CARLSBAD, Calif. (KGTV) – It opened with much fanfare back in September, but after a two week period of cancellations February, Carlsbad-based airline, Cal Jet was still dealing with setbacks in early March.
“I can’t say that it didn’t [suffer],” said Cal Jet’s President, George Wozniak of their reputation.
On Friday, he stood on the tarmac at McClellan-Palomar Airport, personally apologizing to travelers boarding a plane at 4:15 p.m. that had been originally scheduled to leave at 9 a.m.
Wozniak said the passengers had been notified of the delay earlier in the day. The plane had experienced mechanical problems the night before and had to fly to Arizona last night for repairs.
The delays come after the airline canceled nearly two weeks of flights, beginning just before President’s Day weekend.
Wozniak said the plane they use, which is owned by Elite Air, had also been booked by NCAA basketball teams.
“It was either a crew or aircraft scheduling problem, where if they had one pilot get ill and not show up, it could throw the whole thing off,” described Wozniak.
They could theoretically still use it, but rather than risk more abrupt cancellations, he decided to clear the schedule until they could get the plane back full time.
“It was not an easy decision to make,” said Wozniak.
Cal Jet’s Yelp page says why. After the cancellations, the page was flooded with one-star reviews.
“If I could give zero stars... or even a negative star review, I would confidently put this airline in that category,” wrote Rachel L.
Another reviewer, Justin K. said his return flight was canceled last minute, forcing him and his pregnant wife to find last-minute accommodations back to Carlsbad.
We finally decided to rent a car and drive 5+ hours with traffic, with my pregnant wife, stopping every couple hours for her to walk around for medical reasons, making the drive even longer.
Wozniak said all the customers received refunds and a $200 flight voucher.
He said they plan on expanding their coverage to several other cities later this year, which will include new planes as well.
“We feel very confident going forward we’ll have the extra crew and airplanes necessary to fulfill that travel mission for these people without any real problems.”