Canada's third-largest airline is offering a massive sale on all of its destinations after four of its aircraft were seized over the weekend and it cancelled numerous flights.
Discount carrier Flair Airlines came under fire over the weekend after nearly 2,000 travellers were stranded in destinations across the country when their flights were cancelled at the eleventh hour following the seizure of four aircraft.
A spokesperson for Flair Airlines told V.I.A. that a New York-based hedge fund took unprecedented action with the airline, despite the carrier communicating with the lessor and making payments.
While the airline said it was communicating with passengers, many travellers said they spent days waiting for instructions and some of them re-booked their own flights. Many of them have also expressed uncertainty regarding whether or not they will receive compensation.
On Tuesday, March 14, Flair Airlines announced a massive sale on flights to all destinations in its network, offering 35 per cent off base fares as part of the "you're in luck" promotion that runs until March 16. The sale features a four-leaf clover, as it runs until the day before St.Patrick's Day.
Many people have criticized the sale, with one man commenting under the Twitter ad: "sure if you let people on the planes if, in fact, you have planes."
Under its Facebook ad, multiple people mocked the sale. Chris Gillespie wrote, "You're 'lucky' if the flight actually leaves the ground!" while Doug Morrison quipped: "You will be in luck if your Flair flight actually occurs. What city will be cancelled next?"
Manbir Singh Banwait playfully chimed in, asking if it is "35% off cause 35% of your airplane fleet got seized?"
Other folks noted in the Facebook comments that Flair needs to pay people back for monies owed rather than offering discounts on new flights.
"More like we need money," wrote Rick Woods.
Jill Leigh noted that she's been waiting upwards of two weeks for compensation: "Hey Flair, I have been waiting to hear back from someone since [March 1] regarding my refund. Can someone help?"
Cathy Corfield asked, "when you don't pay your bill how can you afford to put this sale on??"
The massive sale follows several Flair Airlines cancelled flights
When asked why Flair Airlines is offering a sale following the flight cancellations over the weekend, a spokesperson said that the airline has returned to its normal operations across its network.
"At the end of the day, Flair is committed to providing affordable airfare for Canadians," they told V.I.A. in a phone interview.
"We know that our presence in the marketplace not only brings lower fares to travellers that want to fly on Flair but it actually brings a competitive marketplace that lowers prices across the board."
Flair Airlines CEO Stephen Jones added that customers who have bookings in the coming days and weeks do not need to be concerned.
"Travellers can be assured Flair Airlines will continue to fly our schedule, and book new travel with confidence," he said.
"There are airlines that don’t want Flair to exist. But Flair will fly. And we will thrive. We will continue to deliver the lowest fares on offer to Canadians.”
Jones is accusing one of Canada's two major airlines of attempting to kneecap the discount carrier's operations by trying to lease four planes that were recently seized from it due to overdue payments.
“We’ve come in and upset the cozy duopoly, and as a consequence people want us out of business. And we do believe that there were negotiations going on behind the scenes between one of the majors and the lessor to hurt Flair by them offering probably above-market rates for the aircraft we’ve been leasing," he said at a news conference Monday.
About 1,900 passengers saw their flights cancelled Saturday, with some 420 of them rebooked within three days, Jones said.
With files from the Canadian Press.