Friday, December 1, 2023

Unhappy Interjet customers prepare to sue over ongoing cancellations

Disgruntled Interjet customers are preparing a class action suit against the Mexican low-cost airline over the constant cancellation of flights and its reimbursement practices.

The unhappy would-be passengers are also preparing a collective complaint to be filed with the federal consumer protection agency Profeco.

Pablo Martínez Castro, the moderator of a Facebook group called Queja Colectiva a Interjet (Collective Complaint Against Interjet), said that about 3,500 people have signed on to support the legal action.

He said that talks are underway with a law firm interested in representing the dissatisfied customers and that other people who have had bad experiences with Interjet will have the opportunity to join the lawsuit.

In addition to regularly canceling flights, Martínez said, the airline is guilty of two practices that have caused customers to lose significant amounts of money.

He said that when a flight is canceled, Interjet issues customers with vouchers for amounts less than they paid for their tickets. As a result they are forced to pay extra when rebooking a flight on the same route.

Martínez also said that Interjet is duping people by advertising extremely low-cost flights that never get off the ground.

Customers in possession of vouchers from previously-canceled flights use them to buy tickets for the cheap flights, he explained. But when they are canceled, Interjet issues them with a new voucher for the value of the cheap flight, compounding customers’ losses, Martínez said.

Customers have been complaining about the airline’s flight cancellations and reimbursement practices for months, and more than 900 filed a collective complaint with Profeco last month.

Interjet officials have said that the coronavirus pandemic has required the company to modify its operations and make short-term adjustments to meet changing demand.

But they appear to have fallen foul of the law in the process.

According to Mexican civil aviation law, in the event of a flight cancellation affected customers are supposed to be guaranteed another flight to their destination or must be compensated for the full value of the unused flight — minus any flight legs already taken — plus 20% of the ticket’s value.

Interjet, which has financial difficulties, is not the only Mexican airline against which complaints have been filed but it has upset more people than any other, according to Carlos Rebolledo Sánchez, a Profeco director in San Luis Potosí.

He said that customers should check with airlines to ensure that all the flights listed on their websites are in fact scheduled to go ahead.

“A lot of the time airlines announce their flights on their websites and even though they can be booked sometimes they’re not scheduled and are canceled. … They end up giving [customers] electronic vouchers that must be used in less than a year. … That has caused a lot of complaints,” Rebolledo said.

The bad news for Interjet doesn’t end with the looming legal action and its financial difficulties – the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has suspended its license to operate in Canada for failing to have liability insurance coverage.

The CTA issued an order on September 11 stating that Interjet was not in compliance with section 60 of the Canada Transportation Act. It said that Interjet’s license would be reinstated once it complies with the insurance requirements.

The airline has previously operated flights between Mexico City and Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

Interjet lost 90% of its fleet after 25 leased aircraft were repossessed by creditors in recent months. It is not currently flying any international routes.

Source: Milenio (sp), El Sol de San Luis (sp) 

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