Thousands of people across the country have been dealing with cancelled flights, hours and days at airports and even being stranded in foreign countries for days by Sunwing the last few weeks.
Now, a well-known Regina lawyer’s firm is putting together a class action against the airline.
The problems began around Christmas when bad weather shut down airports across parts of North America for days, then got worse as Sunwing moved and re-booked flights then started canceling whole swathes of trips including everything in and out of Saskatchewan until early February.
“One of the people who contacted us had a flight scheduled for February 1, returning February 8. They re-booked it to February 8 return February 15 and they’re asked to pay $1,180,” said lawyer, Tony Merchant.
Merchant said there could be as many as 10,000 people from across Canada affected that could join the class action his firm is proposing, including 5,000 from Saskatchewan alone. He said because all flights in Saskatchewan are cancelled for a time, it’s been hardest hit.
“People then had booked from a long time ago, there were people who had weddings booked, I had one person who had 52 people going – all cancelled. Really terrible consequences for people to cancel on such short notice,” said Merchant.
There are all kinds of protections for airlines in Canada but Merchant said this situation is way past that.
“In our view they’re way over the line and they’re not going to be able to avoid liability,” he said.
Merchant doesn’t think Sunwing is trying to deal with customers in fairness.
“We think we can succeed for people on these issues and that’s why we’re proposing a class action.”
Those who could join the class action include passengers who had “A flight cancellation or delay of more than nine hours, which cannot be attributed weather issues or aircraft safety, between the dates of December 22, 2022 to February 3, 2023, anywhere in Canada. .
It could also include people who had “a trip cancellation, rerouting or delay of more than nine hours, due to Sunwing’s blanket cancellation of its Saskatchewan routes, between the dates of December 29, 2022 to February 3, 2023.”
Canada does now have a passenger bill of rights and with recent changes some of these issues could be covered for compensation, but Merchant said that might not work either.
“The passenger bill of rights does not seem to be helping because Sunwing does not seem to be complying with that either,” said Merchant.
He couldn’t say yet whether people who manage to get compensation through the passenger bill of rights would also be able to join the class action and receive compensation.
As of Monday afternoon, about 450 people had contacted the firm about the proposed class action, which Merchant said was a lot because it had only been pursuing the case for a few days.