Victoria passenger upset with Flair Airlines after airport arrival mistake

CHEK

A group of Flair Airlines passengers from Victoria thought Lady Luck was on their side when they breezed through Las Vegas airport without going through customs, but it turns out the move was a bust.

The direct flight from Victoria to Las Vegas arrived without a hitch last month but some passengers thought they had hit the jackpot with how easy it was to get out of the airport.

“The pilot dropped us in the domestic area, not in the international so the majority of the people on the plane took their baggage and left without going to customs,” said Daphne Bennett, one of the passengers from Vancouver Island.

The airline only realized their mistake not long before Daphne Bennett arrived to pick up her luggage.

“We got our bags and she said it’s a huge mess so just head that way so we got there and there were maybe 10 people from the flight who were trying to get to a customs officer to come and check us in,” said Bennett.

After going through customs before going into the city and checking into her hotel she got a message on her phone imploring her to return to the airport to go through customs. Hours later after getting multiple messages that said documents needed to be signed she returned.

Unable to download the travel voucher, offered by Flair Airlines, she paid for a cab back to the airport out of pocket.

“It was a good thing the same customs officer was there because he said ‘what are you guys doing back here?’ and I said ‘I keep getting these messages from Flair telling me I have to come here’ and he’s like ‘Flair has made a huge mess of this,'” said Bennett.

Bennett was one of many who the airline ordered to return to the airport.

In a statement Flair says in part “We sincerely apologize for the disruption caused and want to reassure our customers that we are taking steps to prevent such occurrences in the future.”

An industry watchdog says this is not a common issue.

“This was really clearly a genuine mistake. Yes, this is a significant inconvenience and passengers may be able to seek compensation if it is shown that it is the airline that made the mistake and not the airport for example,” said Gabor Lukacs, president of Air Passenger Rights.

A statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection said “a Canadian commercial carrier arriving from Victoria, Canada failed to present passengers to CBP for processing.”

It says it, in conjunction with the carrier, gave instructions to return to the airport for federal inspection and that CBP officers cleared the flight.

Bennett says she would still like to be compensated for the extra taxi ride to and from the airport and says the airline should’ve done a much better job of messaging only those that really needed to return.

Bennett vows never to fly with Flair Airlines again.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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