September 27, 2023
Saskatchewan journey brokers say they might lose 1000’s attributable to Sunwing cancellations
Saskatchewan journey brokers say they might lose 1000’s attributable to Sunwing cancellations

Travellers wait in line at a Sunwing Airways check-in desk at Trudeau Airport, in Montreal, on April 20, 2022.Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Kelly Klassen was driving to central Alberta along with her household to go to her brother for the vacations when the emails began filling her inbox.

The journey agent from Rosthern, Sask., says she had dozens of bookings affected by Sunwing’s resolution final week to cancel service to Regina and Saskatoon for a month.

The airline introduced on Dec. 29 that it was instantly cancelling its operations by means of Feb. 3 at Saskatchewan’s two largest airports attributable to extenuating circumstances.

“I actually was sick,” Ms. Klassen mentioned in an interview. “I can’t sustain. I’m one particular person. I can’t rebook one month value of journey in sooner or later.”

Ms. Klassen, a journey agent for 12 years, mentioned she was in a position to rebook a 100-person company group and one other bigger group. However she had 49 particular person bookings for the month.

She’s one in every of many journey brokers in Saskatchewan who might lose 1000’s of {dollars} after they had been instructed the airline received’t shield their commissions on cancelled flights.

Journey brokers mentioned there are sometimes each day flights to southern locations in Mexico and Cuba from Regina and Saskatoon within the winter – and plenty of had been virtually offered out.

Alison Berk, who works as a journey agent in Humboldt, Sask., mentioned she was already coping with shoppers who had been caught in Cuba and Mazatlan, Mexico, when she acquired an e-mail about Sunwing cancelling all of its January flights.

“It hasn’t been a great time,” she mentioned, noting she has been a journey agent for 3 years.

“It began with COVID and now this.”

Ms. Berk mentioned many Saskatchewan residents who’ve been trying ahead to escaping the chilly for a sunny trip have been left disenchanted by the Sunwing resolution.

“All of us care about our shoppers a lot. I used to be genuinely unhappy that I needed to allow them to know that their flights or their holidays had been ruined due to this,” she mentioned.

“Then to seek out out all of our laborious work that we put in might doubtlessly be for nothing as a result of they mentioned they aren’t defending our commissions we did our work, our job to get the shoppers to [Sunwing] after which they didn’t preserve their finish of the discount.

“We’re those who’re struggling as a result of we’d not receives a commission.”

Sunwing mentioned in an announcement Wednesday that each one prospects with cancelled southbound departures will obtain a full refund and that it might comply with regular procedures with respect to journey agent commissions.

“We sincerely apologize to our valued journey advisers in Saskatoon and Regina – who’re instrumental in advising our mutual prospects – for the inconvenience and disruption,” it mentioned.

“Please know that the choice to quickly halt our operations from each airports was not made flippantly however out of necessity attributable to a number of components that prevented us from delivering the requirements of service our Saskatchewan prospects count on from Sunwing.”

Ms. Berk mentioned she had 16 households booked on January flights and shall be out 1000’s of {dollars}, however a few of her colleagues might lose much more.

One journey agent, added Ms. Klassen, had deliberate a 70-person wedding ceremony in Mexico subsequent week.

“The entire thing simply fell aside,” she mentioned. “She misplaced tens of 1000’s of {dollars}. It makes you sick, as a result of she’s labored on this for a yr. It’s gut-wrenching once they can do this with no regard for us.”

Ms. Klassen mentioned she’s additionally fearful about what is going to occur to the flights booked for the remainder of the winter.

“I’ve 57 particular person bookings for February and March, plus eight teams – weddings included,” she mentioned, noting a kind of flights is a private journey for her household through the February break.

Each brokers work for Travello Journey Group, which they are saying can also be preventing for his or her commissions. Nobody from the company returned a request for remark.

Ms. Klassen mentioned she puzzled why Sunwing solely shut down flights in Saskatchewan, when it might have cancelled a few of its less-popular routes throughout the nation.

“Sunwing may have misplaced the belief of Saskatchewan folks transferring ahead,” Ms. Klassen mentioned.

“I do know so many people who find themselves saying, ‘I’ll by no means fly Sunwing once more.’” The Toronto-based airline mentioned it might finalize plans for each airports for February and March within the coming days and it hopes to regain the belief of its Saskatchewan prospects with the assistance of the journey brokers.