight.
“People are devastated, people are angry. Some people have already left the airport because they wanted some fresh air. I think people are annoyed,” said Anthony.
Other passengers say they’re disappointed and worried for some of the vulnerable passengers now left waiting over the holidays.
“Personally, we’re okay but we’ve heard from a lot of people here like Mexicans trying to go back for home for Christmas Eve,” said Anthony’s friend and fellow traveller, Sarah Chareuf. “A lot of people here have children and you can just see that they’re totally drained.”
“We’re in our thirties so we’re able to manage things better but it’s the families and older people and children that I’m concerned about,” added Chareuf.
In an email to CTV News, a spokesperson with Flair Airlines sent the following statement:
“We sincerely apologize to any customer affected by the cancellation experienced on today’s Flair flights F82430/2431. The flight was cancelled due to a mechanical issue that the Flair mechanical team is working to rectify. The Flair customer care team has reached out to affected customers to provide meal vouchers, accommodations and to assist in getting rebooked on a recovery flight leaving tomorrow, Monday, December 25. At Flair, our customers’ and crews’ safety is always our top priority.
In line with our commitment to customers’ safety and well-being, we are working to ensure that our customers are safely re-routed to their final destination.”