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HomeWorld news6-hour WestJet flight home turns into 3-day nightmare for B.C. family

6-hour WestJet flight home turns into 3-day nightmare for B.C. family

What was supposed to be a simple six-hour flight turned into a three-day nightmare for a Victoria family.

Stephanie Sherlock, her 77-year-old mother and her ex-husband were travelling home on WestJet from Thunder Bay last weekend with an expected layover at the Richardson International Airport. However, when one of their flights was cancelled, they were forced to spend 42 hours in Winnipeg.

The airline put them up in a hotel that night with food vouchers. They were put on a flight to Calgary, arriving at around midnight the next day, but WestJet said they would have another layover, and worse, there were no rooms available due to the Calgary Stampede.

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The trio was forced to spend the night on couches at the terminal and did not receive any food vouchers.

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“It was, it was awful,” Sherlock told Global News.

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Her elderly mother Dorothy Johnson has a brain tumour, while her ex-husband has a brain injury and a physical disability as a result of a massive stroke.

The trip home was supposed to be six hours with one layover in Winnipeg.

“We should’ve been home (at) 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning and we got home at 8 o’clock on Monday night,” Sherlock said.

“It was horrible to see my mother having to lay on that bench. We are human beings, they had absolutely no regard for my mom’s dignity and (my ex-husband’s) dignity.

“And nobody, nobody cared.”

Johnson said she was very disappointed with the airline.

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In a statement, WestJet said, “We sincerely apologize to Ms. Sherlock and her travel companions for the inconvenience.”

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The statement confirmed that the airline is obligated to follow the Air Passenger Protection regulations.

But one expert said that is laughable.

“It is quite clear that the airline was just grossly disregarding the rules,” Gábor Lukács with Air Passenger Rights told Global News.

“The real trouble is WestJet feels secure and feels it can get away with this type of behaviour because the federal regulator will not actually do something to make it face consequences.”

Sherlock said she wanted to share her experience so people would think twice about flying because airlines cannot operate without customers.

“Without us, you don’t have a business,” she said. “It cannot be allowed to continue.”

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WestJet facing criticism after forgetting woman’s wheelchair

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