Edmonton-based Flair Airlines has quietly dropped many routes to Florida at the end of the month due to what the company calls “operational reasons.” Affected passengers in Edmonton and Winnipeg were advised of the change by e-mail Tuesday, and told their reservations were cancelled.
While no details were available, Flair’s on-line reservation system no longer showed flights from Edmonton to Miami, Orlando, or Palm Springs, California after next week. Flights to Las Vegas and Phoenix-Mesa could still be booked.
Fights aboard the ultra low-cost carrier from Winnipeg to St. Petersburg, and Miami, and from Toronto to Miami also appear to have been cut and were no longer available.
Flair told Western Aviation News in an e-mail:
“Flair can confirm that we are suspending seasonal service to some US destinations beginning February 28th. We are in the process of contacting all affected passengers and providing them with full refunds or, for those who have already started their journey, alternative travel arrangements on other airlines.
Flair’s Canadian flight network is unaffected by these changes to our trans-border services.”
Hi Kate, thanks for the note. Due to operational reasons, we had to make some unforeseen schedule changes to some of our US routes. Can you please send us a direct message with your reservation number and we can look into this further?— flair airlines (@FlairAirlines) February 19, 2019
“Flair cannot just walk away from its contract with its passengers,” said Gabor Lukacs, Founder and Coordinator of Air Passenger Rights, an independent advocacy organization. “A deal is a deal.
“It is not like there is a snow storm or act of war or some kind of reason outside of Flair’s control. They may choose to cancel flights but then they have to compensate passengers for all of the damages they are incurring.”
That could mean rebooking passengers on other airlines or offering full compensation.
“People have taken time off from work, they have already made commitments, and Flair will be on the hook for all that,” said Lukacs.
“This strikes me as a case of a fundamental breach of the contract. So Flair cannot rely on its terms and conditions which may say otherwise… It is not a case of flight cancellation, it is a case of complete non-performance, we don’t fly now and not later.
“The smart thing for Flair would be to offer to rebook passengers on other airlines’ flights.”
Lukacs has consulted for Flair on air passenger rights, and so he said he did not make his comments lightly.
“I certainly encourage Flair to do the right thing,” he said. “If they were not doing the right thing, I would encourage passengers to sue Flair. No question.”
One affected passenger, Abdul Koroma, said he was satisfied by Flair’s response to the cancellation.
Flair recently revealed a new look for its aircraft, with the head of the growing airline telling a small gathering at its Edmonton base “it’s not easy being green.”