vTravel advisors, ACTA react to Sunwing’s position on recalled commissions

Sunwing’s cancellations extend to some gateways in Atlantic Canada, northern Ontario

TORONTO — Sunwing’s winter sun flight cancellations extend beyond Saskatchewan to include select destinations from several gateways in Atlantic Canada and northern Ontario as well.

The story has been picked up in recent days by consumer news outlets, with details about cancelled flights out of Halifax, Fredericton and Moncton. Impacted gateways in northern Ontario are Sudbury and North Bay.

The news comes in the wake of Sunwing’s Saskatoon and Regina cancellations, effective through Feb. 3.

Sunwing, along with Air Canada and WestJet, appeared before the Transport Committee on Jan. 12 as part of the federal government’s investigation into what went wrong with air travel over the holidays.

Sunwing Airlines president Len Corrado and Sunwing’s President of Tour Operations, Andrew Dawson represented the airline and tour operator at the emergency meeting. Corrado said Sunwing got word on Dec. 9 that its application to bring on foreign temporary pilots for the winter was denied.

MP Julie Vignola raised the travel agent commission issue, asking Sunwing if it’s “common for you to not pay the agencies who are selling your trips?”

Dawson took the question. “It is common practice in our industry to pay commission only on completed trips. It is an industry practice.”

Frustration and anger from travel advisors with recalled commissions, and with clients impacted by the cancellations, has been growing.

Last week ACTA issued a statement on the Sunwing cancellations: “It is ACTA’s firm position that when a decision to cancel a travel program is made, travel agent commission should be part of the decision-making process, and commission must be protected. We are in continuous contact with Sunwing’s leadership team, and ACTA will continue steadfast advocacy with all stakeholders to ensure fairness for travel agencies and independent travel agents.”