• Flair Airlines flight F8-673 experienced a confusing diversion to Winnipeg, lasting 10 hours, leaving passengers outraged and prompting police intervention. (149 characters)
  • Passengers onboard the aircraft were not served food or beverages during the ordeal, with flight attendants resorting to serving water from the lavatories. (151 characters)
  • Initially, Flair Airlines withheld compensation, citing the diversion as a weather-related incident, but later stated they would provide adequate compensation to passengers. (157 characters)

The night of July 17th was particularly arduous for a plane full of passengers taking a Flair Airlines service from Toronto to Saskatoon. As the aircraft neared its destination, it was announced that a diversion to Winnipeg would take place. After landing at the diversion airport, the airline eventually decided to return the aircraft to the origin airport of Toronto, leaving many customers outraged, prompting police to be dispatched.

Confusing reasons for diverting

Flair Airlines' flight F8-673 has a block time of three hours and 35 minutes. Indeed, data notes that many flights for this route have had a duration of about three hours. The July 17th iteration of this flight would become a 10-hour ordeal and a 'flight to nowhere.'

flair airlines flight path

The flight, operated by a Boeing 737 MAX 8, departed Toronto Pearson at 21:05 local time, some four-and-a-half hours behind its scheduled departure time of 16:30. According to passenger Carmen Szabo speaking with CBC News, as the aircraft neared Saskatoon, the flight crew told passengers a diversion to Winnipeg would be required.

"At first, they said, 'there's a storm; we can't land.' Then they said, 'the runway's wet; we can't land.' Then they said, 'the runway is actually under construction; we can't land."

Three and a half hours later, the aircraft landed in Winnipeg. The local time upon landing was about 23:35.

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Outrage in Winnipeg

Continuing to tell her story to CBC News, Szabo notes that while the aircraft was on the apron of Winnipeg airport, passengers were informed that the flight would be returning to Toronto. She says passengers were furious upon hearing the news, with many standing up and using foul language to express their frustrations. Police were then called in, boarding the aircraft to deal with the outrage.

During the time passengers were in the aircraft's cabin, it was reported that no food or beverages were served (or even sold) onboard. It was reported that one bottle of water was shared among passengers and that flight attendants resorted to serving water sourced from the aircraft lavatories. As we note in a 2019 article, there are essential reasons why passengers shouldn't drink tap water from the lavatory.

flight path return to toronto

Many passengers were allowed to deplane in Winnipeg, but other passengers (including Szabo) returned to Toronto. data shows that the aircraft departed Winnipeg at 02:06 local time, landing in Toronto approximately two hours later at 04:58. Including boarding and deplaning time at either end, the passengers ending up back in Toronto would have been in the aircraft for nearly 10 hours.

Airline initially withholds compensation

Historical weather data indicates that no precipitation was recorded in Saskatoon on July 17th and 18th. At the same time, however, a NAV Canada notice issued on May 18th stated that the airport would be undergoing runway, taxiway, and apron rehabilitation between June 1st, 2023, and September 30th, 2023. This would affect the airport's main runway, 09/27, but not its secondary runway of 15/33.

Flair Airlines first told passengers that compensation would not be offered as the diversion was a weather-related incident not covered under compensation rules. However, days later, the airline told CBC that it was working to provide adequate compensation to travelers.

So what do you think of this ordeal? How should the airline have handled the situation? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Sources:, CBC News, NAV Canada