Many Canadians are finding themselves with more questions than answers amid the COVID-19 pandemic — and that’s especially true for those who are abroad and wondering how and when they might return home.
Bob Price is one of those Canadians.
Price and his wife, Jennifer, have been in Manzanillo, Mexico, since early January, a return flight to Canada ready to go for March 27. But when the pandemic crisis worsened, plans changed.
They have a condo in Manzanillo and spend parts of every year there.
“When the call went out for Canadians in other countries to come home, my wife and I heeded that and instantly tried to make alternate travel plans,” Price told KTW from Mexico.
However, all flights headed out of Mexico were already full.
The Prices decided to wait it out and return on their originally scheduled flight on March 27, Unfortunately, WestJet then shut down all its flights and the couple does not know how — or when — they will be able to get home to Kamloops.
“I have been frustrated beyond words with Westjet,” Price said.
To date, he said he has had very little helpful information from Westjet, often spending up to an hour waiting on the line, only to be told his best bet might be to cancel his current tickets and try to find an alternate route home.
One alternate route he considered was a flight on Alaska Arlines from Mexico to Vancouver, with a return to Kamloops in a rental car, but when he discovered the flight would bring them through California and Seattle — both COVID-19 hotspots — they decided to continue looking for other options.
“My wife, Jennifer, and I thought that would be pretty irresponsible,” he said.
Price is now hoping for a repatriation flight to Kamloops through Calgary, a route he believes holds a better chance of avoiding infection.
Price made it clear his issues with Westjet have nothing to do with frontline employees with whom he deals daily. He said they are doing the best they can in a dire situation that is likely to get worse.
Rather, Price said, it is the lack of communication from the company in general that has him vexed.
Though he is amid sunshine and warmth, Price said he’d much rather just be back in Kamloops.
“I would far rather be in my home in Sun Rivers,” he said. “We want to come home. We want to do so responsibly, while not putting others at risk.”
There are other Kamloopsians out of the country and trying to get home, including two operating room nurses in Guatemala. KTW is in the process of trying to contact them.