Westjet and Air India aircraft sit idle at Vancouver International Airport after a snowstorm crippled operations leading to cancellations and major delays, in Richmond, B.C., Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022. The holiday plans of thousands of people have been disrupted as bad weather forces the cancellation of large swathes of flights across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Westjet and Air India aircraft sit idle at Vancouver International Airport after a snowstorm crippled operations leading to cancellations and major delays, in Richmond, B.C., Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022. The holiday plans of thousands of people have been disrupted as bad weather forces the cancellation of large swathes of flights across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Weather ruin your holiday plans? Here’s what to do if your flight was cancelled

Some advice if your holidays are being hurt by travel havoc

The holiday plans of thousands of people have been disrupted as bad weather forces the cancellation of large swathes of flights across the country.

Here are some frequently asked questions, and tips, about what to do if it happens to you:

Q: My flight’s been cancelled. Should I call the airline?

A: No. The airlines are very overwhelmed right now that you’re unlikely to get through. In fact, WestJet is advising that customers only phone the contact centre to make changes to a confirmed reservation– if your flight’s been canceled and you’re looking to reschedule, they won’t be able to help you.

Q: So, then what should I do? Just sit tight?

A: Basically, yes. If there’s an alternate flight option available, your airline will email you. But travel demand is so high and so many flights have been cancelled, there may be no available alternate flights.

Q: OK, so I’ve given up on getting home for Christmas. Can I get my money back?

A: Yes. If your flight is cancelled, your airline will email you with refund information. Also, you can decide to proactively cancel your travel plans — both major Canadian airlines are offering goodwill refund policies that allows you to request a refund or travel voucher if you have travel booked anytime between now and Dec. 26. Information is available on your carrier’s website.

Q: But what if I’m already in transit, and encountering delays?

A: If you’re stranded in an airport waiting for a connecting flight, Canada’s air passenger bill of rights requires your airline to put you up in a hotel overnight. For this specific situation, as a “goodwill gesture,” WestJet says it will provide reimbursement for up to three days of accommodation, up to $150 a night, for any guest stranded in a connecting city in Canada.

Q: I got to my destination, but my baggage didn’t. What should I do?

A: You can file a lost and delayed baggage report at your airline’s baggage service counter, or some airlines also allow you to file a report online. It’s best not to try to return to the airport to look for your bags — your airline will deliver them to you once they’re located.

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