Many Canadians stuck in sunny destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America due to a computer security issue affecting Sunwing Airlines say the situation on the ground remains chaotic and confusing.
On Wednesday, the airline said it was continuing to manually check passengers after the server networks of one of its providers, Airline Choice, were hacked. However, the problem leaves many travelers waiting at airports.
“At first we thought it would be fine to have an extra night, but now I don’t find it enjoyable anymore,” said Tanya Cameron, who was in Varadero, Cuba, on Wednesday waiting to board the ship.
Mme Cameron said she and her sister-in-law had seats on the Sun Wing flight to Winnipeg, which is scheduled to leave at 7 p.m. Tuesday. They were first informed that the flight would be delayed until midnight, then the Sunwing representative advised them to return to the hotel, as the flight would not depart until the next day. However, when they returned to the airport on Wednesday, they found that the flight had left in the middle of the night regardless.
The two women still expect to go home on Wednesday, but only because one of them heard their story and offered to give up their seats on a flight to Calgary. M said, “He was a very nice guy, his name is Paulme Cameron. We’ll have to pay for our flights from Calgary to Winnipeg, but I don’t care. We will find the solution. We have to go home. »
Sunwing said it was working with other airlines, including WestJet and Air Transat, to find additional planes and reduce delays at some airports. The airline continues to offer affected customers the option to change the departure date once for free for flights scheduled between April 19 and 22.
Robbie Rana, a Toronto resident, said there is so little information available to passengers that it’s hard to say what to do. He and his wife are trying to get home from Cancun, but have been unable to reach a Sunwing representative on the phone and rely on social media as their primary source for updates. “Not knowing that this is the hardest part,” Rana said. Part of us just wanted to book with WestJet or Air Canada and be done with it, but that seems like a very expensive decision. »
While Rana said he sympathized with Sunwing and its staff, he was surprised that the airline did not have better contingency plans in the event of a data security issue. “I work in software, so I’m really surprised they haven’t been better prepared,” he said. If your system has been hacked, you should be aware of it. »
In an interview with CP24 Television on Tuesday, Sunwing President Mark Williams apologized for the inconvenience caused by the blackout, calling it a “horrific situation.”
In a statement provided to the Canadian Press on Wednesday, Sun Wing expressed regret. “We apologize to our customers for the ongoing delays and thank them for their patience and understanding during this unfortunate situation,” the company said, adding that customers will be informed of further updates regarding the outage.
Airline Choice – the third-party hacked company – is an Illinois-based company that provides airlines a technology platform to streamline passenger processing, self-service and compliance processes.
In an emailed statement on Wednesday, the company described the breach as a “data security event” that affected a limited number of its systems. “As a precaution, we have taken some offline systems to secure our environment. We also immediately launched an investigation to determine the nature and extent of the event.”
Airline Choice added that it has already started restoring several features. For its part, Sunwing noted that this server issue also affected other operators around the world.
Passengers whose flights are delayed by more than three hours due to these events may be entitled to compensation under Federal Air Passenger Protection regulations.
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