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Sunwing warning! Sorry for the length...

London, Ontario...
posts: 3
reviews: 1
Sunwing warning! Sorry for the length...

Just a warning to all consumers... Allthough Sunwing offers cheap tickets and when the flights get off on time the service in the air is nice if they wrong you under NO circumstances will they refund you at all. At the most they will offer you a coupon to use them again and call it a refund. Sunwing has a shady track record. I have done research and worked with TICO and the BBB to find a resolution for poor service and they refuse to acknowledge anything. I have found through investigation that they often are days late leaving for destination, take detours unannounced along the way to pick up passangers to fill the plane and switch hotels on you after you've paid and without for warning or refund. Often to a lower star. The following in my experience with Sunwing and their response to that.

I SEND THIS LETTER TO SUNWING'S EMAIL AND FACEBOOK CONTINUOUSLY FOR ALMOST A MONTH. ENLISTING FINALLY THE HELP OF TICO AND BBB. THEIR RESPONSE A JOKE.

Attention Sunwing and future Consumers, I am writing this letter for two reasons. First and for most I believe Sunwing has to be held accountable and take financial responsibility for their lack of customer service. Secondly future Consumers should be aware of the risk they are taking using Sunwing. I am generally a laid back roll with the punches kind of person. I am an avid traveler. Myself and my family travel every 3 months out of the country. Never have I experienced such insulting services as Sunwing has provided us. In other situations I have had good trips and bad luck on trips but never have bothered to complain. I am a tolerant person and can handle that fact that poop happens. In this instance it is without a doubt necessary to take action. Our experience with Sunwing goes as follows… In March 2011 we booked with Sunwing a vacation from Toronto to Varadero, Cuba. With in 24 hours of booking I find that the hotel they booked us with is closed for fumigation of bed bugs. When I contact Sunwing to explain I don’t feel comfortable being booked in a hotel that is currently being fumigated. I ask to switch to hotel that was listed at the SAME price but with better reviews. Sunwing charges us 100 dollars to switch. I don’t agree with this charge, Sunwing refuses to take responsibility for misrepersenting the hotels condition and would not change the reservation without this fee. I ignore the lack of customer service telling my self to be thankful and we will still enjoy our vacation having peace of mind we are in a clean hotel. The Sunwing rep at our hotel was often late or hard to find. Departure day we waited in our lobby for the bus to the airport for 2.5 hours and it did not show up. The front desk finally informed us our plane had been cancelled. Another 2 hours later a Sunwing rep showed up and said we would be departing the following day at 2 o’clock, she WAS aware our flight had been cancelled early that day. Had we been informed we would have enjoyed the day instead of packing up our room and preparing to leave. The following day we arrived at the airport to find out that there was NO plane there and no one knew when one was coming…we were stuck there 8 hours until we finally were sent home. On the plane we were promised vouchers that we never received. Upon returning home our travel agent and I contacted Sunwing’s customer service department to bring to their attention their lack of communication and customer service. Sunwing never acknowledged the complaint. November 2011 our family began planning for our 4th vacation of the year. Last minute. I came across Sunwing’s facebook page. I noticed 60% of the feedback was negative and engaged in several conversations regarding my first experience. Sunwing’s media team fed everyone the same generic answer regarding their troubles. Most people had ALREADY contacted Sunwing and the media team urged people to contact them again. Should these issues not be resolved the first time? Sunwing could clearly see my name and others and if they truly cared about customer service they could have EASILY contacted us. December 2011 we planned to take our five year old on his first vacation out of Canada. Having only two weeks to book and wanting to stay at a specific resort we had been too in the past we were lead into Sunwing’s hands again. Being an optimist we booked Varadero hoping the past was a string of bad luck. The morning of departure we noticed on Sunwing’s web sight our plan was delayed leaving from 4pm to 7pm. Wanting to reconfirm as we were traveling from London to Toronto to catch the flight. Plus traveling with an ADD 5 year old and did not want to be stuck in the airport long than needed, I called Sunwing’s head office in Toronto. The lady I spoke with ASSURED me and even double checked that our plane WAS leaving at 4pm. Arriving at the airport we learned it was in fact slated to leave at 7pm, the Sunwing rep stated our plane could not come in due to rain in Varadero (there was no rain in Varadero at all that day and all other airlines had NO problem leaving for Varadero). We were offered a 5 dollar airport voucher for food. Insulting, how does a 5 dollar voucher for a family of 3 even come close to accommodating this inconvenience? Sitting in the terminal we learned we were there with the Sunwing flights that were to leave for Varadero at 6am and 12pm. So the original story of OUR plane didn’t come in did not jive. Finally boarding a plane at 9pm with no communication of to what happened we were greeted by irate and rude flight attendants. People were politely explaining their stories of what happened through out the day looking for an explanation to this severe inconvenience and were met with responses such as “well I’m having a bad day too and this has nothing to do with me” “I’m in overtime and could take this crew off the plane but I’m staying to get you there” “Do you think I’m happy about this situation…I have to turn around and bring home MORE pissed off passengers”. Completely rude and unprofessional. Next we taxied out to the tarmac where the plane pulled over because they forgot paper work from a mechanic and were held for another hour. Then after a family finally got pushed over the edge from the stress of the situation and rudeness of the flight attendants they were kicked of the plane. The plane was turned around completely, luggage completely unloaded from the whole plane and reloaded we finally were taking off at 12:45 am. The whole time we were stuck in the aircraft we were refused water or any food and treated with total disrespect. Never did we ever receive empathy or a truthful explanation for the days events. We finally arrived at our hotel at 4:30 am, missing the whole evening and partial next day as we needed to catch up on sleep. Leaving us with only 3.5 days of the 5 we paid for!!!! Departing Cuba we were given a paper for each family member. Informing us of the change in flight time leaving Toronto to Cuba 5 days ago. (As if we didn’t notice our 10 hour delay in Toronto airport!) Plus a 75 dollar voucher each. It must be used in the year, only refundable buy spending more money with Sunwing but can not be used together. A RIDICULOUS gesture. One: I will NEVER use Sunwing again never mind 3 times in the next year. How they can even suggest that I invest more money into their company is beyond me?! Two: one of the vouchers is in my five year olds name which makes it obsolete considering he can’t book a vacation alone! Future consumers investigate the many complaints regarding this company. You are NOT guaranteed to get what you pay for. Be aware that Sunwing is also famous for NOT providing the hotel you booked changing last minute or when you arrive in your destination. I know a couple who was tossed into a new hotel even with their wedding planned at the original hotel booked! Sunwing did nothing to compensate. Sunwing treats their guests like herds of cattle and sweeps disgruntled vacationers under the rug. I highly recommend Nolitours they are very reliable and always pleasant. Sunwing you owe us a refund. Copies of this letter will also be filed with the Better Business Bureau and TICO. I sincerely hope that Sunwing will start to become more accountable for the customer service they say is SO important to them.

