‘Big disappointment’ for mom, 2 kids as Sunwing canceled big Dominican Republic vacation

A Sudbury mother said it was a huge disappointment to her young children to find out that their big trip to the Dominican Republic was canceled without warning.

Just months after announcing its return to northern Ontario, Sunwing once again pulled its service out of the Greater Sudbury and North Bay airports, affecting travelers like the Mott family.

That’s just one more complaint levied at Sunwing. The airline has received 7,000 complaints so far from customers unhappy with their performance during a turbulent holiday travel season that left many customers stranded abroad.

Mott’s discovery about the cancellation came about somewhat randomly, as she decided to just check the Sunwing app to see if any prices had changed since she booked the trip over the Christmas holidays.

“As I was looking and plugging all the info in and what not, it came time to plug in the Sudbury Airport as our destination for departure, and Sudbury no longer exists as an airport.”

She refreshed the app, to no avail. Sudbury had disappeared from the list of departure points.

Mott then called her travel agent who confirmed the flight was cancelled.

“I was angry, I was disappointed,” Mott said. “I wasn’t sure how I would tell my kids, because this was going to be our first vacation ever where we got on a plane together as a family and traveled outside the country.”

Mott, her husband and two children were supposed to go on the trip with their in-laws on March 29.

“My kids are five and seven, so for them, this is a big deal,” Mott said. “We’ve already bought them luggage, we’ve bought them new bathing suits. We were ready.

“So it was a really big disappointment to have to break that news to them.”

Mott said Sunwing offered her the option of flying to the Dominican Republic out of Toronto, but she was worried about the extra expenses and headaches of going to Pearson Airport.

Instead, Mott opted to get their money back.

In a statement, Sunwing said the decision was deemed necessary due to operational and business challenges that would prevent them from providing the services customers expect to receive when traveling with Sunwing.

The airline still is offering flights out of Sault Ste. Marie.

Sunwing executives told MPs in the house of commons standing committee on transport, infrastructure and communities on Jan. 12 that the airline canceled 67 flights between Dec. 15 and 31, in part because of staff shortages.

Sunwing president Len Corrado said the airline struggled after the federal government declined its request to hire 63 pilots as temporary foreign workers.