Flight delays, cancellations frustrate holiday travellers at YYC Calgary International Airport

It’s the busiest time of the year at YYC Calgary International Airport as people return or head home for the holidays.

Upward of 50,000 passengers are expected to roll through the airport each day through Jan 3.

Airport officials expect the busiest days to be Dec. 22, 23 and 27, but many people travelling to Calgary on Monday morning are already dealing with the frustration of flight delays and complications.

“My flight was delayed six hours, and all of my luggage is still in Toronto. It’s been very bad,” said Louis Xao, who arrived in Calgary around 5 a.m. Monday.

“I’m very tired. I was supposed to get here at around 11:00 p.m., but I’ve had to cancel my hotel, car rental, and everything.”

As of 7 a.m., at least ten flights that were scheduled to arrive in Calgary on Monday morning were outright cancelled, while about a dozen more experienced delays.

Weather events including snow and poor visibility in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto are to blame for some of the delays, according to the airport officials, but passenger volume, staffing issues, aircraft maintenance, and delayed connections from other airports are also playing a role.

CTV News has reached out to WestJet and Air Canada for clarification on their respective delays, and what’s being done to accommodate customer concerns.

Meanwhile, YYC says it is aware of the travel woes some people are facing.

“We are monitoring the situation and continue to work with all our partners – from airlines, airports, security screeners to border agents and government officials – so we can jointly deliver a smooth, efficient experience for travellers,” read an email to CTV News from a YYC Calgary International Airport spokesperson.

Still, for travellers trying to get home for the holidays, their experience has been tainted.

“I was fine in Moncton, but there was an hour delay to fly to Toronto and then once I got to Toronto, there was a five-hour delay,” said Zoe Holyoake, a university student visiting home for the holidays.

“Now my luggage is left in Toronto.”

The Calgary Airport Authority is asking travellers to plan ahead and to prepare for potential delays before flying to save time and make their experience more enjoyable.

“We are recommending that you arrive early at the airport,” said Chris Miles, vice president of operations and infrastructure with the Calgary Airport Authority.

 “So, if it’s a domestic departure that’s two hours prior and for an international departure that’s three hours prior. We are also the first airport to offer a pre-booking service for security which is an opportunity for guests to go online to our website three days before arrival or departure, select your airline, flight number and a time when you’d like to go through security.”

With files from CTV News Calg’ Mark Villani.

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