Photo: Twitter: Paul Hyland
Chaos reigns at Vancouver International Airport after a snowstorm caused all flights to be grounded.
Several Kelowna residents have been stranded at YVR for over 24 hours with no idea when they will make it home.
Nicole Millard and her family were returning home from a trip to Cancun when they were hit by one flight after another, and finally a canceled flight.
“We were supposed to leave early Sunday morning and everything was fine. We boarded our plane, boarded and sat on the tarmac for four hours. We sat up front and overheard the conversation with the captain and flight attendants saying we ran out of fuel and that’s why we didn’t leave,” she said.
“They only had enough fuel in there to hop skip and jump to Kelowna. We waited four hours on the tarmac to de-ice and by the time we got to the de-icing station we didn’t have enough fuel to take off for them to turn around. Then we waited another hour on the tarmac waiting for a goal.”
Millard says by the time she got to the gate, the crew had worked the maximum hours of their day.
“So the crew was escorted off the plane and then they canceled the flight,” she said.
According to Millard, nearly 300 people had to get off the plane and were told to find a hotel.
Because the cancellation was due to weather conditions, Air Canada did not issue passengers with a voucher or compensation. Passengers are only entitled to compensation if delays and cancellations are within the airline’s control.
Millard says she took a shuttle to one of the last available hotel rooms in the Richmond area.
“We should get out then [Tuesday] Tomorrow they canceled our flight again and we were not rebooked.”
Milliard says she was told all flights to Kelowna are booked through December 26.
The family says they left their car in Vancouver because their outbound flight between Kelowna and Vancouver was cancelled, so they drove down to catch their flight from Vancouver to Mexico.
Upon returning, Milliard’s husband was scheduled to drive home while the rest of the family flew to Kelowna.
Milliard says his husband drove all the way back to Kelowna before the rest of the family flight was canceled entirely. He’s now driving back from the Okanagan to pick her up.
Millard says because she chose to drive home instead of flying, Air Canada gave them a refund for their flight and an extra cash credit.
Another Kelowna resident, Kate, is in a similar situation.
She says she had to fly to Vancouver on Friday to take an exam and was due to return on Sunday, but never made it out of Vancouver airport.
“It kept getting delayed and eventually our flight got cancelled. We were told to go to the hotel and rest and to change our flights the next day, which we did.”
“The next day, my flight with Flair Air was supposed to leave around 7am and it kept getting delayed. They postponed it about five times and finally they got on us and held us on the plane for over an hour and a half to de-ice and finally we were told it wasn’t safe and we were all told to get off.”
Kate says they were also told the cabin crew had reached their maximum working hours.
“We were not given any information but were told to wait for an email from Flair Reservations. The next day I wake up and get a reservation. They rebooked us to return to Kelowna on December 30th.”
Kate says she’s working on getting a friend to take her home.