CALGARY — With extreme winter weather conditions still impacting flight operations in B.C., and with a massive storm set to hit parts of Ontario and Quebec today, WestJet has announced blanket cancellations of flights in and out of airports including Pearson Airport and Vancouver Airport.
Vancouver and the Southern B.C. region are now dealing with a second significant winter storm system, after chaos at the airports earlier this week due to record snowfall and then frigid temperatures.
WestJet announced last night it had proactively cancelled all flights arriving and departing Vancouver Airport beginning at 11:50 p.m. PST Thursday until late afternoon today, dependent on weather conditions.
WestJet has also proactively cancelled flights at Abbotsford International Airport (YXX), Victoria International Airport (YYJ), Nanaimo Airport (YCD) and Comox Airport (YQQ).
Meanwhile the storm now settling into southern Ontario and Quebec prompted WestJet to proactively cancel all flights arriving and departing Toronto Pearson beginning at 9 a.m. EST today, Dec. 23, until end of day, with a restart dependent on weather conditions by tomorrow, Dec. 24.
The service suspension also impacts additional airports in Southern Ontario and Quebec including Ottawa International Airport (YOW), London International Airport (YXU), the Region of Waterloo International Airport (YKF) and Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL).
In southern Ontario and Quebec, WestJet’s proactive cancellations will impact 140 flights across the five airports. The B.C. cancellations impact 126 flights across the five airports. All cancellations were made in consultation with airport authorities and NAV Canada, and all impacted passengers have been notified.
In an update this morning at 9 a.m. MT, WestJet was reporting 300 cancellations so far for today, Dec. 23. WestJet says 50% of its planned schedule has still been able to operate.
So far WestJet is reporting 15 cancellations for tomorrow, Dec. 24.
“To our guests, we know how important your travel plans are at this time of year and every single WestJetter feels the weight of not being able to get you where you want to be. We sincerely apologize for the continued disruption many have or will experience and appreciate your continued patience and understanding. Our teams on the ground, in the air and behind the scenes are working tirelessly to recover our operations, while trying to limit further disruption to important holiday travel plans,” said Diederik Pen, WestJet’s Chief Operations Officer, in a statement.
“The prolonged and extreme weather events that continue to impact multiple regions across Canada are unlike anything we’ve experienced. With the additional storms forecasted for British Columbia, Southern Ontario and Quebec, we are taking a proactive and measured approach to protect our operations and prioritize recovery flying this weekend. The decision to stand down more flights is extremely difficult, but it is necessary, so that we can be best prepared to safely fly as many guests, with as little disruption as possible when the weather improves,” he added.
WestJet has issued a Q&A for anyone looking for more information.
Q. Where do I find information on cancellations by airport?
A. “The best and most accurate way for regional airport impacts is to visit our flight status page where you can browse by airport arrivals and departures for up-to-date information on cancellations and delays: https://www.westjet.
Q. Will there be more cancellations?
A. “We are monitoring multiple weather systems and anticipate further weather impacts in the coming days and will be publishing proactive cancellation packages. Any guest with confirmed travel between now and December 26, is able to proactively cancel a flight only reservation through the following REFUND FORM. Any guest who proactively cancels their flight will receive a full refund to original form of payment.
“Additionally, enhanced flexible change and cancel policies remain in place between now and January 8, 2023, provided changes are actioned before December 26.”
Q. What advice do you have for guests who have had flights cancelled?
A. “The following update WestJet Operations Update – Guest information for cancelled flights was just published online Tuesday evening for guests and is a helpful resource.
Q. What about accommodation for guests stranded in Canadian a connecting city?
A. “Above and beyond WestJet’s obligations, as a gesture of goodwill for any guest stranded in a connecting city in Canada, we will provide reimbursement for up to three days for accommodation up to $150 CAD per night.”
Q. How do I decipher if I am interacting with an official WestJet website or social media account?
A. “We have received a number of reported cases related to fraudulent websites and social media accounts impersonating our business. While our cyber security team is diligently working to address this ongoing matter, we are advising all of our guests to remain vigilant against potential scams and fraud and asking that they double-check that the WestJet account they are interacting with is verified with a checkmark, and that the advertised phone number is ours before dialling at www.westjet.com/contact. Additional information on common frauds and scams targeting WestJet guests, including paid ads, phone scams, free flight giveaways, and misdial scams can be found on WestJet’s advisory page under ‘scams’.”