|HURRICANE SANDY WREAKS HAVOC ON FLIGHTS |
|Thousands of flights cancelled throughout northeast North America; TRAVELHotNews.com gets updates from Canadian airlines |
Hurricane Sandy, which has been billed as a “superstorm,” is wreaking havoc on air travel throughout northeastern North America, cancelling thousands of flights. |
Most airports in the U.S northeast have been closed for today. Air Canada said those cancellations have led to the cancellation of approximately 150 of its flights across Air Canada and Air Canada Express. Meanwhile, domestic flights within Canada and international flights are operating normally.
“We are monitoring the situation in the U.S. northeast very closely with local airport authorities and will be adjusting our schedule as necessary over the coming days as airports re-open, and [we will be] able to get our customers to their destinations safely and as quickly as possible,” Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick told TRAVELHotNews.com.
To facilitate rebooking, Air Canada also said that change fees have been waived for flights to and from U.S. northeast airports until Wednesday, Oct 31, for affected passengers.
“We thank our customers for their patience and encourage them to continue consulting our travel alerts at aircanada.com,” said Fitzpatrick.
WestJet has cancelled all flights into New York’s LaGuardia airport for the next few days.
“After careful consideration, we have taken proactive action to cancel all flights into LaGuardia today and tomorrow and re-accommodate guests until Wednesday. As of this morning, additional flights were cancelled due to weather and high cross winds in Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and St. John's, bringing us to a total of 30 cancellations today,” said Jennifer Sanford, media relations advisor, WestJet.
Those passengers travelling with WestJet, whose flights have been affected by Hurricane Sandy will be able to exchange or refund, according to Sanford.
“WestJet and WestJet Vacations are proud to offer a hurricane travel promise to our guests. When a hurricane/tropical storm advisory is issued, guests travelling with WestJet and WestJet Vacations, to and from the affected area during the effective dates, will be eligible for flexible exchange and refund rules,” she said.
Porter Airlines has cancelled all flights to and from Newark, Boston and Washington for Monday and Tuesday - the airline is anticipating flights will resume on Wednesday.
In addition, all Porter flights arriving and departing from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport were cancelled as of 3 p.m. today until 12 p.m. on Tuesday. Porter is encouraging passengers to verify their flight status at flyporter.com and email notifications will be sent in certain cases that allow for online confirmation of rescheduled flights.
In a statement, Porter Airlines said all flight change fees “will be waived for those whose travel plans have been affected by the hurricane.”
Air Canada, Porter Airlines and WestJet are all advising passengers to check their flight information with their respective websites before leaving for the airport.
According to the Canadian Hurricane Centre, the storm will hit Canada this evening and Environment Canada has issued wind warnings throughout western Quebec and southern Ontario. Thirty to 50 millimetres of rain are expected in southern Ontario with winds expected to cause the most damage - gusts of about 90 to 100 kilometres-per-hour can be expected.
Some estimates indicate the storm could impact as many as 50 million people. The death toll from Sandy rose to 69 this afternoon after the storm moved through the Caribbean late last week.
In the U.S., President Barack Obama has declared emergencies in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, authorizing federal relief work to begin well ahead of time.