The Kelowna-based Flair Airlines is apologizing after the RCMP were called to the Vancouver International Airport to deal with frustrated passengers on Tuesday night.
The passengers at the gate were frustrated due to a 12-hour flight delay due to maintenance issues, which eventually resulted in the flight being cancelled all together at about 12 a.m.
The RCMP said that officers arrived after 11 p.m., and explained re-booking and acommodation options to passengers. In a video posted on Facebook, three officers addressed the group of people at the gate.
Caroline Tess took the video and posted in online, describing what passengers were told by the airline, and said that although some people were rude to airline staff, no one posed a threat.
“Of course people are upset, but I would never use the word aggressive or say that they were a danger or anything,” Tess said in an interview. “One lady missed her brother’s funeral. Another had missed a court appearance. They were just really distraught.”
In the video, one woman tells the police officers that they should be talking to Flair Airlines staff.
“I have to get home. I have a job that I have to do at a trial tomorrow morning. I’ve been here since 10 a.m. I could have made other arrangements,” the woman says. “And I’m sorry, you shouldn’t have to represent them. Flair Air should be here talking to us about this.”
RCMP spokesperson Dawn Roberts said that several officers listened to passenger’ concerns and “offered the information they had and some advice.” The RCMP has officers at the airport around the clock.
Julie Rempel, a Flair spokesperson explained that the pilot called police late Tuesday night, but the officers were not asked to give out information on booking or accomodations.
“It’s never happened before…They just decided to take control of the messaging and the information to make sure that everybody would remain calm,” she said. “There was absolutely no request for them to deliver any customer service messaging of any sort.
“Did we do everything right? Probably not. But we absolutely acknowledge that and apologize for that,” she said. The airline is “looking into how it can better manage the situation in the future,” she added.
The airline has said that they gave full refunds to the affected passengers, or helped them book other flights. They also provided hotel rooms and meal vouchers, and are offering $200 future travel credits to them.