Aug 16 2019

What to do if your flight is affected by the US Northeast blizzard

TORONTO – The “potentially historic” snowstorm heading for the U.S. Northeast and Canadian east coast Monday morning has more than 5,000 flights cancelled along the U.S. eastern seaboard. About 29 million people are under a blizzard warning from New Jersey to Massachusetts and into Maine, according to the U.S. National Weather Service. So what do you do if you’re supposed to be travelling (other than look to the skies and curse Mother Nature)?

Airlines are urging passengers to check for cancellations or delays, with many posting alerts on their sites. About 75 flights in and out of Toronto Pearson International Airport have been cancelled as a result of the approaching weather system. JetBlue, whose flights are largely in the Northeast, has already cancelled about a third of its entire schedule.

Scroll down for links to the numbers you need to change flights

Airlines had already cancelled 2,194 flights as of 8:30 a.m. Monday, according to FlightAware. More than 2,000 additional flights were scrapped for Tuesday, and the problem even impacted the snowbirds: In West Palm Beach, Florida, about 30 per cent of all flights were cancelled, with major cancellations also reported in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

The governor of Connecticut tweeted a travel ban would be in effect for the state as of 9 p.m. local time Monday night:

New Yorkers were urged to stay home Monday, with a warning from Gov. Andrew Cuomo that mass transit and major roadways could be closed before the evening rush hour. About half of all flights out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport were called off Monday; about 60 per cent of flights heading into the airport were scratched.

And Boston Logan International Airport has issued a winter weather advisory instructing passengers to check the status of their flights. It said there’d be no flights after 7 p.m. Monday and didn’t expect them to resume until late Wednesday. The airport provided phone numbers for each of the airlines that operate out of its facility here.

Air Canada:

You can check Air Canada’s travel alert section here, or sign up for its Flight Notification service to automatically receive alerts for delayed or cancelled flights on your cellphone. The airline tweeted change fees would be waived Jan. 26-28 for the U.S. East Coast and Jan. 27 for the Atlantic provinces.


WestJet has issued a travel advisory for New York, Halifax and Moncton due to the winter storm warning. You can check the status of your flight here or call  1-888-937-8538 (1-888-WESTJET) to make alternate flight arrangements without penalty. WestJet Vacations customers should contact 1-877-737-7001.


“When a customer books a flight through Expedia成都丝足,” said the company’s vice president and managing director, Sean Shannon, in a past interview with Global News. “The contractual obligation is between the ticket issuer (in this case, the airline) and the customer. As such, the customer is bound to the rules and regulations imposed by the airlines as they relate to flight delays and regulations. These conditions vary by airline.”

READ MORE: What are your rights as a passenger when it comes to flight delays?

In general:

There’s no legislation in Canada that airlines or travel companies legally have to do anything for you if a flight is delayed, but each airline has a “Contract of Carriage,” which must be on the company’s website. Passengers are advised to read it and check flight delay policies before booking.

If you feel that a carrier has not complied with its terms and conditions, a complaint can be filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency. However, you first need to try and address the matter directly with the carrier. You can learn more about your flight rights on the Transport Canada website.

With files from Global News reporter Trish Kozicka and The Associated Press



  • U.S. blizzard expected to make its way to the Maritimes

  • Blizzard of 2015: ‘Potentially historic’ storm heads for U.S. Northeast; could impact Maritimes

  • Airlines cancel thousands of flights ahead of Northeast snow


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