Canadian stranded in Cancun describes frustrations as Sunwing faces major delays

A Canadian who has been stranded in Cancun for over 24 hours after her Sunwing Airlines flight to Toronto on Sunday was delayed due to technical issues, says the lack of communication has been frustrating.

Shabana Sultani told CTV’s Your Morning that passengers are running out of medications and supplies at Cancun International Airport, and weren’t provided with money for extra food and water until they were shuttled to a hotel in the middle of the night.

“The thing that’s bothering everybody the most is the lack of communication,” she said. “We’re not being given a direct report or even an estimate for an actual time for when we’re going to be able to leave.”

According to Sultani, the flight to Toronto was delayed by 10-minute increments for almost three hours, and the flight has already been cancelled five times since Sunday.

She says she has no idea when she’ll reach home and has been trying to make concessions about her return date to her workplace.

According to the airline, the flight delays were the result of a network-wide system issue that has impacted check-in and boarding. The technical issue is impacting several carriers globally, the airline said.

“We are working diligently with our technology provider to resolve the issue as soon as possible so that regular flight operations can resume,” a spokesperson for Sunwing said in a statement Monday.

“We strongly encourage all customers with departing flights over the next day to check their flight status before heading to the airport.”

Sunwing’s website lists all flights scheduled for Monday — more than 40 — as being delayed, some by more than 12 hours. 

Several of these were connecting Canadian cities to popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean like Cuba and Aruba.

“I haven’t travelled in over two years and … we decided to book in good faith to take this time to relax,” Sultani said.

“But, this is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. I’m going to need a vacation to get over this vacation.”

Air Passenger Rights, an independent non-profit organization of volunteers, say on its website that passengers are owed compensation for delayed and cancelled flights that are within the carrier’s control.

According to them, travellers are entitled not just to food, lodging, and prompt transportation to their destination, but also to up to $1,000 in monetary compensation for the hardship.

Sunwing has not provided a timeline for when the issue will be repaired.

Customers with a departing flight over the next 12 to 24 hours should check their flight status, the airline says.

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