It’s a bad, bad day to be travelling in the Greater Toronto Area by any means as a winter storm brings hazardous conditions to local roads, highways, sidewalks, railways and bike lanes… but tarmacs might be the most problematic for those who’ve planned to escape the arctic blast.
Some say you never really leave Pearson Airport.
— Toronto Pearson Official (@YYZ_Pearson) December 23, 2022
WestJet, Canada’s second-largest airline, has “proactively cancelled all scheduled flights arriving and departing Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)” today due to what it calls a “significant winter storm system” scheduled to impact Southern Ontario and Quebec.
The cancellation impacts all flights coming into or out of Pearson beginning at 9 am today, Friday, December 23, until end of day.
Flights are scheduled to resume by Saturday, December 24, says WestJet, “dependent on weather conditions.”
“The service suspension will also impact 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 Elliot Trudeau International Airport (YUL),” reads a notice issued by the airline late Thursday.
“The proactive cancellations will impact 140 flights across the five airports and were made in consultation with airport authorities and NAV Canada. All impacted guests have been notified.”
Some 126 WestJet flights in Southern BC were similarly cancelled between Thursday evening and late Friday afternoon.
Due to weather, we’ve also proactively cancelled flights to and from Toronto, London, Ottawa, Waterloo and Quebec beginning at 9:00 a.m. EST this morning (Dec. 23) until end of day, with a restart dependent on weather conditions by Saturday, Dec. 24. https://t.co/6IrLP24ATj
— WestJet (@WestJet) December 23, 2022
While WestJet passengers at least got a warning that their flights wouldn’t happen as planned, many people at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport are arriving to find their flights seriously delayed or cancelled due to inclement weather.
As of 11 am on Friday, dozens of departing flights are marked as “cancelled” on the airport’s website from carriers including Air Canada, Delta Airlines, Korean Air, Air New Zealand, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, KLM, American Airlines, United Airlines, Air France, and more.
Dozens more are marked as delayed.
Our #airtransat pilot just compared conditions in Toronto to Yellowknife and bragged he is a real Canadian bush pilot (while dissing the other airlines with all their cancelled flights). #yyz #westjet #ONStorm pic.twitter.com/j2gyLHZVGT
— Volker Lauterbach (@volkerbach) December 23, 2022
As for arrivals, delays and cancellations are marked all over the board at Pearson for some flights with airlines that include Air Canada, Aer Lingus, United Airlines, Azores Airlines, Air France, Delta Airlines, Swoop, Air Canada Jazz, American Airlines, and Avianca Airlines.
The GTAA, which operates Pearson, is advising all customers to check with their individual airline for cancellations due to weather before leaving home. Even if conditions are calm where you live, you may be unable to fly into a city where the weather is wilin’.
Fortunately, if you’re not down to chance getting stuck at an airport for five million hours, some airlines are providing full refunds for customers who cancel their trips proactively.
With winter storms, a new goodwill policy lets customers cancel flights online and receive a full refund or voucher on tickets purchased on or before Dec. 21 for any flight between Dec. 22-26.
— Air Canada (@AirCanada) December 23, 2022
Anyone who wishes to proactively cancel a trip with WestJet between now and December 26 can do so and get a full refund by filling out this form.
“We are offering complimentary flight changes today, tomorrow and Saturday for passengers whose flights are affected by weather,” announced Toronto’s Porter Airlines on Thursday.
Air Canada is also allowing free itinerary changes to customers in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa on account of the winter storm. Kind of.
“If you currently have a reservation, Air Canada has implemented a policy that makes it possible for you to make voluntary changes to your itinerary if you purchased an Air Canada ticket no later than December 21, 2022, for travel between December 20, 2022, and December 28, 2022,” reads the major airline’s website.
“If you are scheduled to travel during the affected period, you can retrieve your booking to change your flight up to two hours before departure, free of charge, to another date between now and December 31, 2022, subject to availability in the cabin you originally purchased on your Air Canada flight.”