If getting your flight delayed is not bad enough, imagine having your departing flight diverted to a whole different country.
Khayli Bruton, 27, told AsiaOne how she and her family were left hanging after their Singapore Airlines (SIA) return flight was moved from Vancouver, Canada to Seattle, US, which is about a three-hour drive away.
This Singaporean told AsiaOne that her family booked tickets on Jan 3 this year, planning to fly to San Francisco International Airport in September and return from Vancouver International Airport to Singapore in October.
Despite costing the family some $11,638, Bruton said: “Convenience and comfort has always been a top priority for my family when it comes to travel, which was why it was a no-brainer that we were going to fly with Singapore Airlines since they were the only airlines that had direct flights to San Francisco and from Vancouver.”
Bruton shared that their trip to Canada has been a long-awaited journey to visit relatives and friends that they have yet to see since the Covid-19 pandemic.
SIA suspending direct flights from Vancouver to Singapore
Little did they know, that their much-anticipated family trip would encounter so many changes.
Bruton shared with AsiaOne that she first received an email from SIA on Feb 16, which informed her of a 10-minute delay in landing from Singapore to San Francisco.
“Understanding the fluid nature of flight schedules, not a cause for concern, we thought,” Bruton added.
However days later, on Feb 22, they received another email from SIA stating that “due to operational reasons, we have now rebooked you on the next available flight, SQ27, departing on Oct 5, at 10:20am.”
Without any mention about the diversion of the departure destination in the description, Bruton thought that it was just another flight delay.
However, upon closer look of the flight details, Bruton realised that her departure from Vancouver International Airport was changed to Tacoma International Airport in Seattle.
Thinking that it might be a human error, Bruton called SIA customer service, and they affirmed that the change in flight location was no blunder.
Bruton told AsiaOne that she was informed that the change in flight location was because “from October 1, 2023, onwards, they ceased operations on the Vancouver to Singapore route.”
SIA announced in Feb that it will be suspending flights to and from Vancouver in October saying that “the group will continue to monitor the demand for air travel, and adjust its capacity accordingly”.
SIA offered full refund: Bruton
Bruton added that even though an email was sent about the change in flight, “the email did not include an actionable button to confirm that I understood the changes made to my flight”.
“I feel that SIA should have made more of an effort to ensure that their customers understood the changes and acknowledged the changes instead of requiring no further actions on our end,” she added.
“It was only when I called in when they informed me that they were no longer operating flights from Vancouver to Singapore.”
Hoping to get some sort of compensation for the sudden change of flights, Bruton told AsiaOne that she was disappointed with the service offered by SIA.
“SIA has regrettably declined any form of compensation for the connecting flight from Vancouver International Airport to Tacoma International Airport in Seattle.” she shared.
Other than a connecting flight, Bruton said that SIA offered the family a full refund if they were to cancel their return flight from Seattle to Singapore.
Concerned with the lack of service recovery from SIA, Bruton expressed her unhappiness in an email to SIA stating that she’s disappointed at how they handled the situation.
After much deliberation between Bruton and SIA, she told AsiaOne that SIA agreed to move the date of their Seattle flight from Oct 5 to 7, giving them additional time to make their way from Vancouver to Seattle.
However, Bruton said they still have to incur additional costs on either booking a flight from Vancouver to Seattle which would cost approximately $2,000 for the family of four or book a private car to drive them to Seattle which will be approximately $1,200.
Bruton told AsiaOne that her family was disheartened by the service provided by SIA saying: “The tone via their telephone service and written replies felt mechanical, lacking a genuine connection.”
“I hope they’ll try to do better and may others not have to undergo this stressful ordeal that I’ve experienced.”
AsiaOne has reached out to SIA for comment.