Edmonton couple look to federal inquiry after being bumped from WestJet flight
Published Sunday, August 18, 2019 7:31PM MDT
Last Updated Monday, August 19, 2019 11:00AM MDT
A first-of-its-kind inquiry in Canada has been sparked after an Edmonton couple’s honeymoon trip was delayed due to a flight mix up.
The inquiry follows new passenger protection laws that came into effect last month for air travelers.
Chelsea Williamson had planned to backpack through Italy with her new husband, but her trip was partially ruined thanks to what she called poor handling by WestJet.
The newlyweds showed up at the airport in July and after passing through security, found their gate.
“We arrived at the gate and the agent scanned our ticket and had a funny look on her face,” said Williamson.
The couple were eventually told they were not showing up in the system as being on the original flight. They were placed on another—one arriving eight hours later—while the plane departed on time without the newlyweds.
Williamson says WestJet told her an aircraft change the night before had bumped them off the flight, however she claims there was no warning of the new itinerary.
“I checked us in the night before, got our seats for the plane, and after you do that, you don't expect that to change.”
After the original plane departed, the couple was placed on a later flight, which Williamson says resulted in a day lost exploring Italy.
Williamson says she has sent the airliner multiple messages and claims WestJet’s reasoning for the bump was adjusted multiple times; first, the mix up was chalked up to a mistake by airline carrier Delta, and then later, an operational change.
Since she believes they were denied boarding, Williamson says under Canada’s new Air Passenger Protection Regulations, the couple could receive up to $1,800.
The compensation could be rewarded based on whether the pair did or did not have confirmed reservations when they arrived. That’s something the Canadian Transportation Agency will look into.
In a statement, the CTA said “the information in the complaint and report raises the possibility that WestJet's tariff is being interpreted and applied in a manner inconsistent with the denied boarding provisions."
A WestJet spokesperson told CTV News Edmonton the company would not be commenting on the incident during the CTA’s investigation.
For the time being, Williamson hopes no other passengers will have to experience what she went through.
“This is not OK. It's a long way to go and to not get to do what you wanted to do and planned to do is less than ideal.”
With files from CTV Edmonton’s Timm Bruch