A Birmingham family flying to Toronto arrived at the airport only to be told that their flight with Primera Air had been canceled two months before. The family, who wasn’t notified of the change, had booked the international flight in January for an estimated £3,000.
Nicki Bryce, her partner, parents, and child were all scheduled to fly to Canada on a Primera Air flight but after arriving at the airport four hours early and waiting in line at the check-in desk, they were told the flight had been canceled in June.
The carrier’s maiden flight in May was postponed after experiencing delivery problems with its new aircraft and in July the airline discontinued all flights from Birmingham.
Primera, a Latvia-based airline, has attempted to compete with Wow and Norwegian by offering discount transatlantic flights. In May, Bryce added her three-month-old baby to the booking, despite the fact that service was on hold.
“Not once did [Primera] flag up that the service had been canceled, and they still took the money for my son to get onto a flight that didn’t exist,” Bryce told The Telegraph.
At Birmingham Airport, Bryce was informed that she would have to contact LastMinute.com, the site where she booked the flights. The online agent informed her while standing at the check-in counter that the flight was in fact canceled and that she would be issued a refund. EU legislation states that if an airline cancels a flight, they are legally bound to find a replacement flight, even if it is on another airline.
“They were not going to arrange another flight. We basically just had to go home and wait for our money to be refunded. The journey home was very upsetting as we all knew there was nothing we could do about it,” Bryce said.
“As you can imagine we are all devastated; our family in Canada are also devastated. We’ve lost money through the hotel and travel expenses, but the worst bit is the heartache it has caused. My dad is 70 next year and this could have been one of his last opportunities to go to see his family,” she added.
The family expressed disgust for the airline’s lack of professionalism. “We haven’t even had an apology,” Bryce said. Meanwhile, LastMinute.com and Primera disagree on who should shoulder the blame.
LastMinute.com claims they provided the airline with Bryce’s contact information, while the airline alleges they didn't have that information. A spokesperson for Primera apologized to Bryce, confirming the flight had been canceled on June 5. “Unfortunately, in [cases where passenger book through a third party] contact information is not provided to the airline so we were not able to contact her directly. All notification about flight cancellations together with information about flight alternatives were sent to LastMinute.com and passengers who booked directly through the Primera website were notified about the cancellation,” the airline stated.
A spokesperson for LastMinute says they are trying “to resolve the issue with this booking.”
“We’ve since made every effort to find alternative flights for her and her family,” the online agent said. “We will continue to investigate why this individual flight cancellation was not received by us, but we can assure you that other impacted customers have been contacted prior to flying and this was an isolated case. Of course we will continue to assist Mrs. Bryce and hopefully, the family can enjoy their holiday.”