Canada's third-largest airline had four of its aircraft seized over the weekend in what it has characterized as a "commercial dispute" and said it had service disruptions at three major airports.
Discount carrier Flair Airlines offers some of the lowest fares on the market, with some of its one-way tickets starting at under $50 including taxes and fees.
A Flair Airlines spokesperson told V.I.A. that a New York-based hedgefund took "extreme and unusual actions" by seizing the aircraft in an "unprecedented action." It added that the airline had been in communications with the lessor, had started making payments, and will continue making payments to "remedy the situation."
The airline said it is "truly very sorry customers were impacted" and will ensure that everyone affected can get to their destinations as soon as possible. Additionally, it noted that all affected passengers had been updated and its team will help them re-book a flight, with Flair or another airline, free of charge. If they book a flight on their own, they can get a reimbursement for the extra cost within seven days.
When asked if customers should expect further disruptions or cancellations, Flair said it will "continue to fly its schedule" by utilizing "additional fleet capacity to minimize the impacts on passengers and does not foresee any major disruptions to its route map."
In a tweet, the airline stated that it experienced disruptions at the Edmonton International Airport (YEG), Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ), and Waterloo International Airport (YKF).
Travellers respond to widespread Flair Airlines cancelled flights, aircraft seizure
Scores of travellers took to social media following Flair's announcement, with many of them stating that the airline had not reached out to them or provided them with reasonable flight options.
Langley resident Amanda Anems-Brandt tweeted that her parents were still waiting in Waterloo for their flight back to Vancouver and didn't receive any updates, calling the airline's customer service "absolutely ludicrous" and underscoring that her family will never book with the airline again.
This is absolutely ludicrous!!!! My parents are STILL waiting at YKF for their Vancouver flight. No updates NOTHING! I mean this 100% my family will NEVER book with this company again. Just awful!— Amanda Anems-Brandt (@just_amandab) March 12, 2023
In the Facebook group, Flair Airlines Nightmares, Jay Durell wrote on Sunday morning that Flair had not communicated with him about what options he can take following the cancellation of a flight he was supposed to take from Halifax to Toronto on Saturday.
Corina Costel wrote in the same group that her flight was cancelled from Toronto to Halifax Sunday just as they called for boarding for "maintenance issues."
On Saturday, Lindsay Health tweeted that she wasn't notified of her flight cancellation and is now "out over 800 bucks scrambling for somewhere to stay and looking forward to an 11-hour travel day. Worst experience ever."
Please fix this. Not everyone can go days without medication. So awful to not even be notified of my flight cancellation. Now I'm out over 800 bucks scrambling for somewhere to stay and looking forward to an 11 hour travel day. Worst experience ever.— Lindsey Heath (@lindseykheath) March 12, 2023
"We sincerely apologize for this disruption, especially during a busy travel weekend, and we thank our customers for their patience. Our team is dedicated to rebooking all affected customers this weekend," said Flair in a written statement
"We guarantee we will work to get you to your destination with minimal disruption.”