Travel Horror Story
WestJet Stranded Us In Vancouver
Hello Lovelies and Happy 2023!
As you know, Brandon and I finally made our Christmas in Hawaii bucket list trip come true, and we started on our journey on December 21st, 2022. We were a bit worried about the first leg of air travel because the two days prior to our flight, Vancouver (YVR) had posted many cancelled and delayed flights, due to a winter storm, and that was our layover city. But, the weather cleared up, YVR seemed to have gotten things sorted, and our flight from Toronto (YYZ) to YVR took off and landed, without incident.
We then had a seven hour layover at YVR, in which we spent some time in an airport lounge. To call it a lounge though is quite liberal. It was more like a small cafe, that they had let too many people into. We’d honestly have been better off sitting at the gate or in an airport bar. But anyway… as the day wore on, our flight continued to show to be on time, and our fears were dissipating. And then it happened… very, very shortly before we were scheduled to start boarding it was announced that our flight was delayed due to our pilots being late. They assured us that we’d get boarded as soon as the pilots showed up, which they said would be as soon as their plane from Calgary landed. So, we weren’t too worried at this point.
Then it got delayed even further, cancelled, bumped back up to delayed again, and finally for sure cancelled. Gah! This was late at night and all the shops in our terminal had closed, and the airport hotel was fully booked. We were told we had to get our own hotel and that WestJet would reimburse us (Ah, but not the full amount!), and so that’s what we did. $419 later, and one lengthy shuttle ride to the hotel, and we were exhausted. So, we went to sleep.
We had been told we would get an email telling us what WestJet would be doing for us and to get some food vouchers. We got the food vouchers almost immediately, with no way of using them as the shops were closed. And we didn’t get another email from WestJet until 3:05am when they informed us that they could not get us on another flight and that all they could offer us was a refund of that portion of our trip. This basically stranded us in Vancouver. We could either book another flight to Honolulu (of which WestJet had several with many open seats so I’m not sure why they couldn’t just reaccomodate us on those flights) at the cost of just over $3,000 (more than what we paid for the entire RT flight to begin with) or we could get flights home (again at $3,000) and cancel our vacation and lose so much money on a non-refundable Airbnb. We were out an extra $3000 either way and even more if we chose to go home, so we booked a flight out to Honolulu that morning with WestJet. Thankfully, that flight went as planned.
In Spite of getting to our Airbnb a day late, we made the most of our tropical vacation. We decided to put on hold any conversations we’d have to have with WestJet until we got home, and vowed to make the most of the time we had there. The vacation itself was wonderful, and I’ll probably be posting about that in the coming weeks.
Our flights back to Toronto went as planned, and here we are, safely home. Trying to figure out how to get reimbursed for the extra out-of-pocket expenses we incurred due to our flight cancellation (Just over $3400). We’ve filled out the forms to receive reimbursement from WestJet, but it says it could take up to 30 days to get an answer. Meanwhile, we are reading all the accounts from others who have had their own WestJet horror stories to tell, and it is honestly not very comforting. There are tales of WestJet reimbursing (not fully) only one of the people in the party and denying the other, of them not reimbursing anything at all, of people having to open court cases against the airline, etc. I’m hopeful our story won’t end that way, but for now it’s just a waiting game.
Either way, it’s just wrong of WestJet or any other company to take your money for a service, not follow through with that service, and not expect to have to make it right. I can’t understand how that is even legal. It shouldn’t be.
I’ll let you guys know how its goes. Until then, I’m going to try to be positive and look forward to a new year with new beginnings and adventures. And not think about the thousand dollars of interest that is going to stacked on top of that credit card bill if they don’t reimburse us soon!
Until next time… be loving, be kind, be better!