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Sunday,  June 23, 2024 8:23 AM 

Airlines alert travellers as Ontario & Quebec braces for snow, ice pellets

Airlines alert travellers as Ontario & Quebec braces for snow, ice pellets
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Another round of nasty winter weather is expected to wallop parts of Ontario and Quebec this week and Canadian airlines are sounding the alarm, warning of potential delays and cancellations.

As reported by the Weather Network, a “high-impact winter storm” will target millions across southern Ontario Wednesday (Feb. 22) and Thursday (Feb. 23), bringing “significant icing, power outages and hazardous travel” conditions.

The outlet is forecasting “heavy snow and significant ice accretion” brought on by Colorado lows.

Environment Canada is warning of power outages in and around Niagara, London and other parts of southwestern Ontario where it’s anticipating some 20 millimetres of ice buildup.

In Toronto, the forecast is calling for snow up to 15 centimetres, while a separate snowfall warning of up to 20 centimetres is in effect for Ottawa.

In the Quebec region, Montreal could see upwards of 15 centimetres of snow, according to reports

Pack your patience 

Sunwing took to its Twitter account on Tuesday (Feb. 21) to alert customers of potential flight disruptions.

Travellers with flight departures are encouraged to check their flight status and allow plenty of time to arrive at the airport, the tour operator wrote.


“We're doing all that we can to minimize disruptions to customers' travel plans,” Sunwing wrote on its travel advisory webpage.

Air Canada also posted travel alerts for the Feb. 22-24 period, in the aforementioned regions.

With flights possibly impacted by snow, Air Canada has revised its ticketing policy to make it easier for customers travelling on an affected flight to make changes to their booking without penalty (space permitting).

If a flight is affected, the traveller can retrieve their booking to change their flight free of charge, the airline says.

If a customer purchased a ticket with Air Canada Vacations, they are to contact ACV directly at 1-800-296-3408.

Air Canada recommends travellers check their flight status or call their automated flight information system at 1-888-422-7533 before heading to the airport.

WestJet, too, has issued travel alerts for Feb. 22-23 for Southern Ontario and Montreal.

The airline’s flexible change/cancel guidelines are in effect and guests are urged to check the status of their flights before leaving for the airport.

“If you made an air-only booking through a travel agent, please contact your travel agent directly,” WestJet says.

Porter Airlines has flagged Feb. 22-23 as possible days for travel interruptions due to the snowstorm and freezing rain conditions in Ontario and Quebec. 

Guests are encouraged to monitor their flight status here. They can also go to the My Bookings page to learn if their flight is eligible for complimentary changes.

A waiver may be issued for select flights, allowing passengers to change their bookings to fly earlier or later than scheduled, avoiding potential travel disruptions, Porter says.

The airline reminds passengers to ensure the contact information provided on their reservation is accurate “so we may notify you of last-minute changes to your flight status by email or text message.”

If a flight is cancelled or delayed by 15 minutes or more, a flight notification will be sent, Porter says.

“Passengers on eligible flights will be able to change or cancel their bookings online without penalty, space permitting," the airline says. 

If a flight is cancelled and the traveller has not received a notification, the customer is advised to visit the My Bookings page to view or modify their itinerary.

For Air Transat’s flight disruption/cancellation policies, click here.

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