However, a delayed and later cancelled Flair Airlines flight caused upset and a major financial hit for a number of B.C.’s Swifties.
Sisters Holland Edwards and Meagan O’Connor were on a flight Tuesday with tickets to the concert Wednesday night.
They were halfway to L.A. when the pilot came over the loudspeaker to let them know they had to turn back to Vancouver due to lavatory issues.
After landing in Vancouver, O’Connor said they were kept on the tarmac.
“So if the reason for landing was due to the fact that the bathroom wasn’t working, they kept us on that plane with no bathroom working,” she said. “And then they told us it was going to be like a 15, 20-minute fix, that they were handling it all super professionally.”
However, they said the crew turned off the air condition on board, everyone was sweating, it started to smell bad and then the updates stopped coming.
“Then they told us that they were going to let groups of 15 off at a time to go into the gate to like, use the washroom, but that we’d have to come straight back to the plane,” O’Connor said.
“And that lasted for three hours.”
She said they received no water and no snacks while they were sitting there.
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After about six hours of being delayed and sitting on the tarmac, Edwards said she went to speak to a few of the gate staff and was told it is not Flair’s responsibility to book them on another flight, “even though I knew that wasn’t true,” she added.
But rather than stay and argue, Edwards hopped on her phone and booked two tickets on a WestJet flight leaving in two hours.
However, it cost her $1,500.
But the reward was seeing Swift live at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
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Another fan on the same flight wasn’t so lucky.
Annice Li and her friends had bought tickets to see Swift on Tuesday night, paying around $2,000 each.
She said after going through the same ordeal as the sisters, they ended up in the terminal and started to panic.
“We had to either just hope that our flight would get up on time,” she said. “But then as the time went on, we started to think, ‘OK, I think we actually need to get some flights out of here to get to her show on time’.”
But any flight that was available was filling up fast and the tickets were very expensive.
“We were just stuck in there and we couldn’t talk to people at the counters either,” Li said. “We couldn’t go to the different airline counters at the front of the airport because we had already gone through security. We couldn’t go back through, they wouldn’t let us, so we couldn’t do anything.”
In a statement to Global News, Flair Airlines said “due to an unforeseen mechanical issue impacting the lavatory system, the pilots made the decision to return to Vancouver. We acknowledge the disappointment the cancellation caused. Recognizing the unique situation, a recovery flight was mustered for the following morning. As a gesture of goodwill, we provided all passengers with hotel vouchers, as well as a $60 meal voucher.”
The statement said staff communicated to passengers when they had a comprehensive understanding of what happened and they regret any delays and cancellations.
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But for Li and her friends, it was too late to even sell their tickets online for that night’s show.
She said they eventually were able to get a refund for their flight.
Travel expert Claire Newell said it is best to travel to any special event at least the day before, if possible.
“The other thing is that sometimes going on a low-cost carrier, they don’t have the number of aircraft to be able to backfill and get people booked on flights that are also going or getting aircraft in to help out in a situation where something goes mechanical,” she said.
“And so Air Canada or WestJet may have had more options versus the situation with Flair.”
Newell said it is also important to have cancellation and interruption insurance
Li said a scheduling conflict with one of the friends in the group meant they had to fly out the same day but next time they might drive or make sure they have more time.
“I think in the end we’re just glad no one got hurt and that it was just a mechanical issue with the toilet, not like with some other major part of the plane,” she said. “You know, we’re just glad we got home safe.”
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