BC Ferries sold reservations for non-existent sailings on holiday Monday

Some BC Ferries passengers arrived at their departure terminal Monday only to learn the sailing they reserved weeks in advance never actually existed.

And with ferries already jam-packed with travellers returning home at the end of the B.C. Day long weekend, some families have subsequently found themselves trapped and unable to return home for another night.

BC Ferries has apologized online and told passengers that sailings were "incorrectly built into our system" on the holiday Monday.

"We sincerely apologize to all customers affected and are giving full refunds for the inconvenience," the company wrote on Twitter.

BC Ferries has not responded to CTV News' requests for more information, including how many passengers were impacted in total and how the mistake happened.

Impacted travellers have said they booked their sailings through the BC Ferries website like any other.

Oliver Fitt, who reserved a direct ferry from Tsawwassen to Salt Spring Island that was supposed to leave at 9:10 a.m., said he even received a reminder email a few days ago.

But when he showed up at the terminal, he learned there was no such sailing scheduled.

"Seems a little bit strange," Fitt told CTV News. "Clearly some things aren't working very well within BC Ferries that need to be addressed."

That sailing was supposed to pick up more passengers on Salt Spring at 10:50 a.m., make another stop at Pender Island at 11:40 a.m., then return everyone to Tsawwassen.

One traveller said she was waiting in the vehicle lineup at the Long Harbour ferry terminal when a BC Ferries employee began approaching cars one by one and informing them their reservation was no longer valid.

Multiple affected passengers told CTV News they felt sorry for the employees working the terminals, who appeared to be just learning about the issue as it was happening.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Angela Jung