My husband and I were in Lisbon, Portugal this past summer to celebrate our 30th anniversary. Our departure time was 9am on August 3rd and we were up early that morning with plans to arrive at the airport for 7am. My husband had downloaded the Air Transat app on his cell phone to get updates on our flight status and sure enough when we woke up on the date of our departure, there was a notification that our flight was delayed until 11am. This notification with the beginning of our nightmare.
Instead of arriving at the airport for 7am, we arrived at 9am - still 2 hours before the scheduled departure time of our flight. We returned our rental car and proceeded to find the Air Transat check-in counter, but we couldn't find it. The digital flight status board indicated that the counter was closed. We asked multiple airport staff where it was, and they kept directing us to the same counter, where another airline was now operating their check-in. We were advised to continue to monitor the digital board for updates. My husband and I stood and watched the board and the Air Transat app. There was no change to the check-in counter status - it was still closed, and the app still said the flight was at 11am. The clock was ticking and we were getting more and more nervous.
We started to run around again looking for assistance. This time we were advised to go to the Swiss Port counter. When we got there, the Swissport counter appeared to be closed for renovation, it was boarded-up and no lights were on. There was no one there. We looked for more assistance and were repeatedly told to go to the Swissport desk. Finally an airport staff escorted us to this desk to confirm that it was in fact closed. My husband and I were desperate at this point. We were at the airport, the airplane was at the airport, but there was no Air Transat check-in counter 2 hours before departure, and no representation at the airport to assist us. We ultimately missed our flight, and had to find other flight home.
Since this time, I have received confirmation from Swissport that their staff were elsewhere in the airport and not at their desk; and also have photos of the closed Swissport desk. I have confirmed with the other airline operating their check-in counter where Air Transat was supposed to be, that they were there at 9am. Air Transat was not. I have provided all this information to Air Transat. However, they maintain that we were late, and refuse to compensate us.
I also filed a complaint with the Canada Transportation Agency and requested mediation assistance for this issue with Air Transat. Mediation is a voluntary process and Air Transat refused to participate. Disgusting! Something went horribly wrong that day that caused us to miss our flight, and Air Transat does not care.
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