‘We need to fly home’: Students stranded in Winnipeg airport amid flight cancellations

Flight complications sweeping across the country are making it difficult for people to come home for the holidays.

Crystal Xin, Grace Wang, and Lucy Wang spent Wednesday night camped out in the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport after their flight home to Vancouver was cancelled.

“I just want to head on home and just be somewhere,” Xin said.

The Toronto trio are students, and say they cannot afford the expenses of staying another three days in Winnipeg.

”The closest hotel is $500 per night and we don’t have that kind of money,” Xin said. “They say they are going to give us a refund – but who needs money now, we need to fly home.”

Xin discovered it would be cheaper to take a train to Vancouver and booked then a trip out Thursday night.

“My mom was saying you should be positive because they said the train is really pretty,” said Lucy Wang.

If everything goes according to plan, they will arrive in Vancouver early Christmas morning.

Kerri Lynn Gudz wished she was in Winnipeg.

The Brandon mother flew out last week to help her son , who lives in Campbell River, B.C., recover from surgery and go home for Christmas.

They were supposed to leave on December 19, but after the cancellation, the two have tickets for a December 24 flight.

Gudz says they are staying in a hotel in Courtenay until then, on her dime.

“I just find it really frustrating, to say the least,” Gudz said.

Michel Rosset, the communications manager with the Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA), says so far, 30 flights departing from Winnipeg have been cancelled since December 19.

“We’ve seen a number of delays and cancellations the last few days and are expecting more in the days to come,” Rosset said.

An average of 35 per cent of departing flights have left on time since December 19, according to WAA data.

Not everyone is feeling the effects of the cross-Canada flight issues. Gina Strati travelled from Ottawa to Winnipeg for the holidays. Her family picked her up from the airport decked out in Santa hats and Christmas gear.

“I know that’s not everybody’s experience this year but there were no delays, the weather was great, and it was a good flight,” she said. 

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