sunwing cyber attack

Sunwing is now hand-writing plane tickets after cyber attack leaves thousands stranded

Sunwing Airlines passengers have now entered day four of an absolute shi*t-show that's left them stranded at airports both in Canada and abroad due to what has now been revealed to be a "cyber-breach."

Numerous Sunwing flights that were originally meant to take off days ago remain delayed, if not cancelled outright, for people flying out of Toronto's Pearson International Airport and from airports in tropical destinations including Mexico, Cuba and Jamaica.

The low-cost Canadian air carrier and tour operator announced on Monday that flights were being delayed on account of "a network-wide system issue."

Company president and CEO Mark Williams has now further explained to CP24 that the issue pertains to "a third party provider having a system outage."

Williams says that this third party's network had been breached, leaving the system used for boarding passes (and presumably other operational matters) inaccessible.

"A system that is up and running all the time, which never fails, was hacked," he said Tuesday night. "They had a cyber-breach and they've been unable to get the system up."

With no digital system available, Sunwing employees have been forced to write boarding passes for every customer by hand.

"We're reverting back to the 1970s and hand-writing boarding passes for people to get them on the plane," said Williams to CP24.

"And we've been working around the clock to do that, but obviously, you can't get the kind of throughput you can get from an automated system when you have to do everything by hand."

So, flights are moving again — they're just rolling out slowly. With three days worth of backlog to deal with, travellers could be waiting for some time to get home or get out of Canada.

Fortunately, Sunwing has made clear that the company is footing the bill for people to stay at hotels and all-inclusive resorts on both sides of the journey, and has promised to compensate every single passenger for their troubles.

Some aren't happy with the vouchers they've received, but others — specifically those enjoying some extra days of fun in the sun — are happy with how things are turning out.

"We are continuing to manually check-in all customers until further notice, with 21 planes departing so far today and an additional 13 planned to depart this evening," tweeted the airline Tuesday night.

"We are also actively working with other air carriers to source additional aircraft to help relieve the backlog in certain destinations. More updates will be shared when available. Thank you for your patience and understanding."

Lead photo by

Sunwing Vacations

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