- A passenger said WestJet offered him an eight-hour bus trip after a connecting flight was canceled.
- Chris Henderson learned of the cancellation after checking his phone when he landed for the layover.
- He had no interest in the bus trip. Being a solo traveler allowed him to book a flight the next day.
An air passenger said WestJet offered him a bus ride home lasting almost eight hours after his connecting flight was canceled.
Chris Henderson, a musician from Canada, was performing in a few shows at a casino in Grande Prairie, Alberta, over the weekend.
Henderson told Insider he booked WestJet flights from Grande Prairie to Regina, where he lived, on Sunday. This journey included a layover in Calgary.
After landing in Calgary at 2:30 pm, Henderson checked his phone and saw WestJet had sent him an email, which said his connecting flight to Regina at 4:20 pm had been canceled.
In the email, which Henderson shared on Twitter, WestJet said the flight was scrapped because of “unscheduled maintenance.” The Canadian airline said it was arranging a bus service, which would depart at 4:30 pm to ferry passengers from Calgary to Regina.
“By car, that would be a 7 to 7 1⁄2-hour drive, so by bus it was likely around 9 hours, and I had no interest in signing up for that,” he said.
The driving time between Calgary and Regina lasts around 7 hours, 40 minutes, per Mei51186.1672971,-111.5585507,7z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x537164105700e1f9:0x2274f3b0fa9948a9!2m2!1d-114.0101401!2d51.131069!1m5!1m1!1s0x531c1e40fba53deb:0x354a3296b77b54b1!2m2!1d-104.6188943!2d50.4452112!3e0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Google Maps and route-planner site ViaMichelin. Some buses from Calgary to Regina can be on the road for between 10 hours and 15 hours, according to various ticketing websites, but these can include stops.
In comparison, the flight from Calgary to Regina was just over an hour and 30 minutes.
Henderson immediately spoke to WestJet customer services to see whether there was any other way of getting to Calgary. He said he managed to book a seat on a flight for the following morning and booked a hotel room for the night. Other passengers in the line weren’t so lucky and had to wait until Wednesday to fly to Regina, Henderson said.
“I’m pretty sure that me being a solo traveler is what made things work out for me,” said Henderson, who sent his boarding passes to Insider for verification.
He planned to send the receipts of the hotel to WestJet for a refund.
A spokesperson for WestJet told Insider in a statement the flight cancellation was due to “unscheduled aircraft maintenance.” The airline apologized to passengers for the disruption caused.
“Unfortunately, reaccommodation options were limited due to the high demand for travel over the weekend and significant weather events across Vancouver and Vancouver Island, which caused compounding operational impacts and limited aircraft availability,” the spokesperson said.
Ground transportation was arranged to offer a travel option to impacted customers who couldn’t wait for another flight, the spokesperson added.
In a tweet, Henderson said: “I appreciate that they looked for alternatives, but if you’re gonna stick me on a 9 hour bus ride then at least offer me my money back.”