Kelowna woman sues after WestJet refuse to pay for lengthy delay | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Kelowna woman sues after WestJet refuse to pay for lengthy delay

Image Credit: WestJet

A Kelowna woman who was abandoned by WestJet at the Calgary airport on her way to Phoenix for Christmas has won a partial victory in the small claims court.

Dr. Aimee Mugridge was supposed to arrive in Phoenix the same day but an eight-hour delay leaving Kelowna meant she missed her connecting flight from Calgary to Phoenix.

According to a June 26 BC Civil Resolution Tribunal decision, WestJet didn't offer any alternative for getting to Phoenix so at 1 a.m. that morning she booked a different flight with Alaska Airlines.

However, when she came to ask WestJet to reimburse her for the Alaska Airlines flight it refused.

Somewhere along the way she then took WestJet to the online small claim court.

READ MORE: Stranded BC passenger takes WestJet to court to get money back

Dr. Mugridge is the second Kelowna resident to take WestJet to court over the same delayed flight to Phoenix.

In May, Kelowna resident Dustin Hancharuk took WestJet to the Tribunal after it offered him $400 compensation. He won and the Tribunal ordered WestJet to pay $1,000 in compensation for the delay plus hotel and meal expenses.

However, in this decision, Dr. Mugridge wasn't as successful.

In the decision, WestJet made several vague arguments about why they shouldn't cough up money.

Firstly the airline said the situation was "beyond its control" and therefore wasn't responsible for compensation.

However, the Tribunal ruled that WestJet relied on sections of Canada's Air Passenger Protection Regulations which apply if the delay is within the airline's control.

"So, I find WestJet acknowledges that Dr. Mugridge’s flight delay was within its control," the Tribunal ruled.

READ MORE: Air Canada blames COVID, refuses to refund; BC couple sue and win

Next, WestJet argued that it was in the process of making alternate travel arrangements when the doctor booked with Alaska Airlines.

However, Dr. Mugridge said that at no time did WestJet contact her about rebooking the missed flight, not during her trip, or even by the time she had got home. The first WestJet heard about it was when she contacted the airline six days after the delayed flight.

WestJet didn't explain why, but in a change of tune decided not to dispute this.

Regardless, the airline still argued that it wasn't responsible to cover the cost of flights when passengers book with other airlines.

Again, the Tribunal dismissed the argument.

The airline then said it would only refund the portion of the unused ticket from Calgary to Phoenix and not cover the Alaska Airlines flight.

The Tribunal didn't buy it, pointing out that WestJet offered no alternative so it had a duty to cover the cost of the Alaska Airlines flight.

Lastly, Dr. Mugridge argued she was owed $1,000 in compensation for the delay as stipulated in Air Passenger Protection Regulations for delays of more than nine hours.

However, while Hancharuk had managed to get that compensation out of WestJet a month earlier, Dr. Mugridge wasn't so lucky.

READ MORE: Flair Airlines blames 'glitch' but BC man sues and wins

WestJet said Dr. Mugridge hadn't filed a request for Air Passenger Protection Regulations compensation within the one-year time frame.

She said her partner filed a request on behalf of both of them as per WestJet's instructions.

However, the Tribunal ruled emails submitted as evidence only had her partner's details on them and not hers.

The Tribunal said she hadn't proved she had made a claim for Air Passenger Protection Regulations compensation so wasn't owed the $1,000.

Ultimately, the Tribunal ordered WestJet to pay $680 including interest and fees.

While it was a partial win for the passenger, Hancharuk who was on the same flight walked away with $1,361 after he took the airline to the Tribunal.


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