AND THEIR RESPONSE (FINALLY)

January 6, 2012 SENTVIA EMAIL

Dear Mrs. N We are in receipt of your complaint from Ms. Barbara Wesley at TICO. Our customers’ satisfaction is of our highest concern and we sincerely appreciate you having taken the time to provide us with your feedback. We sincerely regret to learn of your expressed disappointment in our services and will put forth every effort to ensure that your communication to us is addressed. We understand that in hearing of your friends’ experience, you were not comfortable with your originally purchased accommodation. We do wish to assure you that our destination representatives are present on a daily basis at all of our properties, had there been a point of concern with the hotel, our office would have been notified and corrective measures would have been taken to ensure the safety and comfort of our valued customers. In respect to your feedback, we made contact with our Product Department, fellow hotelier and destination representatives who have confirmed that there were no reports filed with regards to bed bugs being present at that hotel. We wish to assure you that all hoteliers within the Caribbean follow a regimented program of fumigation to their grounds to minimize the insect populations that are common in warm weather destinations. With reference to your first point of displeasure in having been charged a change fee, we wish to preface that all bookings are 100% final. This is advised to you at the time of booking and referenced on our website and in our brochures. Nevertheless, our reservation team complied with your request and while generally there is a charge for the change of your reservation (not uncommon in the industry) our records indicate that you were refunded that amount as a gesture of goodwill. We are concerned to read of your comments with regards to our Destination Representative. Our representatives have scheduled daily presence in all of our properties. While we ensure that there is more than one available to our clients during specific hours, there are times where they may not be at their locations as they be attending to other clients. Kindly note that we provide 24 hour contact details in the Sunwing binder located at the Sunwing desks in the lobby area. We can truly understand how frustrating delays can be and sincerely extend our apologies for any inconvenience caused. Understandably, our valued passengers are not aware of the intricacies involved in a flight delay and we humbly wish to stress that every effort is put forth to avoid and minimize these types of interruptions. For your reference, a carrier is not obligated to compensate for flight delays, nevertheless as our gesture of good faith, we ensured that all passengers were provided with $75.00 CDN future travel vouchers per person (which in accordance with the purchased package, not inclusive of taxes, represents a 50% of your flight cost). We sincerely regret that this gesture may not have met your expectations; however we remain that it is a fairly equitable gesture for the inconvenience encountered. We are terribly disappointed to learn of the treatment you’ve described by our in-flight crew members, as this is most certainly not the type of behavior that we condone. Please be rest assured that a copy of your correspondence has been sent to the Vice President of Cabin Services to ensure that this matter is addressed directly with the individuals who operated your flight. With reference to the Facebook venue that we have available to our valued passengers, we wish to advise that the statement of having 60% negative feedback is unfounded and inaccurate. We have quite a bit of following on Facebook with a great majority of positive feedback and interest from our followers. However, we do have a process in place for clients who wish to share with us their experiences and as generally there is investigation that is required to respond to the concerns raised, it is the Customer Relations Team that is better equipped to assist in those matters. We feel that it is important to address that Sunwing is provided allotments of accommodation from the hoteliers. There may be times, not often, but can indeed happen (not uncommon in the industry) where the hotelier will have oversold the property. When over bookings do occur, Sunwing always ensures that our valued clients are provided with fair and equitable options. Mrs. Nachtigall, the concerns mentioned in your letter have been forwarded to the appropriate management personnel. The points you have raised will be carefully reviewed and corrective action will be taken as needed. This process is of great importance to us, for we continually strive to improve our performance in order to assure our clients the most rewarding holiday experience. We certainly had intended to provide thoroughly enjoyable experiences and regret the situations described adversely affected your impression of our services. While we understand that you may not elect to purchase a future vacation with us, we do hope that you may reconsider and allow us a future opportunity to restore your confidence in our services. Sincerely, Alexandra Abreu-Manager, Customer Relations

