An Okanagan man is sharing his recent travel pain in the hopes of helping others avoid his fate.
Dustin Jackson booked flights to Las Vegas, his first vacation since the COVID-19 pandemic, for May 26.
What he didn’t do, was book his flights all with one airline.
Jackson booked flights on Flair Airlines from Kelowna to Edmonton and on Swoop from Edmonton to Las Vegas, but his plan fell apart when he received an email letting him know his flight to Edmonton had been changed by Flair Airlines.
“May 25 we check in online around 21:00 and notice the flight is now changed at 13:40 May 26 with an arrival in Edmonton around 15:50. Well, our connecting flight from Edmonton to Las Vegas left at 16:45 May 26. Good luck getting off the plane and through security in under an hour.”
Jackson tried to change his Swoop flight but says he booked it using an airline credit which they received back in 2020 after the flights had to be canceled because of COVID-19.
“Swoop refused to issue us a refund back in 2020 and only gave credit that expired in March of 2022, so we were forced to use the credit and if we cancel or change flights the credit would no longer be valid. Also hotel required 24 hour notice to cancel and we were past that point,” Jackson says.
Faced with losing out on $800 for the Swoop flights and $700 for the Las Vegas hotel, it was either cancel the trip or drive, the couple decided to drive to Edmonton.
“So we drove to make our flight with no sleep. It was a scary drive and we took turns driving and napping. In hindsight that was dangerous,” Jackson says.
Castanet reached out to Flair Airlines for comment and a spokesperson for the company indicated the Flair flight from Kelowna to Edmonton was postponed because the pilot of that flight experienced a weather delay on the previous flight.
“We were sorry to hear of this passenger being inconvenienced by a flight schedule change, which was necessary due to Canadian regulations related to crew rest that all pilots and airlines comply with. Crew rest requirements are not foreseeable long in advance and depend on the hours flown by a pilot or flight attendant in the proceeding period before a flight, similar to an unforeseen weather delay. The Flair flight did depart and arrive earlier than anticipated,” said a spokesperson for Flair.
The spokesperson also pointed out, the only way to ensure making a connection when you are flying different airlines is to give plenty of time between the connecting flights, “24 hours is the safest.”
According to Flair’s website passengers are advised to arrive at the airport three hours prior to boarding due to increased wait times and airport security processing time for departures from Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo and Abbotsford.
Jackson says he is still fighting with the airlines over the cost of the flights between Kelowna and Edmonton.
“I’m currently disputing the flight charges for Flair on my credit card. They also charged me a $21 fee for not showing up for my flight after I tried to cancel. They offered me Flair credit. I kindly (not really) told them to shove it,” Jackson says.
Flair Airlines is a Canadian low-cost airline headquartered at Edmonton International Airport. Earlier this week The Canadian Transportation Agency said Flair Airlines would be allowed to continue operations in Canada after questions arose about the company’s foreign ownership.