Holiday air travel is booming this year, experts offer tips for a better trip – Winnipeg
The Winnipeg airport is expecting a busy holiday season — close to pre-pandemic levels.
Michel Rosset, communications manager for the Winnipeg Airport Authority, said 150,000 passengers will pass through Winnipeg Richardson International during the two weeks around Christmas.
“Dec. 22 is lining up to be our busiest day of the holiday travel season,” he said. “On that busiest day, we typically see upwards of 12,000 passengers travelling through.”
Claire Newell, president of Travel Best Bets, said travellers are looking to avoid a repeat of last year, when a winter storm grounded hundreds of flights across the country.
“A lot of people are really concerned,” she said, but noted that the industry is better positioned this year, and has staffed up to mitigate any non-weather-related delays.
“The airports and the airlines are really looking at what happened last year and getting themselves prepared for this holiday season, which is set to be a really busy time. It always is.”
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In a statement, Air Canada said it has built redundancy into its systems for this winter, including setting aside spare aircrafts.
WestJet said it has improved its IT and customer service systems, including allowing travellers to cancel or change their flights without calling the airline’s contact centre.
Even with lots of preparation, weather remains the biggest factor holiday pilgrims can’t control. Despite this, Susan Postma, regional manager for CAA, said more people are planning for the potential risks.
“Trip cancellation and interruption insurance in particular (is) seeing greater demand,” she said.
On a positive note, “we’re not seeing the same level of schedule changes and cancellations so far that we’ve seen (last) year,” Postma added.
To ensure the smoothest trip possible, Postma recommends having documents, like passports or visas, ready ahead of time, getting to the airport early, and working some buffer time between connections.
Rosset said, “make sure your itinerary allows for any flight disruptions or travel disruptions,” adding that checking with airlines regarding connections is a smart move. “Different cities have different recommendations.”
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Downloading airline apps for updates can also make travelling a smoother process, Postma said, with Rosset adding that going digital with anything is fast, and recommends having your boarding pass on your phone and ready to go.
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He also said, “in the weeks ahead of your trip, it’s important to make your list and check it twice. By planning ahead of time, you’re going to make your trip that much smoother and that much more enjoyable.”
Travel agents also say having a backup plan and being aware of the availability on other airlines may be helpful in the event of unavoidable weather delays.
— with files from Global’s Katherine Dornian
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© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
The Winnipeg airport is expecting a busy holiday season — close to pre-pandemic levels. Michel Rosset, communications manager for the Winnipeg Airport Authority, said 150,000 passengers will pass through Winnipeg Richardson International during the two weeks around Christmas. “Dec. 22 is lining up to be our busiest day of the holiday travel season,” he said.…