TORONTO – The one-plane carrier SkyGreece didn’t make any friends this week when it made passengers wait three days – days – for a flight to take off and gave no real explanation why.
The Toronto-Athens-Zagreb flight that was supposed to take over on Aug. 17 didn’t get off the ground until Aug. 20 with the company saying only that it was for “operational considerations” and waiting for a spare part to arrive and then to let the crew rest.
Passengers were more than just a tad upset at the airline as much for the lack of information as having to wait and keep coming to the airport only to be told the airline still wasn’t flying until it finally took off.
One of the frustrated, Daniela Boronka, was going to a wedding in Greece with her husband, son and mother. She was a maid of honor.
Just before she found out the flight would finally depart, she told CBC News that she was “calm until last night but when the airline kept postponing this flight I became nervous that we weren’t going to make it.”
She said being delayed for a day is understandable, but three days in unacceptable. “I wish them luck and I hope they improve in the future because they’re a young company, but I would be hesitant because this scarred me pretty good,” Boronka said. “This is not how I want to start my vacation.”
In a statement on Aug. 17 the airline said that “due to operational considerations, SkyGreece Airlines need to delay all flights.”
A spokesman for SkyGreece told CBC News that all its flights were delayed for 24 hours “because of crew rest.” He added that when its flight arrived in Toronto, there was “a small technical issue” and SkyGreece had to wait for a part.
On its site, SkyGreece, which has only one plane, says it was founded in 2012 and started its operations in 2014.
“I’m just glad to be on the plane already,” a customer who had just obtained his boarding pass told Global News.
“A nightmare, an absolute nightmare,” a New York City woman who asked not to be identified added. “I’ve been traveling for 40 years, a lot of traveling overseas and have never have I seen anything like this.”
Many travelers in Toronto said the new airline failed to deliver accurate or complete information, causing unnecessary anxiety.
“You come here, nothing — the next day again,” said Dorothy Horvatek of Etobicoke, Canaada, who was hosting guests from Croatia, unable to make their return flight on schedule.
“It was a complete lack of information, the information wasn’t correct,” said Anna Kurkowska.
“People accept situations when information is shared … it would have been better than lack of knowledge, that’s the worst thing,” she said.
There was trouble at the other end too with many passengers in Europe with confirmed tickets to return to Canada saying they would have to wait until next week now to get back.
Some relatives told Global News that competing carriers are charging more than $1100 for one way tickets; many passengers paid less than $900 for return travel from Toronto to Greece on SkyGreece.
Passengers who would like to recover expenses related to the delay can contact SkyGreece on their website. They can also file a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency, or through the European Union.