flair airlines toronto saskatoon

A short flight from Toronto devolved into a 10-hour nightmare for passengers

What should have been a short 3.5-hour hop from Toronto to Saskatoon turned into a day-long travel nightmare for a planeload of Flair Airlines passengers.

Flair Airlines flight F8-673 departed Toronto on July 17 bound for Saskatoon. As the aircraft approached its final destination, pilots announced that the flight would have to divert to Winnipeg, 700 kilometres back in the direction it came from.

One of the passengers on the Boeing 737 MAX 8, Carmen Szabo, spoke with CBC News, telling the outlet that, at first, passengers were told the diversion was due to a storm, only to be told later on that runway construction was to blame.

Weather reports show no precipitation in the area at the time of the plane's approach toward Saskatoon. However, there are indeed current rehabilitation works ongoing at Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport, correlating with the reason for diversion provided to passengers.

While on board the plane on the ground in Winnipeg, passengers reported that no food or drinks were served and that flight attendants even provided tap water from the aircraft's lavatory — which studies have shown is a terrible idea.

Adding insult to injury, after the plane landed, the airline announced to passengers that the aircraft would fly back to Toronto instead of proceeding to the scheduled destination. Police were reportedly dispatched to calm irate passengers as the plane descended into a hostile scene for airline crews.

Some of the passengers chose to return with the plane to Toronto, while the rest were allowed to deplane in Winnipeg.

After an over four-and-a-half-hour departure delay from Pearson Airport, the scheduled flight time of three hours and 35 minutes, plus the diversion to Winnipeg, and (for some) a return trip to Toronto, the travellers who opted to fly back to Pearson were taken on what added up to a roughly ten-hour journey — almost three times the expected travel time — only to wind up exactly where they started.

Flair Airlines initially denied passengers compensation for the diverted July 17 flight citing weather as a factor, however, the carrier later relented, telling CBC News that it was working to make things right with travellers.

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