Last March, I had a nightmare travel experience for work when trying to fly from Montreal to Toronto via WestJet. I arrived at the airport at 3:30 pm for my 4:30 pm flight only to discover that it was delayed by 45 minutes. Granted, Montreal had had a fair bit of snow that morning so I could understand that the airline was trying to recover from the earlier delays caused by the weather. However, my 45-minute wait time turned into 7 hours of boredom and frustration at the Trudeau airport.
While Air Canada and Porter were announcing flight after flight to Toronto, no WestJet flights were leaving. It turns out that not a single flight via WestJet had left that day from Montreal to Toronto as the weather system had caused emergency landing across the Eastern sea board, and WestJet was now missing planes and crews to keep up with their passengers.
I completely understand that weather is not in the hands of the WestJet people, but their communication to passengers is. Knowing that the other flights had not taken off that day, my flight should have never been shown as "on time" when I checked in online mid-day and I should have been given a realistic wait time. Later in the evening, my flight was actually cancelled and I discovered this when walking by an airport digital schedule board and realizing that my flight was missing. Not cancelled - just missing from the giant board. There was no passenger announcement made - my flight simply disappeared. I then joined a 60 minute line-up to be rebooked onto the 10:00 pm flight. My entire evening was wasted at the airport and by the time I reached Toronto, I was frazzled and exhausted.
I was promised compensation by the WestJet agent who rebooked my flight, but weeks went by and I didn't hear from them. I then called WestJet and was told that there agents on the phone only take reservations & manage bookings - they do not handle complaints! If I wanted to make a complaint or inquiry into my compensation, I needed to send an email. So I sent the email describing my ordeal only to have an automatic response stating that it takes the customer service agents 6-8 weeks to respond to email. Seriously?