Air Canada flight cancellations create headache for B.C. summer travellers

WATCH: Passengers are scrambling after Air Canada and WestJet announced plans to cancel more than 10,000 flights this summer. As Kamil Karamli reports, that includes a BC ringette team who was told their return flight from a major tournament no longer exists.

Air Canada’s move to cancel some 10,000 flights this summer is throwing a wrench in the travel plans of many British Columbians.

News of the cancellations is causing headaches for people like Nicole Robb, who is in the middle of trying to organize a trip for her girls under-20 ringette team.

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“It’s creating a lot of stress for our parents, volunteers that are trying to get these kids to go to a big tournament,” Robb, the executive director of Ringette BC, told Global News.

Players, parents and coaches had flights booked to Moncton, N.B., for a major tournament. But on Wednesday, Air Canada cancelled their return fights to Vancouver.

The team is now holding their collective breath as they rush to find an alternate game plan.

“If we can’t get there we would’ve put forward quite a bit of money to then not even get to go and compete, and I think that would be a real devastation,” she said.

Air Canada typically operates about 1,000 flights per day. But for the next few months, it is reducing its flight schedule by eliminating more than 150 of those flights each day.

Read more:

Air Canada to reduce July, August flights in response to travel congestions

“These tickets should have not been sold to begin with,” Gabor Lukacs, president of Air Passenger Rights, told Global News.

“It was irresponsible for Air Canada and other airlines to sell these tickets.”

WestJet has taken a more proactive approach, cutting its flight schedule by 25 per cent compared to 2019 levels.

It’s an attempt to ease airport congestion and reduce the number of daily flight delays caused by an unprecedented surge of summer air travellers.

“The infrastructure was not there to accommodate increased pent-up demand in travel, hence the reason for everything backfiring in respect to a domino effect,” said Martin Firestone, president of Travel Secure.

The federal transport ministry said it has never asked airlines or airports to cancel or reduce flights.

But the flight cancellations are a good start, according to some analysts.

“Yes it will have an impact, things will get somewhat better,” said Duncan Dee, former Air Canada COO. “But I don’t think we’ll see anything materially better until after Labour Day.”

Meanwhile, some experts argue travellers should have a right to be compensated.

They’re also warning those who haven’t bought tickets yet to expect higher air fares as a result of shorter ticket supply.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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