When I posted Sunwings response on their facebook page I got defriended (lol) and all negative comments was erased on their page. I check in recently to the page and there are more complaints being posted then positive again...

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Air Travel, Business Travel
posts: 7,129
reviews: 81
1. Re: Sunwing warning! Sorry for the length...

Nasty read, just from lack of paragraphs. Content aside, if you ever in future want a response from a company, you have to remember you are writing to people, not a corporation. People need to be able to read it easily and you have to make them want to help you. Otherwise, you get written off as a bit of a nutcase, no matter how valid your complaint may be. You have to stay polite and factual without inferring motive or conspiracy to take advantage of you.

Another vitally important thing to remember...

While you may believe the squeaky wheel gets the grease... more often than not it simply gets replaced.

What the percentage of negative response is on FaceBook has absolutely nothing to do with your issue. That entire (off) topic detracted from your ability to reach a favourable decision. Most companies have a high negative response rate on forums. People who have no complaint have no motive to write. It is silly to think any public forum has a representative sampling of satisfaction.

London, Ontario...
posts: 3
reviews: 1
2. Re: Sunwing warning! Sorry for the length...

Thanks for the advice. Very valid. I agree its a horrible read. There were pharagraphs, I think they got lost in the past and copy...

It was written with a ton of frusteration. I normally am very level headed. I did contact Sunwing politely, privately and proffessionally on several occasions. My travel agent did for us first as well. Actually on both occasions using them.

In both circumstances they did not respond. I truely feel that they don't care at all about customer service. I am very insulted and feel very disrespected with the outcome.

I don't expect nor care about retrobution at this point from Sunwing. I just don't want anyone else to invest hard earned money in this company to possibley get taken advantage of.

Sunwing also has low rates and attracts low income families that can not afford to vacation often. I'd hate to see these consumers have a bad experience as well.

Thank you for reading. I completely understand your point of view.

Bangkok
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
posts: 14,091
reviews: 71
3. Re: Sunwing warning! Sorry for the length...

Hi,

I'll agree with everything Geo has pointed.. I spent a few months in my carriers customer support/relations department and will tell you that straight and to the point gets fast action.. long drawn out letters that paint huge pictures don't.

Facts are great-- but only facts that are **directly** attributable to the event.. everything else is-- largely a distraction.. and really only hurts your case, not helps..

The other thing that strikes me is that only from a single read, and without having the benefit of seeing other reply correspondences from the carrier to compare, it looks to me like they gave you a direct, personal and case-specific reply.. not a template-driven answer.. that's a plus and also tells me that they've actually looked at and into your case.

I think that in the end, their answer was somewhat candid and probably very factual.. I was surprised to see them address Facebook as I wouldn't expect them to 'wade into those waters' so-to-speak as that's a 3rd party issue... but they did and I also think that as much as you see it differently-- based on your experience, that Geo's point about negative response ratios not being a reliable barometer is accurate..

At this point, given the fact that they've apparently gone above what's required under the CoC and any applicable rules-- I'd guess that they call it a closed matter..

