REGINA - More airline chaos was reported this week as WestJet travellers from Calgary to Regina say they came home in a bus instead of on a jet.
Several passengers of a WestJet flight to Regina scheduled for Sunday took to social media to report that their WestJet flight was cancelled, and they were instead offered a roughly eight-hour ride from Calgary on a bus from the airport.
One passenger named Chris Henderson posted the message he received from WestJet. The message stated: “Due to unscheduled maintenance, we had to cancel one or more of the WestJet flights on the reservation below. We will be providing ground transportation from YYZ (Calgary) to YQR (Regina) to assist with alternate flight options.”
The message then requested that he present himself to Departure Door #1 near the WestJet check in, with the bus scheduled to depart at 4:30 p.m.
“Hahaha @WestJet , this is a joke right? Cancel my flight and offer me a bus ticket from Calgary to Regina? Really?!?” Henderson posted on Twitter.
Others posted pictures of the scene at Calgary airport. One passenger, Jeff Mathieson, posted a photo of the bus and stated: “This is what the new @WestJet planes look like. A 1 hour flight to Regina is now a 7.5hr bus ride. This is pathetic. Not only are we paying extreme prices for flights, now we don't even get to fly. #travel”
Others didn't hold back in posting their outrage on Twitter as well, indicating alternate flights were unavailable.
“@WestJet , my family paid 2400$ for round trip AIRFARE, and you are literally sending us home on a bus. I genuinely don't know whether to be mad or impressed at the audacity,” another passenger, Gilbert Proulx, stated. “PS. Your employees tried to tell us that the earliest flight from Calgary to Regina is in THREE DAYS!"
According to the Flightradar24 app, WestJet Flight 298 had been scheduled to depart Calgary on Sunday at 4:20 p.m. and arrive in Regina at 6:34 p.m. on a Boeing 737 MAX 8, but the flight was cancelled. Compounding matters, an earlier WestJet flight to Regina was also cancelled that day.
It is unclear what was the cause for the "unscheduled maintenance" that cancelled the 737 flight, but it is known that airports in British Columbia including Vancouver suffered serious disruptions on the weekend due to a major winter storm dumping snow on the province.
SASKTODAY.ca reached out to WestJet for a response, and in an email the airline reiterated that the flight was cancelled due to unscheduled maintenance. The airline also confirmed that the BC weather situation contributed to issues at the Calgary airport in rebooking WestJet's passengers to Regina onto other aircraft. The full statement from WestJet is below.
"We sincerely apologize to those guests who were impacted by the cancellation of WestJet flight WS298 yesterday from Calgary to Regina due to unscheduled aircraft maintenance. Unfortunately, reaccommodation options were limited due to the high demand for travel over the weekend and significant weather events across Vancouver and Vancouver Island which caused compounding operational impacts and limited aircraft availability. In order to best support impacted guests in reaching their destination as quickly as possible, ground transportation was arranged to provide an immediate travel option for those who were unable to wait for an alternative flight option.
"We appreciate the patience and understanding of our guests and apologize again for the disruption to their travel plans."