Expert tips for travel during the winter storm weekend

The adverse weather that hit much of Canada on Friday and into Saturday is creating a host of problems for soon-to-be pilots hoping to see friends and family, or head to faraway destinations on vacation. this weekend.

At the same time, chaos at Vancouver International Airport began with a winter storm in the area on Monday, which caused a domino effect of flight cancellations and delays leaving some passengers stranded.

While this may be the time of year when miracles are supposed to happen, travel journalist Loren Christie told CTV’s Your Morning program that may not be the case for many trying. fly somewhere this weekend.

“I hate to be hopeless this time of year, but they’re telling you, if you’re talking to WestJet, don’t talk to them. Their contact centers are overwhelmed,” he said.

WestJet announced Thursday that it is actively canceling flights in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. Airlines are still recovering from Hurricane Vancouver earlier in the week, Vancouver International Airport said in statements posted on its website.

This December holiday season is believed to be the busiest travel time since the pandemic began, resulting in not many flights, Christie said.

“Hurricane Vancouver has had a terrible start to the week, it has created this domino effect,” Christie said. “This is not something that just happened today…they are still recovering from earlier in the week, systemwide,” he said.

For travelers with canceled flights, Christie recommends going home and making other plans. “Fill out that refund form,” he said.

If the flight is delayed, “wait and see, because the strange flight is leaving,” he said.

Prioritize getting direct flights to a destination if you can rebook, says Christie, as the weather in the area could have even more of an impact and risk keeping you home. Also, leave the gifts at home and take your luggage with you for travel, he says.

In Toronto, Pearson International Airport is “doing everything” possible to support airlines, but the weather will continue to have a “huge impact” on flights, said Tori Gass, senior communications consultant of the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, told CTV News Channel on Friday.

The airport holds planning sessions with airlines to discuss logistics and factors such as ice and snow on the runway or the time it takes to defrost planes, she said.

“There will be ice, snow and high winds, and these create difficult conditions,” Gass said. The conditions are also unsafe for workers, she said, and that can also lead to delays.

“It will go down to safety,” she said.


And for VIA Rail travelers, things are ahead and they’re getting ready for the weather, Christie said. “If you’re on VIA Train, you get an email,” he said.

Those intending to reach destinations by car may know that traveling in the area is “quite dangerous”. Christie says removing ice and snow from the car is the first step before hitting the road.

Additionally, Christie said he’s spoken to the CAA and recommends letting the person organizing your get-together or party know that you might not be on time and that “you’ll get there when you get there. “

For the host, “let the person come when they come, no texting, no calling,” he says.

The Ontario Provincial Police said in a statement on Twitter on Thursday that with severe weather underway, “please monitor weather and road conditions closely, and consider changing your travel plans during the holidays.” .”

Quebec Service 511 tweeted on Friday that a storm is raging and motorists consider postponing non-emergency trips.

According to the CAA’s website, drivers can make adjustments before leaving to prioritize safety. It recommends not to assume GPS arrival times will be accurate, to ensure clear visibility, to leave your emergency kit in your car and to put your phone away.

While driving, it’s important to keep your gas tank full, always wear your seat belt—and stay calm if you get stuck.

“Don’t lift heavy objects or try to push your own car,” it says. “To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, make sure your car’s exhaust is not blocked by snow,” it recommends.

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