NEWS

Sunwing ordeal leaves Ontario woman's wheelchair damaged

05/30/2015 08:07 EDT | Updated 05/30/2016 05:59 EDT
Rose Finlay, who spoke out this week after her "trip from hell" to Cuba with Sunwing, says the airline returned her missing wheelchair on Saturday but it is badly damaged.

Finlay, who has been without her $7,000 custom wheelchair since Thursday when she returned to Canada, said the chair's damage has left it "unusable and unsafe."

Sunwing, in a written statement to CBC News, said there were no visible indications of damage and that it hasn't heard from Finlay today.

"After thoroughly inspecting my chair, there is extensive damage to my chair and at this point it is rendered unusable and unsafe," she told CBC News by email.

"There are also miscellaneous dings and scratches as well as it being filthy."

Finlay provided photographs that she says shows damage to the chair's suspension and brakes, as well as its anti-tipping mechanism.

She also said the chair has a tag showing it went to Holguin, Cuba, which is odd as she never flew to that destination during her trip.

The Bowmanville, Ont., woman went to Cuba last week with her husband and said her holiday was marred from the start due to poor customer service. Finlay laid out the problems she encountered in a Facebook post which has been shared more 68,000 times.

Sunwing says 'no visible' damage

Sunwing has apologized to Finlay and blamed the error on "inter-departmental miscommunications."

Representatives from the airline returned the chair around 8 a.m. ET Saturday.

"We inspected and photographed the wheelchair and there were no visible indications of any damage," said Sunwing vice president of marketing Janine Chapman by email. 

"At this point, we have been unable to confirm the receipt of any communication to the contrary."

Chapman said the airline is still "very apologetic" for the time Finlay spent without her wheelchair and that it and the Cuban airport authorities are trying to figure out what went wrong. 

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