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Huge issues with Canjet/Transat Holidays

We booked a trip to Melia Las Dunas a few weeks ago through Transat Holidays, suppposed to depart Toronto at 7:30 am on Saturday Feb 21st, for Santa Clara. About three days before departure, we were notified that our flight time had been changed to 5:45 pm…we were not thrilled with this and tried to get some sort of goodwill gesture/compensation from Transat Holidays with no luck.

We went to the airport yesterday. Our plane made it about 30 feet off of the gate and then stopped. We returned to the gate and were told that the windscreen had blown out! OK, fair enough, you can’t fly without a windscreen and better to happen while still on the ground. We were allowed to deplane and after waiting for about 4 hours we were told that our plane was not going anywhere and they were cancelling our flight.

What ensued was complete chaos - people yelling, the staff trying to fill in vouchers by hand which was taking them 15 minutes per voucher, the police were called in to get some order. The staff had no idea when the flight was going to be rescheduled, they gave us a number to call at 8 am this morning which only works monday to friday 9-5 (today is Sunday), no idea where our luggage was, what we should do for meals, zip. Canjet truly is Cannotjet.

Anyhow, we now know (thanks to the front desk of the hotel we were sent to, not from Canjet or Transat Holidays) that our flight is maybe leaving at 9 pm tonight. This puts us at the hotel sometime around 2:30 or 3 am MONDAY!! I was supposed to be there by around 11 am SATURDAY!!

Any ideas what we can do?? Is Transat Holidays going to give us anything for this mess???

Hi katosmama,

What a horrible start to your vacation. I know you must be terribly upset, but I think if I were in your position, I would try to relax today and take the flight tonight.

Yes, you are being shortchanged and I would surely look for some compensation as basically you have less time at the resort than you expected. I would deal with the compensation issues when you return home so jot everything down on paper today while it is fresh in your mind (ie. actual flight times, time you were actually notified of each change, etc.). Keep any receipts for additional expenses due to the delay and keep your boarding passes, original flight information, etc. Try not to stress about this once you are at the resort - relax and have a good time (and then your can deal with the change of flight issues once you have returned home).

Everyone else on your flight is in the same position. I supppose you could try to get a room upgrade or some other perk, but I doubt Transat is able to offer that to everyone, so I still think your best plan is to enjoy today (somehow??), go with flow, and then battle with Transat after-the-fact. Are there any other Canjet or Transat phone numbers listed on your documentation to confirm flights, etc.? You might try those numbers to see if you can confirm your flight time for tonight.

Anyway, good luck with all of this. I do hope you are able to enjoy your vacation though and not let this horrible start detract from it.

Katsomama, best wishes in getting out tonight. Great suggestions from Oatey. You are powerless over the airline, try to enjoy the day, maybe a brunch, movie, find out when the flight is going. Remember you are not alone there is a planeload of people in your position and you will eventually get there.You can deal with the plane cancellation when you get back.Cheere Dan

So sorry, Kat. You’re living through what we all know could just as easily have happened to any of us. As I read through my travel terms and conditions, I don’t see much encouraging stuff in there for this type of situation, hopefully you’ll make out well after a nice, albeit shortened, vacation.

Please come back and let us know how you make out.

Goodness gracious, what a horrible way to start your vacation! Great advice from oatey.

Did you book your trip through a travel agent? Because a good one will go to bat for you to obtain some form of compensation when you get back.

Given the distance from the resorts, I wonder if returning passengers had already left the resort before finding out the flight was cancelled? The situation is not much fun for them either, especially for those who have to be at work on Monday morning…

Good luck kat and please keep us posted!

The windscreen had blown out?!?! Holy crap!

Hope you get it all straightened out…

Big picture time…if the windscreen truly did “blow out”, thank your lucky stars you were not airborne at the time!! You might not be around to register your complaint. Not fun to have your vacation messed up, but an explosive decompression at altitude would have ended not only your vacation but likely your life. I’d be counting my lucky stars!!! (don’t sweat the small stuff…and by comparison losing a couple of days of vacation is pretty small stuff…)

You might find this interesting reading…
http://www.flyingmag.com/aboutflying/666/pop-goes-the-windshield.html

Transat’s head office is in Montreal. On the internet, if you go to: jugements.qc.ca and then type in Transat, you will see many judgements rendered against Transat and brought by customers who feel they have not received what they had paid for. This site is a summary of cases and related judgements rendered by the Quebec Small Claims Court; no lawyers needed or even allowed. The judgements are in French, but presumably the workings of the Court would be bilingual.
If indeed, you do not obtain satisfaction from Transat upon your return, this is a possible avenue you could take.

eeeefarm does make a good point - we all would prefer to be delayed than fly in an unsafe aircraft. I think it then becomes a matter of how the company who is responsible to the clients handles the situation. Transat uses Canjet to save money, but the problem is that Canjet has a small fleet and cannot just turn around and use another plane if one needs repairs. Ultimately, Transat will have to decide whether the drop in quality, reliability and customer service that they are likely to face by dealing with Canjet will be ultimately worth it. I’m guessing that if it were cheaper to get their own smaller aircrafts, they would have chosen that option by now. Buyer beware!

kat’s flight is now scheluded for 10:30 p.m. instead of 9:00. Meanwhile, the return flight was scheduled to arrive in TO at 5:00 a.m. Monday - that will now likely be pushed back another hour at least. Not a great way to start your vacation or to end it…