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Frustrated travellers turned to Twitter when winter storm slammed Abbotsford airport

Missing luggage, no staff and cancelled flights made travel less than merry this Christmas
A flight departure board at Abbotsford International Airport illustrating the the cancellations and delays that were common through the holidays across Canada. (Jane Bouey/Twitter)

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.

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.”

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.”

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.

READ MORE: Holiday passengers arriving without bags as Toronto Pearson airport luggage piles up

READ MORE: Vancouver Canucks stickhandle around siblings’ missing hockey souvenir


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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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