Delays, lack of communication force Pickering family to get refund on Sunwing trip


Published January 5, 2023 at 1:11 pm

Jordon Woolley is trying to make the best of a trying situation and have a little fun with it, but it wasn’t funny on Christmas Day. Or Boxing Day. Or the following day as Woolley, his girlfriend Samantha Seeney and her parents saw their beachside vacation plans disappear into the snow storm ravaging Hamilton Airport.

The culprit? A familiar one for travellers these days, as Woolley and Seeney, who live in Pickering, booked their week in the sun with Sunwing Vacations, now under intense government scrutiny after hundreds of travellers were stranded in Mexico over the holidays after the airline cancelled their flights, leaving passengers scrambling and accusing the company of not communicating well.

Woolley, who had booked a vacation in Holguin, Cuba, with Sunwing, is thankful they weren’t stranded but understands the lack of communication from the travel company very well.

“We were supposed to fly out Christmas Day at 4:40 p.m. Then it was Boxing Day at 3. Then they changed it again to the 27th at 7 a.m,” he said. “Then, there was no communication at all from any of the websites. ‘Technical difficulties,’ they said. So we took a chance and drove out to Hamilton Airport on Dec. 27.”

Woolley said there were other people who were supposed to be on the same flight also there, and nobody had a clue if their vacation was going to happen.

“We heard an announcement on the PA that there would be a flight to Varadero (Cuba) at 8 a.m. But we were going to Holguin, so we decided enough was enough and go home and try to get our money back.”

That was proving to be a frustrating experience as well, but Woolley credits Sell Off Vacations, their travel agent, for stepping up and fighting for them.

“She was very firm with them,” he said of the travel agent. “We waited on the phone for two hours before they came back and promised to refund our money.”

It was at that point Woolley, a musician and Twitch streamer, decided to have some fun with the situation and posted on Twitter pictures of himself in beachwear on the snow-covered deck of a swimming pool at home in Pickering, with the caption, “Thank you Sunwing for the amazing trip to Holguin, Cuba. LOVING the sun and the fun! Definitely booking with you next time!”

The post was obviously satire and the words were dripping with sarcasm. but it quickly became clear that Sunwing bots don’t understand either, judging by their response to Woolley’s tweet:

“Great to hear that you had an amazing trip to Holguin, Cuba! It sounds like you really enjoyed the sun, the fun, and the poolside mojitos. Thank you for choosing to book with Sunwing Vacay and for sharing your positive experience with others.”

Considering Woolley was trying to make light out of the situation, he admits Sunwing’s response, while tone-deaf, was funny.

“It was weird being in limbo for three days,” he said. “I was joking about streaming from Cuba and I decided to make some humour out of it.”

The rest of the family had a harder time laughing about the situation, he noted. “They were pretty stressed out – especially Sam’s dad. He was really looking forward to the trip.”

Seeney said the worst part of the whole experience was the lack of communication from Sunwing.

“That’s the thing that really frustrated me,” she said. “It would have been nice to know the trip was cancelled.”

Chances of using Sunwing for a future vacation?

“Zero. We won’t be using them again.”

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