Hundreds Of Flights Cancelled By Westjet & Sunwing Due To Winter Storms Across Canada

Flights out of Ontario and BC have come to a halt.

Airplanes parked in the snow.

Airplanes parked in the snow.

Two major Canadian airlines are taking drastic measures in advance of winter storms that are bound for parts of Ontario and British Columbia days before Christmas.

WestJet and Sunwing have both announced a swath of weather-related cancellations, leaving holiday airline travel out of both provinces at a standstill and holiday travel plans completely wrecked.


"Due to a significant winter storm system scheduled to impact Southern Ontario and Quebec regions, WestJet has proactively cancelled all scheduled flights arriving and departing Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) beginning at 9:00 a.m. EST on Friday, December 23 until end of day," the airline said in a statement Thursday evening.

Those cancellations extend to its operations throughout the rest of Ontario and Quebec, with WestJet service also being cancelled into and out of Ottawa International Airport (YOW), London International Airport (YXU), the Region of Waterloo International Airport (YKF) and Montreal-Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport (YUL).

In all, WestJet said these "proactive cancellations" will impact 140 flights across those five airports.

A restart on December 24 is "dependent on weather conditions."

"The prolonged and extreme weather events that continue to impact multiple regions across Canada are unlike anything we’ve experienced," said WestJet's Chief Operations Officer, Diederik Pen, in a statement. "With the additional storms forecasted to impact British Columbia, Southern Ontario and Quebec, we are taking a proactive and measured approach to protect our operations and prioritize recovery flying this weekend."

In B.C., WestJet had suspended service at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) as of Thursday evening, "until the late afternoon of Friday, December 23, dependent on weather conditions."

Flights have also been cancelled at Abbotsford International Airport (YXX), Victoria International Airport (YYJ), Nanaimo Airport (YCD) and Comox Airport (YQQ).

That move impacted another 126 flights.

Count em' up and WestJet has cancelled 266 flights over the course of one day because of these two major winter storms and there's no telling if operations have any chance of resuming on schedule.

The airline said all impacted customers have been notified.

WestJet's website also shows that tickets for flights over the next few days aren't available.


Sunwing Airlines has taken proactive cancellations another step further for some of its customers.

Essentially, most of its flights anywhere west of Ontario are being impacted up to and including Christmas day.

"Due to severe winter weather, all southbound Sunwing flights from Vancouver up to and including Dec 25, 2022 are cancelled, effective immediately," the airline said in a Tweet Thursday evening.

In another tweet some two hours later, Sunwing said those cancellations would extend to Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina and Winnipeg airports with departures up to and including December 25, "as a result of Vancouver’s weather conditions, stranding several planes and crew.'

It's unclear the total number of Sunwing flights that are impacted by this.

To show just how chaotic holiday travel has been so far, Sunwing had also announced it was making full refunds available to any customers "experiencing flight delays of 24+ hours."

Air Canada

While you only need to take a quick look at the departure board at Toronto or Vancouver's international airports (which are lit up like Christmas trees) to see that Air Canada is facing the same problem of delays and cancellations, the airline so far hasn't made any major service cancellation announcements.

What AC had announced is a "flexible rebooking policy" for anyone with flights through Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, or Montreal up until December 28, as long as those flights were booked before December 21.

At the end of the day, flying just about anywhere in Canada this holiday season is shaping up to be a complete game of chance, and if you can, you might want to opt out of playing altogether.

Stuart McGinn
Stuart McGinn was the Money Editor for Narcity Media and focused mainly on covering topics ranging from personal finance, to real estate, and careers. Stuart is from Ottawa and is now based in Toronto.