A Kelowna man said nearly four weeks after his flight to Vegas was cancelled on Aug. 6, 2019, with short notice, he still hasn’t heard back from Swoop airlines. (File)

Kelowna man waiting for answers from Swoop a month after Vegas flight cancelled

A local entrepreneur had to take three flights after short-notice cancellation by no-frills airline

A Kelowna man said Monday’s debacle with Swoop airline is not the first time a flight has been cancelled leaving passengers scrambling. In fact, he said it’s not even the first time this month.

Chris Hanlon, a self-employed IT consultant based in Kelowna, was scheduled to present at the BSidesLV conference in Las Vegas on Aug. 6, and Swoop’s direct flight to Vegas advertised for $98 was a pretty irresistible travel option.

Hanlon booked his flight with Kelowna’s newest low-fare airline and was set to take off on Aug. 4 at 2:35 p.m. But just 32 hours before his flight was scheduled to take off, Hanlon got an email saying his flight had been cancelled “due to unscheduled aircraft servicing.”

READ MORE: Passengers stranded in Kelowna in Swoop airline debacle could sue, expert says

Hanlon called the airline—after noticing the email around nine hours after it was received—and was put on hold for more than one hour. He was unsuccessful in connecting with a customer service agent. The office had closed.

He tried calling again on Monday, Aug. 5 but learned customer service wasn’t taking calls due to the holiday.

Nearly four weeks later, Hanlon still has yet to hear back from Swoop.

Instead of the two-hour direct flight, Hanlon had originally signed up for, he had to take three planes to get to his destination. He flew out of the Kelowna International Airport via Alaska Airlines to Seattle—Seattle to Los Angeles—Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

In total, it cost Hanlon seven hours and around $400.

But, he did make it to the hacking conference to host his workshop.

“I would like to see Swoop phone or text people when there is a cancelled flight so there are a few options,” he said. “And maybe, if there is a cancelled flight, maybe it would be a good time to have someone work some overtime to have people rescheduled on another flight.”

As a WestJet subsidiary, Hanlon said he wonders why passengers couldn’t be put on one of the many WestJet planes after the flight was cancelled.

Hanlon said he continues to email the airline in hopes to have his ticket reimbursed.

“I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt,” he said. “Maybe they’ll learn from these experiences.”

“It’s hard to plan for everything when you’re starting out,” he said about the newly introduced airline.

Hanlon added he would most likely try his luck again with the airline as it is Kelowna’s only direct flight option to the city that never sleeps, but he would be less likely to if another carrier offers a direct route.

“I haven’t heard of any other airlines where they just drop multiple flights,” he said.

On Monday, Aug. 26, Winnipeg-bound travellers were informed their flight on Swoop had been cancelled due to “unscheduled maintenance” and passengers were left stranded. Some were told the soonest they could be put on another flight was Sept. 2.

Swoop president Steven Greenway said the cancelled flight was rescheduled to take off on Thursday, Aug. 29.

“On behalf of Swoop, I would like to sincerely apologize for any inconvenience our impacted travellers have experienced due to the unscheduled maintenance to one of our aircraft,” Greenway said.

Kelowna Capital News has reached out to Swoop regarding this specific incident and has yet to receive comment.

READ MORE: Swoop hit by ongoing way of flight cancellations as passengers vent frustration


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@kelownacapnews.com

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