WestJet travellers pissed off as IT outage causes delays, redirected flights – Winnipeg

Travellers at the Winnipeg International Airport are feeling frustrated by flight delays and cancellations with the company WestJet.

The airline tweeted Sunday morning that all its systems were online and stable and that teams were busy working to recover from a system-wide outage.

All systems are now online and stable. We unfortunately anticipate further disruptions as we work to recover from the system-wide outage. We are sincerely sorry for the significant inconvenience.

— WestJet (@WestJet) November 6, 2022

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The chief operator of WestJet in Calgary told Global News there was an issue with the cooling of the data centre, causing a complete outage of their IT system for nine hours for the entire airline and many travellers stranded.

“We are doing everything we can to restore our operation and to get the guests safely to where they want to go,” said Diederik Pen, WestJet COO.

Pen says on Saturday, about 140 flights were impacted and, on Sunday, there are about 100 flights impacted. In total, thousands of guests were affected, and 27 aircraft arrived at the wrong airport.

Westjet is trying to rebook guests as well as find ground transport for them if needed, as well as hotel stays, however, delays and cancellations are expected for the next two days, Pen added.

“At 11:30 p.m. last night, my flight was cancelled,” said traveller Maggie Grall.

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Grall is currently staying at the Lakeview and was told she could get on a flight in ten days.

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“I said, you cannot strand me in Winnipeg for ten days, so I have a booked flight for the 8th but I am here to see about compensation for hotels and meals,” she said.

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“I live about two hours south of Montreal, so I have got a ways to go.”

Grall says the wait time for the help desk was five hours, which was very frustrating as she couldn’t stay up all night waiting to speak with someone.

A similar experience was had by Winnipegger Raghav Sharma, who says he waited two hours in line to be told he can’t get on a flight.

“When you call them, they say they are helping other customers, so you can’t even call them. If you do get through, it’s like a four-hour wait,” he said.

Sharma is trying to get to Toronto so he can get on a connecting flight to see his family in Delhi, India, who he has not seen for five years.

“This is the worst day, to be honest,” he said.

Traveller James Grieve was set to travel home to Kelowna after visiting Winnipeg for the week. He says he got bumped and was going to go through Calgary, but then he got an email saying he was going to go through Vancouver. When he arrived at the airport, he was told he would be leaving Tuesday.

Grieve is understanding that these things happen and hoping the company will make it right.

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“I am a loyal WestJet guest and so I am really interested to see what they are going to do about this, because it is inconvenient,” he said.

Westjet is having a constant dialogue with the company’s IT department to ensure they have efficient backup systems for the future and the company will be doing a full audit to ensure this doesn’t happen again, Pen said.

Click to play video: 'As flight delays, cancellations grow, what compensation are Canadian passengers entitled to?'

As flight delays, cancellations grow, what compensation are Canadian passengers entitled to?

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