WestJet offers to help Calgary couple bring Ukrainians to Canada, but only for this month Pipa News

WestJet offers to help Calgary couple bring Ukrainians to Canada, but only for this month

WestJet is offering some temporary support to a Calgary couple’s charity, which they initially shut down late last week.

Michael Garnett and wife Rebecca Ryder – a pilot for the airline – are using donated staff “friend passes” to bring hundreds of Ukrainian refugees to Canada during the past four months.

Buddy passes are standby tickets that an airline gives employees as an allowance to share with family and friends. The passes are free but users still have to pay taxes.

On Thursday, the Calgary-based airline asked them to stop using Employee Friend Passes in this way, saying they have other established programs to support charitable causes and refugees.

50% off till the end of September

But on Monday, after CBC News published a story about it, WestJet offered the couple’s charity a 50 percent off code until September 30. Garnett says that although it is something, it is a very short-term settlement.

“They’re offering us tickets for about three to four times the price we paid for nine days, so we’re not incredibly happy with that offer. It’s something, it’s a starting point, but it’s a lot. The people here are not going to bring anything,” he said.

“We’ve looked around and researched the internet for the best prices to get people in the most efficient way, and we know it’s through our Friend Pass program.”

provide other support

Garnett says the past week has also been a positive one for her charity, called Help From Canada.

Monetary donations have come in, and they have also heard from Montreal-based airline, Air Transat, which they said offered to work with the charity on discounted flights for Ukrainian refugees.

“They’ve reached out and been incredibly helpful,” he said.

“They’re working with an organization called 4Ukraine.ca, and they’re doing a great job partnering with us in the long term.”

Charity founders reflect on the success they have provided a way for Ukrainian families

His organization has helped nearly 200 Ukrainians fleeing the war with flights to Canada.

In a statement, WestJet said that following an application made through its Airport Community Giving Program on September 18, the airline’s community investment team provided the charity with details the next day about how it could work together, including Offer to provide promo code included. ,

“This process has not changed and is an important clarification that the discount code offering was not facilitated in any way exceptionally, it was based on an already long-standing formal process,” said spokeswoman Morgan Bell. .

“Help is available from May 2022, and WestJet originally provided this charity [or its] Associate with support via internal request with the same flight discount code in May 2022.”

In an earlier statement to CBC on Sunday, the airline said the Dost Pass is to be used “only for personal leisure travel.”

“They are not a guaranteed mechanism for travel as they are only offered on a standby basis and may result in situations where users are not able to complete their travel journey,” said spokeswoman Morgan Bell.

‘We can assure them’

Garnett said aid from Canada has always known that these passes are for standby travel only, and has still managed to bring about 200 Ukrainians to Canada.

“This is the conversation we’ve been trying to have with WestJet since last Thursday. They said they had some concerns and instead of talking about those concerns with us, they just shut it down,” he said.

“Of course we have a concrete plan. We’ve been doing it for about four months and we have host families in Dublin, in Paris, in Barcelona and in Rome. We have a group of nuns who take people in when They don’t on their first flight.

“So in my mind, if they had concerns about these things, that’s all they had to ask. We can give them reassurance.”

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