ACTA Responds to Sunwing Not Protecting Commissions on Cancelled Programs

Sunwing issued a statement to media 25JAN addressed to travel advisors, confirming the airline would not be paying commissions on programs it has been cancelling in Saskatchewan, the maritimes, and elsewhere in Canada.

As Open Jaw has reported, ACTA has been advocating on behalf of agencies with Sunwing as first holiday travel delays and cancellations, then service cuts, affected countless mutual Sunwing and agency customers. Earlier this month, ACTA called for “fairness” from Sunwing:

“ACTA has received overwhelming feedback from travel agencies and independent travel agents across Canada who have been impacted by Sunwing’s cancellations. It is ACTA’s firm position that when a decision to cancel a travel program is made, travel agent commission should be part of the decision-making process, and commission must be protected.

“We are in continuous contact with Sunwing’s leadership team, and ACTA will continue steadfast advocacy with all stakeholders to ensure fairness for travel agencies and independent travel agents.”

Two weeks later, on 25Jan, Sunwing’s final word was not what ACTA members had been hoping to hear.

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While acknowledging “the support of advisors,” Sunwing’s 25JAN statement claimed that “News stories have exaggerated the travel disruptions and overstated the extent of route cancellations,” and also broke the bad news for advisors:

“We will not be protecting commissions for cancelled bookings and regret the inconvenience this has caused. However, we are pleased that many customers have chosen to rebook travel from alternate gateways through their advisors, and bookings remain strong for the months ahead.”

The statement adds that Sunwing is “fully committed to finding ways to make advisors whole again. This includes increasing commission to 10% on Sunwing vacation packages booked between January 19, 2023 and February 20, 2023, for departure up to May 31, 2023.”

That doesn’t make up for work already done, in ACTA’s perspective. Its response says the organization is “incredibly disappointed,” and “continues to call on Sunwing to do the right thing and protect commission.”

ACTA President Wendy Paradis added:

“Travel agents are a crucial support to suppliers and have invested significant resources in planning and rescheduling and cancelling travel due to Sunwing’s decision and are now being told they will not be compensated for their work.

“Further, ACTA members have consistently expressed their concern that Sunwing’s communication practices have considerably impacted customer relationships and the ability for travel agents to manage schedule changes and cancellations for their mutual customers.  In many cases, customers were advised before travel agents of cancellations.”

On its part, Sunwing acknowledges in its statement that, “We recognize there is more work to be done in rebuilding your faith in us.”

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