While I can fully appreciate you wanting to advise others or even perhaps to vent a little in a cathartic manner. However, in the end I suspect that barring something left out or the like, that your case has run its course and nothing further will be done by SW.

Travel Safe,

London, United...
Destination Expert
for London
posts: 48,046
reviews: 14
4. Re: Sunwing warning! Sorry for the length...

Faceplant, tweetface, whatever those things are called, may matter to some people, but whether or not a stranger 'likes' a company or product has no bearing on what many others may think of that company or product.

Jody, did you read the Terms and Conditions before booking with Sunwing? There is a great deal of useful information there, including details of what the airline can and will do in case of irrops or delays, and quite clear details that what is indicated on the website may not be what is available at the destination.

Charter airline companies operate a limiited number of planes. If one goes tech and / or if crew go out of hours then the company cannot have another plane ready for departure in an hour or so, nor can it rustle up crew quickly.

Edited: 3:25 pm, January 12, 2012
London, Ontario...
posts: 3
reviews: 1
5. Re: Sunwing warning! Sorry for the length...

I'd have disagree with the comment "whether or not a stranger 'likes' a company or product has no bearing on what many others may think of that company or product".

Word of mouth is a key ingredient for sales and marketing companies.

In regards to the comment about fine print stating that there are "quite clear details that what is indicated on the website may not be what is available at the destination" Im refering to that this company does not bring you to the destination you booked period, it often takes you to an entirely different hotel and place in the country. No where in the fine print does it say "you may get a completely different trip then you booked, may leave DAYS later even though you paid extra for a champange flight or we will offer you a refund if you screw up AKA a coupon to use us again.

And yes I do read the fine print and understand how airline compaines work. This wasn't my first time at the rodeo.

As GeoMedic and GOPBI have so elegantly stated. My point is being missed based on presentation. It's unfortunate that I can't convey properly what drove me to this point of rant. But I assure you it's warrented in this case.

If a handful of people investigate and reconsider using this company. I feel I have done a good deed here.

UK
posts: 2,544
reviews: 7
6. Re: Sunwing warning! Sorry for the length...

Here is Jody N not unexpectedly seeking a little TLC and yet receives such ungenerous comments and old adages about reading the conditions. She is quite correct those coys that do succeed in future will be those who take note of such immediate sites & the comments there.Many firms having a dedicated team.Council Directive 90/314/EEC might help herPersonally I find Small claims court useful haste Regmaiche

East Sussex, United...
posts: 4,301
reviews: 1
7. Re: Sunwing warning! Sorry for the length...

Sorry Jody, no offence intended, but to my tired old eyes that post was just unreadable. I say that as someone who has worked in a number of customer relations departments for major companies, including an airline.

The best made complaints, and the ones which are most likely to be dealt with in a timely manner, are those you can 'skim' to glean the facts, and resolve quickly, one way or the other.

Alberta
posts: 304
reviews: 32
8. Re: Sunwing warning! Sorry for the length...

I had an issue a couple years back (receiving a refund after a price drop) with Sunwing's sister company Signature. I used the advice given above. A short letter stating my issue, just facts, not emotion. My issue was dealt with quickly and both of us were satisfied. Try to sound logical and in control, and you will get a better response.

Bangkok
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
posts: 14,091
reviews: 71
9. Re: Sunwing warning! Sorry for the length...

Hi,

Regmaiche,

"Here is Jody N not unexpectedly seeking a little TLC and yet receives such ungenerous comments and old adages about reading the conditions"

I see your point, but I'd ask this.. Is it better or perhaps more 'beneficial' to get TLC or to find out exactly where you stand or what options you have..

I have nothing against some empathy or the like. but in the end, to me, if we (as a community) fail to give you the factual (as we know it) answer to your issue and only apply TLC and make you feel better about it, have we really done anyone- the OP or not-- a service? I'd argue not.

The often hard to accept fact is that sometimes, just sometimes, the OP did in fact make mistakes-- be that innocent ones, sometimes blatant ones.. but either way, I think that in the big picture everyone is better of learning what "IS" versus getting a feel-good answer.

Now, this does NOT mean it should be a case of "hey stupid, why didn't you do ___?" that's not helpful.. but I do think that we should err to the side of telling you and other how it is, versus telling you what you might want or like to hear.

Travel Safe,

London, United...
Destination Expert
for London
posts: 48,046
reviews: 14
10. Re: Sunwing warning! Sorry for the length...

'Council Directive 90/314/EEC might help ...' No it would not, as EU directives have no bearing on a Canadian based charter airline and a flight to and from Cuba.

Small claims court proceedings would be an exercise in futility as the Terms and Conditions which Sunwing use are very clearly set out for all to read. One must agree to them before purchasing the product Sunwing offer.