- A woman says a stranger drove her family from Seattle to Vancouver after their flight was canceled.
- According to Chelsea Smith, another flight was offered but it wouldn't arrive when they needed it to.
- Smith said there was a long line of passengers at Seattle but no staff were there to check in bags.
A passenger says a stranger drove her family from Seattle to Vancouver so they could make their cruise after a last-minute cancellation by Air Canada.
Chelsea Smith, her husband, and their three-year-old son had been due to fly from Seattle-Tacoma Airport to Vancouver at 6 a.m. on Sunday to go on a cruise. However, no staff were working at the Air Canada bag drop, despite a long line of passengers waiting to drop off their luggage, according to Smith, who made the comments in a TikTok video.
"No one ever showed up to the ticket gate to take our bags," she said.
In an interview with Canadian news outlet Daily Hive Urbanized, Smith said: "The lineup at the airport was just all the way down the aisle. There were just hundreds of people waiting."
The flight was suddenly cancelled when it reached 6 a.m., and other flights scheduled to depart that morning were canceled too, Smith said in the TikTok video.
An Air Canada spokesperson told Daily Hive Urbanized that the flight was canceled because the third-party provider that operates the airline's flights from Seattle didn't have enough staff. All passengers were rebooked onto flights within 24 hours, the spokesperson said.
Smith said in her video that Air Canada offered to book her onto a flight from Seattle at 4 p.m., but that this would mean she wouldn't be able to catch her cruise. "We thought we were screwed, that we were gonna miss our cruise," she said.
Air Canada did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment made outside of normal working hours.
Annie Nguyen, who had dropped off her mother at the airport that morning, met Smith in the line and offered to drive the family to Vancouver for free after their flight was cancelled, Smith told Daily Hive Urbanized. The journey of about 140 miles took around two and a half hours, she added in the TikTok video.
Nguyen "had no reason to be in Vancouver, and during the drive she told us she had to drive another three hours to be on the other side of Washington for work that evening," Smith told Daily Hive Urbanized.
Travel this summer has been tainted by chaos at airlines and airports. Passenger numbers are almost back to pre-pandemic levels, but airports and airlines don't have as many workers as before due to COVID-19 layoffs, strikes, and a spike in resignation rates.
This has led to flight delays, cancellations, long lines for security, and lost luggage. One passenger told Insider that Air Canada lost her dress when she flew to Greece for sister's wedding and then delayed her return home by more than 24 hours.