Canadians share travel plans ruined by flight anxiety

Thousands of delayed and canceled Canadian flights have caused major disruptions in recent weeks.

In the last week of June, more than half of domestic and international flights at major Canadian airports were delayed or canceled. The Epoch Times heard from three Canadians whose travel plans were disrupted on June 30 for various reasons.

An arm and a prayer (barely)

Faytene Grasseschi had a scheduled morning flight from Moncton, New Brunswick, on June 30 with a stop in Toronto en route to Winnipeg to attend a national prayer event on Canada Day. But the arm and pray almost didn’t happen. On the way to the airport, she received a notice from WestJet that the flight had been delayed until the evening.

Once at the airport, Grasseschi spent 90 minutes in line trying unsuccessfully to book another flight on the phone.

“I never answered the phone. But I finally got to the front of the line and the ladies there, to their credit, were wonderful. The whole staff, at least here in New Brunswick, was just amazing. They only deal with the hand they’ve been dealt,” Grasseschi said in an interview.

The staff told Grasseschi that she might miss her connecting flight to Toronto, but that she could try. After arriving at Pearson Airport, a staff person told her that it was too late and that she had been rerouted and would be flying out the next day.

“I said, ‘If it’s okay, I’ll try to catch the flight,'” she recalls.

“I just ran. One of the escalators broke down. I’m like, okay, where am I going? At this point, I’m just following the signs and doing my best. So I kept running. I’m absolutely dry – so raw [feeling where] your chest is beating”.

Grasseschi arrived to find 20 people ahead of her in line for the flight. Then, after boarding, the plane didn’t take off for at least 30 minutes. She finally arrived in Winnipeg at midnight and checked into her hotel at 1 a.m. on Canada Day.

“I think I’m the rare person who would have tried to make that flight,” she said.

“The only thing for me that was really heartbreaking was a lady right behind me in line trying to get to her son’s wedding. … People are used to a functioning airline system. People are not used to this.”

“Systemic failure at every level”

Caitlin Preston was scheduled to fly Air Canada from Regina to Montreal via Saskatoon on June 30. But the Prairie Gael School Irish dance teacher never got to watch her students compete in the North American championships held on July 15.

Her flight was delayed three hours and 40 minutes after boarding, she said, after passengers had to disembark because of an electrical problem where the light wouldn’t turn off.

“Then they decided after about 40 minutes that they were only going to fly to Saskatoon and not Montreal. And so I just hung out for a minute because I just got the vibe that it was a little disorganized and they didn’t really know what was going on yet,” Preston recalled in an interview.

Air Canada changed its mind and announced that the flight would be direct to Montreal. Then they returned only to Saskatoon, then only to Montreal. Preston returned from security and was told her flight had been cancelled

She received a message later that she was booked on the original Regina-Saskatoon-Montreal route, but for the morning of July 1st. A follow-up message said the flight had also been cancelled.

Then on Friday morning, a dance family who was at the airport leaving called her, saying, “They’re booking you to get on the plane to Vancouver.” That flight would have taken her to Montreal via Vancouver, but she didn’t make it and couldn’t find another flight that would work.

And she’s not sure if she’ll get a refund. “I filled out the air passenger rights form and they said, ‘Don’t expect to hear from us for a month,'” she said.

Preston called it “heartbreaking” as it “would be my first North American [championships] watching my dancers dance as a teacher. … And I think it was a little difficult for the kids as well, because they are in this major competition without their coach.”

“With everything starting to recover, part of that recovery is being able to travel and try to run my business. A big part of that is traveling to the races,” she added.

“It seems like it’s a pretty systemic failure at every level, so I hope they can sort it out. If it’s a staffing issue, then hire people. And if it’s an organizational issue, then find someone who can help.”

Children Released

Graduates of the 8th grade of French Immersion at École St. its cancellation.

Trevor Sobchyshyn’s daughter was among those affected.

“The kids were really excited and were very disappointed at the last minute. She raised funds and worked on a paper route for 1.5 years to prepare for it and now it’s nothing,” Sobchyshyn told The Epoch Times.

EF Tours is reimbursing approximately $2,800 in costs for the seven-day trip.

“A few years ago, 2020, when COVID first hit and the world shut down, all those trips were just lost. No refunds and no travel vouchers,” said Sobchyshyn.

“I’m upset that Canada is a joke on the international stage– mThe most canceled flights in the world and the biggest chaos at airports around the world,” he added. “You excuses, excuses, that’s all I see. Too many words and not enough actions.”

The Epoch Times emailed WestJet, Air Canada and Swoop for a response, but did not hear back.


Lee Harding is a journalist and think tank based in Saskatchewan and a contributor to The Epoch Times.

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