MAX pain spreads to Flair, airline suspends U.S. service early

A Flair Boeing 737-800 lands at Vancouver International Airport (photo: Brett Ballah).

Flair Airlines, a Canadian ultra low-cost carrier that has never had a 737 Max in its fleet, is feeling the pain of the type’s world-wide grounding, dropping all service to the United States a month ahead of schedule.

“They Just cancelled our easter vacation to Vegas flights without notice,” wrote passenger Twyla Krywiak on Flair’s Facebook page. “They offer you a $50 voucher to use by June 30 told them to keep cause i will never ever fly with them!!!!”

Other passengers made similar complaints on social media.

Flair flights from Edmonton and Winnipeg to Las Vegas and Phoenix and from Winnipeg to Orlando are being dropped after April 1. The seasonal service had been scheduled until the end of the month.

Flair blamed its leasing company, Travel Service out of the Czech Republic, which leased three 737-800s to Flair. When the Max was grounded, demand for the 737-800 shot up, and the lessor wanted its planes back.

“Travel Services basically put pressure,” said Flair spokesperson Julie Rempel, “in order for them to be able to service European airlines, so that’s how it affected us, and we had to give back the aircraft early.

“It’s unfortunate, but on the flip side, we hopefully by tomorrow night into Calgary, we should be receiving our first liveried 737-800.” The plane will be put into service at the end of April.

It’s not the first time Flair has cancelled service to the U.S. The airline came under fire earlier this year when it cancelled a series of flights primarily to Florida and Palm Springs, California.

Some affected passengers said they are still trying to get compensation from the company.

Canadian group Air Passenger Rights advises passengers affected by cancellations to demand an alternate booking, demand compensation and if that fails, to take the airline to court.

Flair is the first non-Max airline in Canada to feel the pain of the Max grounding. Air Canada, Westjet and Sunwing all had to juggle their schedules when their Max aircraft were pulled out of service.

There is no word when the Boeing aircraft will be allowed to fly again.

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