Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Flair Apologizes after Calling RCMP on Passengers Following 12-Hour Flight Delay

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Flair Apologizes after Calling RCMP on Passengers Following 12-Hour Flight Delay

Article excerpt

Flair sorry after calling cops on passengers

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Flair Airlines has apologized for a situation at Vancouver International Airport that saw a pilot call the police to deal with frustrated passengers at the gate, some of whom had been waiting 14 hours before their flight was cancelled.

The Flair flight, scheduled to depart at noon on Tuesday, was delayed repeatedly due to maintenance issues before being cancelled at about midnight.

RCMP officers arrived at the gate after 11 p.m. and explained re-booking and accommodation options to passengers, according to the RCMP and a Flair customer who filmed part of the encounter.

Caroline Tess, who posted the video to Facebook, was critical of the use of police to communicate airline policies to passengers and says that while some passengers were rude to airline staff at the gate desk, none of them posed a threat.

"Of course people are upset, but I would never use the word aggressive or say that they were a danger or anything," Tess said in an interview. "One lady missed her brother's funeral. Another had missed a court appearance. They were just really distraught."

The RCMP, which has officers at the airport around the clock, said it was responding to a disturbance call at the gate. Several officers listened to passengers' concerns and "offered the information they had and some advice," said RCMP spokeswoman Dawn Roberts.

A Flair pilot called the RCMP late Tuesday night, but he did not ask the officers to relay flight or hotel booking options, said Flair spokeswoman Julie Rempel.

"It's never happened before...They just decided to take control of the messaging and the information to make sure that everybody would remain calm," she said. "There was absolutely no request for them to deliver any customer service messaging of any sort.

"Did we do everything right? Probably not. But we absolutely acknowledge that and apologize for that," she said. …

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