Canadians advised to be prepared for busy vacation season in light of Christmas flight frustrations

Canadians advised to be prepared for busy vacation season in light of Christmas flight frustrations

It’s expected to be a very busy spring break and summer vacation air travel season and experts are telling Canadian fliers to be prepared.

Katie Kewley, the Alberta leisure manager with Direct Travel, told Global News she’s been very busy booking vacations for Canadians who, in some cases, will be flying for the first time in years.

“It’s been three years since these people have had their family vacations,” she said. “It’s booming.”

“If you haven’t booked your holidays yet, even for the summer, you definitely should be looking at it.”

Kewley added while fliers have voiced concerns over the chaos during the Christmas holiday season, she doesn’t believe the upcoming season will be as chaotic.

Still, she said travellers should really look at what their purchasing — including the airline they’re choosing.

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“How many planes are going into a certain destination per day?” she advises people question.

“If one does happen to have certain mechanical failure or weather delay, is there options avail to get them off the ground on the same day? Or are you working with a company that only goes once a week?”

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Travel insurance should also be a big consideration, according to Kewley. She said that can also vary widely and consumers should pick the right airline or vacation package that provides options — including outright cancellations.

“Do you want to be able to cancel for any reason? That’s a big thing for some people,” she pointed out. “There are rules around that but absolutely, as long as you are clear and know what your policy holds, yes there’s absolutely ‘cancel for no reason’ policies.”

Omar Kaywan, co-founder and chief growth officer at Goose Insurance, agreed.

“You can buy trip cancellation, trip interruption, or you can opt to cancel for any reason,” he said.

“Which means you can cancel your trip for any reason —  like you just don’t feel like going.”

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Over Christmas and New Years, a major winter storm is wreaked havoc on holiday travel plans for thousands of Canadians across the country.

Storms grounded flights in Ontario, Quebec and B.C., triggering a ripple effect that led to hundreds of cancellations across North America.

Kaywan also doesn’t expect the flight frustration seen in December and January, but added it could happen — especially with air travel ramping up to levels not seen since before the pandemic.

“We are starting to see well above 2019 for traffic in a lot of these airports,” he pointed out. “But the overall sentiment is, it’s not going to be as bad as winter.”

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Both Kewley and Kaywan also both advised people extend their trip deadlines, on the front and backend of the booking.

So, if you’re booking a trip and you have to be somewhere on a certain date, don’t fly out that day.

“Give yourself some time,” Kaywan advised. “I mean, you need to give yourself a day, just in case things happen. If you’re booking multiple adventures and trips this season — back-to-back — allow yourself some time.”

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And if you really want to save both time and money, their advice: book during low season, not when travel will be crazy busy.

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