Last week, the airline Sunwing cancelled most of their flights from Regina and Saskatoon to tropical destinations starting in February.
This has left travellers scrambling to either rebook through Sunwing from another Canadian city or get a refund and start from scratch re-planning their vacation.
The million-dollar question remains why did Sunwing suspend most of its Saskatchewan services for the winter season?
Terry Kaszas, CAA Saskatchewan's General Manager of Travel Services believes that Sunwing’s cancellations stemmed from their inability to recover after being back-logged from Christmas.
“It all started with some of the weather issues in early December and then continued to snowball where they couldn’t keep up with what they were offering this year ultimately,” says Kaszas.
Saskatoon and Regina aren’t the only departure sites where Sunwing has suspended services. Winnipeg, Sudbury, North Bay, Halifax, Fredericton, and Moncton have announced in the past couple of weeks that flights are being suspended or having destination interruptions.
Kaszas does understand the frustrations of Saskatchewan residents of feeling forgotten by Sunwing.
“I don’t think there’s anything to worry about with Sunwing, personally I think they will come back stronger than ever,” adds Kaszas.
To make matters worse, a week ago marked the end of direct flights to Calgary from Regina and Saskatoon through Air Canada.
“I hope they rethink this and revisit coming back to Saskatchewan and covering those routes. They have done this in other places in Canada. Hopefully, they come back and help our prairie folks out.”
Luckily WestJet stepped up and filled the void left by Air Canada, as they announced the addition of two daily flights to Calgary from Regina and Saskatoon starting in February. Additionally, the low-cost airline Flair will be offering a daily flight to Calgary from Saskatoon.
The biggest frustration Kaszas has been hearing from customers rebooking their vacations is the waiting game.
“They were all booked to go wherever they were going for their vacation. Then all of a sudden it gets cancelled and then we have to start looking for space out of other gateways to try to keep the original dates that they had or something close to it.”
Another frustration is in some instances cancelled flights have prevented families and friends from reconnecting following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People were coming from various parts of across the country to meet in destinations.”
Kaszas concluded by saying to be patient with their travel agents, as they are working as hard as they can to try to book you the perfect vacation.