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'This airline is a joke': Metro Vancouverites react to possible suspension of Flair Airlines flights

Flair Airlines could be required to stop flying in Canada but customers have shared other issues with the airline.
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Metro Vancouver, B.C. residents have expressed frustration that Flair Airlines may be required to stop flying in Canada due to an ownership issue.

Numerous Metro Vancouver residents have expressed outrage after news broke that one of Canada's discount airlines may be forced to stop flying due to an issue with the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA). 

Canadian ticket-holders have taken to social media in droves to share their frustration with the discount carrier, raising concerns that they'll be left without a refund or an alternative means of travel if the CTA issues a suspension over the airline's ownership

While the CTA could halt Flair operations if it does not meet the conditions to qualify as "Canadian owned," President and CEO Stephen Jones told Vancouver Is Awesome in a phone interview Monday (April 18) that customers should "absolutely be comfortable" in keeping the flights they've booked.

"I want to be really clear. We will not be grounded as a consequence of this review," he explained, adding that Flair has been working with the CTA to address the situation. 

But several Metro Vancouverites say they aren't convinced the airline won't be grounded following the CTA deadline on May 3. 

In addition to the ownership issue, multiple Flair customers are still awaiting refunds, while others say they were unable to reach a customer service representative who could help them. 

One woman commented: "[Seven] hours on hold. Instead of posting on [social], please use your staff more wisely," while another individual stated that they waited for four hours on the phone and no one helped them.

"Your management never got back to me about my lost/damaged luggage from last summer. Good to see your social media is quicker than the humans you employ to answer the telephone. Unfortunately, much work needs to be done," said @oscarduker.

Metro Vancouver Flair Airlines customers raise concerns

After V.I.A. shared the story about the ownership issue, numerous people commented on the Facebook post that they had experienced horrible customer service dealing with the airline.

Have a look at some of the responses to the story.

"Time to go. Their customer support is horrendous. Called to ask if they will extend my voucher or give me a letter for (my) insurance company; have not heard back and I doubt I will! Their online chat is a joke… it keeps disconnecting or no one is there."

  • Sylvia Cheung 

"They still owe me a refund for a flight they cancelled. Don’t book with Flair."

  • Joshua Gerard Quinn

"Worst airline. Horrible experience."

  • Madhura Aswathy Sanjeevan

"This airline is a joke. All their reasons for delays and cancelled flights only seem to happen to them at such a chronic volume."

  • Alexis S DeMuynck

"Worst airline ever. Good riddance."

  • Bobby Jim

A couple of readers shared positive experiences with the airline, however. 

"Never had an issue with them. Never met anyone who had a single delayed flight with them LOL. Flown 5+ times with them. What exactly are you expecting from a budget airline? Don't be cheap and then expect good service."

  • Dylan Lewis

"We flew with them many times, no problem, cheap flights, we love it,hopefully they stay for good. Flights from Kitchener, the best thing."

  • Violet Sawa

On Twitter, Flair customers continue to raise concerns over what they perceive to be a minimization of the ownership issue. Some of them have commented that there is a very real possibility that the airline will be grounded, even if only for a short period of time. 

Joseph David comments, "We don’t doubt you’re here to stay long term but what about those of us who booked flights for next month? A temporary shut down is still possible."

Other people are frustrated with the carrier's handling of flight cancellations, delays, and baggage loss/damage. 

Dr. Gábor Lukács is the founder and president of Air Passenger Rights — a group that gives airline customers information about their rights so they are capable of enforcing them against airlines. He told Vancouver Is Awesome in a previous phone interview that Canadians are frequently taken advantage of by airlines because they aren't aware of the rules. 

In a recent Twitter post, the group noted that Flair Airlines should only be granted an 18-month temporary exemption from the ownership requirements if it company commits to offering better service to its passengers. 

Find out everything B.C. residents need to know about flight cancellations, refunds, and baggage claims.