Porter Airlines to change passenger diversion policy after Star complains
That was fast.
I flew Porter Airlines on Sunday and was diverted from the Toronto island airport to Ottawa. I didn't like the way they treated passengers in Ottawa as they failed to have anyone on hand to properly explain their policy. I wrote a column about it for the Saturday Travel section, talking about the lack of communication with passengers in Ottawa Sunday night and also noting that Air Canada and WestJet say they pick up the cost of hotels for passengers who get diverted to other airports. Porter said it provides discount coupons for hotels, but not the whole cost of a room or the transportation to get there, or the cost of a meal while folks wait for their flight.
The column was posted on our website today. I was sitting at my desk at 1 Yonge St. today shortly after noon when I got an email from Porter president and CEO Robert Deluce apologizing for the incident...and promising a very quick change in policy. Rather than rework the note, I'm reprinting it here in its entirety:
Firstly, I would like to apologize for your recent Porter flight experience when your aircraft was diverted to Ottawa due to weather conditions in Toronto. While weather is not controllable for any airline, your description of how these particular flights were handled is causing us to reevaluate existing policies and how they are interpreted.
The bottom line from this point forward is if you depart on a Porter aircraft and do not end up at your intended destination, we will take responsibility for all passengers and cover appropriate costs, such as hotel, ground transportation and meal allowances. This applies in all circumstances, including weather. The details are being finalized, but it is a priority to have this in place as soon as possible.
Your experience does not meet the Porter service standard and we will do our best to ensure it does not happen to anyone, again. I appreciate you bringing this to our attention and hope that we can welcome you aboard soon. Please contact me if you have any further questions.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Porter Airlines Inc
Good for you, Bob, if I may be so bold. One sign of a good executive is to recognize a mistake when they've made one, and you've done that. Covering passenger's costs for a diverted flight, even when it's due to weather and not a problem of your own making, is the right thing to do and it's in keeping with Porter's emphasis on service.
I might add I feel kinda good about maybe making a difference, albeit a relatively small one. As Travel Editor I get to go on nice trips and write stories about exotic places, so it's nice to balance that off with a story that should help future fliers save a couple hundred bucks.