Storm Delays, Cancels Hundreds of Flights in ON and Eastern Canada

Image courtesy of United Airlines on Twitter.
Image courtesy of United Airlines on Twitter.

A winter storm coming from the U.S. midwest has brought heavy snow to Ontario and into Quebec and extending into the Maritimes, with up to 20 cm of the white stuff wreaking havoc again on winter operations at airports in these areas.

CTV News reports that, as of about 9:30 pm Wednesday, 25JAN, over a hundred each of departing and arriving flights at YYZ - close to 30 per cent - had been cancelled. With snow continuing into Thursday, 26JAN, "dozens" more are expected.

Flights in the U.S. are impacted, too. USA Today reports winter storm warnings and air travel advisories in place " from Missouri all the way to Maine." It says over 3500 flights had already been delayed or cancelled by mid-afternoon Wednesday, with many more expected into Thursday.

The report notes that in the U.S., "All airlines are required by the Department of Transportation to offer full refunds when a flight is canceled for any reason, but every major airline is also offering travel waivers for select cities, due to the storm."

Here in Canada, a number of airlines have put travel advisories and protocols into place for the expected duration of the storm:

Air Canada

Air Canada has posted snow advisories on its web site that remain in effect 'all day' on 26JAN for Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City, with a winter operations advisory for Halifax further east.

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For all of those gateways, the airline 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."

Customers are advised:

  • If your flight is affected, you can retrieve your booking to change your flight free of charge.
  • If you purchased your ticket with Air Canada Vacations, please contact them directly at 1-800-296-3408.
  • Check your Flight Status or call Air Canada's automated flight information system at 1-888-422-7533 before heading to the airport.


WestJet too, has issued travel weather advisories about delays or cancellations for Southwestern Ontario through to Quebec, which remain in effect through 26JAN.

For flights from Kitchener/Waterloo, London, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, the airline has put flexible change/ cancel guidelines into effect.

It advises guests to check the status of their flights before leaving for the airport.

Clients who made an air-only booking through a travel agent, are advised contact their travel agent directly.


Sunwing posted an alert on its web site with a weather advisory for ON and QC departures into 26JAN.

It advises:

Travellers with flight departures during this period are encouraged to sign up for flight alerts and check their flight status before travelling, and should allow plenty of time to arrive at the airport.


Transat has not posted any current travel weather advisories on its web site, but the same, good-sense advice to check with the airline before leaving for a flight applies.

Lynn Elmhirst


With a background in broadcast news and travel lifestyles TV production, Lynn is just as comfortable behind or in front of the camera as she is slinging words into compelling stories at her laptop. Having been called a multi-media ‘content charmer’, Lynn’s other claim to fame is the ability to work 24/7, forgoing sleep until the job is done. Documented proof exists in a picture of Lynn at the closing celebrations of an intense week, standing, champagne in hand - sound asleep. That’s our kind of gal.

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