Pat Foran: Coping with unexpected flight changes
CTV consumer affairs expert Pat Foran
Published Thursday, October 13, 2011 11:26AM EDT
With the seemingly constant threat of strikes and labour disputes, trouble at the airports and long lineups could leave you waiting for your flight. But what if your plane takes off earlier than you expected? An Oakville, Ont. passenger contacted CTV News when his flight left almost three hours earlier than what his ticket said.
Michael Cutajar has flown to Malta in the Mediterranean 55 times and never missed a flight -- until this summer. Cutajar says in July he was flying home to Toronto through London's Gatwick Airport from Malta and his ticket said that the plane was scheduled to leave at 2:15 pm in the afternoon. Instead, it left at 11:45 am in the morning leaving him stranded.
Cutajar says "I was stuck in London for three days."
The airline paid for one night's hotel and meals but then told Cutajar he would have to pay for any additional hotel stays and his return ticket home. Cutajar was told he would have been informed about the flight change by e-mail. But Cutajar doesn't own a computer.
When we contacted Air Transat we were given this statement.
"As indicated on airline tickets as well as in the general conditions of purchase, passengers who buy airline tickets are responsible for checking flight times, because these are subject to change without notice. When Mr. Cutajar contacted us to tell us that he had not confirmed his flight departure time and that he therefore missed his boarding, we exceptionally and without charge gave him a night in a hotel and meals while he waited for another flight. At the time, it was clearly mentioned that Mr. Cutajar would have to pay the cost for additional nights and for his return flight. Finally, please note that as a courtesy, we will refund him the unused portion of his ticket, plus taxes, for a total of CAD $754.10.
Communications and Media Relations Advisor
Transat A.T. Inc.
- Many airlines offer notification services for delays, cancellations or changes that can be sent directly via e-mail or text message.
- If an airline cancels or changes a flight without trying to notify you, then you may be entitled to a refund or an alternative flight.
- Most airlines now also allow you to check in for your flight up to 24 hours in advance online.
- Passengers can confirm the details of their flights through the airline (such as Air Canada: http://www.aircanada.com/en/travelinfo/traveller/flightstatus/index.html#299); through the airport (such as Toronto Pearson: http://www.torontopearson.com/en/flights/schedules/?DEV_fs_term=); or through dedicated websites (such as http://www.flightstats.com/go/home.do).
- For those without an online connection, there is usually a phone number provided and listed on the ticket/booking.