TORONTO — The news reports coming in from Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands are heartbreaking, and the images even more so.
VANCOUVER — Flair Airlines is apologizing for a situation at Vancouver International Airport that saw a pilot call the police to deal with frustrated passengers at the gate, some of whom had been waiting 14 hours before their flight was cancelled.
The Flair flight, scheduled to depart at noon on Tuesday, was delayed repeatedly due to maintenance issues before being cancelled at about midnight. RCMP officers arrived at the gate after 11 p.m. and explained re-booking and accommodation options to passengers, according to the RCMP and a Flair customer who filmed part of the encounter.
Caroline Tess, who posted the video to Facebook, was critical of the use of police to communicate airline policies to passengers and says that while some passengers were rude to airline staff at the gate desk, none of them posed a threat.
The RCMP says it responded to a disturbance call at the gate and that several officers listened to passengers’ concerns and offered the information they had.
Flair spokeswoman Julie Rempel says a pilot called the RCMP, but he did not ask the officers to relay customer service information to passengers. She says the airline apologizes for how things played out and is looking into how it can better manage the situation in the future.
Passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs calls the incident “egregious” and says police should steer clear of civil matters between passengers and airlines.