Travel: Booking error forces Manitoba couple to cancel Mexico trip

Jared and Danielle Funk believed they would be enjoying themselves on the beach in Cancun Thursday but they’re still here in Manitoba.

The couple booked their trip through Sunwing Vacations two and a half months ago. However, just 24 hours before they were scheduled to depart, the company contacted them to say, there were issues with their booking.

“We got a call from them, saying there is no accessible transportation for you from the airport to the hotel,” Jared said. “And the other thing was, there was no accessible room booked for us.”

Jared is quadriplegic and uses a wheelchair for his mobility and having both accessible transportation and accommodations are a deal breaker for him.

“If you can’t get through the door, it’s not like you can remove the door to your room and give everybody access to it,” Danielle said. “So it’s very frustrating.”

The Funks said they checked in with Sunwing about a month ago to ensure their accessibility needs were taken care of and they say they were assured everything was fine. On Thursday, 24 hours before they were set to take off, a company representative called them to say there were issues.

“Our bags are packed, we’re, you know, excited to go,” Jared said. “My wife and I both booked off work. We’re ready to go enjoy Mexico. And they go, ‘Well there’s nothing we can do for you.’”

The Funks said a representative suggested they book and pay for their own ride from the airport which they considered but after finding out the hotel had no accessible rooms available, they reluctantly cancelled their vacation.

Gabor Lukacs, the head of passenger advocacy group Air Passenger Rights, said travellers are covered under Canadian law in Canadian airports, on the plane and in the airport of your destination.

He said it is not that straightforward when it comes to a situation like the Funks.

“It’s messy,” he said, adding though many people purchase vacation packages, he has heard of many things going wrong.

“I would not touch a vacation package with a 10-foot pole personally.”

In an email to CTV News Winnipeg, Sunwing said, “We will share this with the appropriate teams for investigation. We will be in touch as we have more information.”

On Feb. 26, a spokesperson for Sunwing said there were no accessible rooms or transit available for the couple.

“While multiple options were provided to Jared and Danielle Funk in response, we understand that these did not meet their requirements and they chose to cancel for a full refund,” the spokesperson said in an email.

“We pride ourselves on offering a vacation experience that can be enjoyed by all Canadians, however we deeply regret the inconvenience the customers in question experienced and that their vacation plans were impacted. Our special services team is corresponding with the customers directly to see if they can be re-accommodated on alternate travel dates of their choosing.”