Snow-filled runways, missing baggage, delayed and cancelled flights were just some of the issues plaguing airports and passengers this Christmas season.
The Christmas week has been chaos at many North American airports, and Abbotsford International, YXX, was not immune. On Dec. 20, about 20 cm of snow had fallen overnight, and the following days included several rounds of freezing rain and ice pellets.
Some frustrated passengers, or would-be passengers in many cases, took to Twitter in hopes of answers.
One Twitter user, @Tahirtahirk, has been waiting since Christmas Eve to be reunited with his luggage after flying from Pearson International in Toronto, YYZ, to Abbotsford, with Swoop Airlines.
He keeps tweeting them and visiting the Abbotsford airport, with no luck. And now, he says, it’s time to go home.
Another traveller, who uses the Twitter handle @snowdropp_, has been having similar troubles with a Swoop flight and some lost luggage. She’s been buying clothes to make it through her visit to Abbotsford.
Day 5 with no luggage. @FlySwoop contacted us 2 nights ago saying Abbotsford received our luggage and we’d hear back within 2-12hrs. Guess who’s heard nothing! #pearsonfailure @yxxairport @TorontoPearson
— fi 🦋 (@snowdropp__) December 29, 2022
This Christmas travel season did present extra challenges to airlines and airports alike, with quickly accumulating snow, staffing shortages, and staff who couldn’t get to their respective flights or airports.
The Abbotsford Airport let their customers know they were scrambling to keep up with the falling snow on Dec. 23 with a tweet apologizing, saying “employees, business partners and contractors are working very hard to clear the snow from the runways, parking lot and sidewalks.”
Our employees, business partners and contractors are working very hard to clear the snow from the runways, parking lot and sidewalks
We apologize for the inconvenience. We are dedicated to ensuring the safety and security to our passengers.
— Abbotsford Airport (@yxxairport) December 23, 2022
But that didn’t help passengers when employees couldn’t arrive to run crucial airport operations. One traveller, Michele Lopez, said they arrived at Abbotsford airport early in the morning on Christmas Eve to find nobody working on clearing any ice or the tarmac.
“You dropped the ball,” she tweeted. “Our flight to Los Cabo was canceled because you had no one working.”
On Dec 24 we were at the airport around 4:30 am for a 7 am flight. We drove from Burnaby easily. The sidewalks were sheets of ice-no salt and hardly anyone working on the tarmac until noon. You dropped the ball. Our flight to Los Cabo was canceled because you had no one working!
— Michele Lopez (@Burnabyceliac) December 26, 2022
Meanwhile, chaos was ensuing at nearly every other Canadian airport over the holidays, as well. Staff at Vancouver International actually set up an area with cots for people to sleep on if they needed. One man whose travel was supposed to originate in Abbotsford ended up diverting to YVR, and found some relative peace there.
Stranded @yxxairport, made my way to Van in hopes of getting a flight the next day. Prepared for a night on the floor, a selfless airport employee pointed me to a temp sleeping area that had been set up for lost travelers like me. Hats off to @yvrairport pic.twitter.com/qg0E9RTyHB
— Jason Knowles (@canuck_jase) December 28, 2022