800 low-cost airline passengers stranded in Montreal for 4 days
Published Tuesday, July 17, 2018 7:45PM EDT
Eight hundred airline passengers have been stranded in Montreal for the past four days after a low-cost airline cancelled a series of flights to Paris.
Spanish airline Level cancelled the first flight on Saturday. The next flight, scheduled for Monday, was also cancelled. The company has blamed undisclosed “operational reasons.”
The unexpected scenario triggered a domino effect. On Tuesday, a total of 800 passengers were waiting for the next flight, which won’t take off until Thursday.
Passenger Vivien Scheibel says the airline hasn’t done enough to explain to passengers what’s going on.
“(It’s) stressful because no one tried to get in touch with us, no one tried to inform us at all. So if we don’t call, we have no information,” Scheibel told CTV Montreal.
Some passengers are so fed up that they’ve abandoned any hope of making the next flight. Scheibel bought a ticket for an Icelandair flight because she couldn’t afford to wait any longer.
“There was no other option. I have a job, I have an employer who I have to attend to, because at this time I’m on unpaid leave,” she said.
In a statement, the airline said it is working on a solution.
“Our colleagues and partners have been working on re-booking or re-routing customers onto alternative flights since (the) disruption happened,” a Level spokesperson said.
Getting in touch with Level has been difficult, according to passenger Jessie Brillouet, because the airline’s desks at Trudeau International Airport are unstaffed for hours.
“It’s been already several days … that we are trying to find a solution and get answers from Level, but we don’t get anything,” said Brillouet.
Frustrated passengers have begun leaving angry posts on the airline’s social media pages. Gabor Lukacs, founder of the group Air Passenger Rights, says the strategy could help passengers get the answers they want.
“When other passengers see that this is how Level treats its passengers, they will not be making bookings. When Level sees that their bookings are dropping, they will feel urgency to fix the situation,” Lukacs said.
Regardless, the passengers will likely see compensation. According to European Union rules, passengers have the right to collect compensation if a flight headed into Europe operated by a European company is cancelled or delayed.
For journeys longer than 3,500 kilometres, compensation is 600 euros, or $923. The distance between Montreal and Paris is 5,502 kilometres.
Level has only been operating flights between Montreal and Paris since the beginning of July. The company began operations out of Barcelona in 2017.
With files from CTV Montreal