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'I just bit the bullet': Vancouverite makes costly flight change due to WestJet strike

She might have paid the extra money unnecessarily but says she can't afford to take the risk.
A local travel blogger says her Vancouver flights to Las Vegas from YVR will likely get cancelled due to the WestJet strike.

A Vancouver woman says she's re-booked more expensive flights to get to Las Vegas even though WestJet hasn't cancelled her flights...yet. 

In the wake of a possible WestJet strike, the airline has started preemptively cancelling flights across its network, including ones departing from Vancouver International Airport (YVR). 

In an update issued on Thursday (May 18) at 11 a.m., WestJet said it cancelled six flights on Wednesday and 98 on Thursday.  

La Carmina is a travel blogger in her 30s who has lived in Vancouver all her life. Since her first flight from Hong Kong at age one, she's travelled to over 70 countries and flown on countless flights.

But the local globetrotter hasn't ever experienced issues with an airline strike.

She had a WestJet flight booked to Las Vegas that was scheduled to depart from YVR just after 4 p.m. on Friday and return after the weekend on May 25. After WestJet started cancelling its flights, she decided to look into a contingency plan. 

Woman books alternative Vancouver flights in the wake of WestJet strike

La Carmina was able to find cheaper flights out of Bellingham instead of flying with another carrier out of YVR, but she emphasizes that her new ticket, which costs US$566, is significantly more expensive than her original WestJet one.

Still, she says flights out of Bellingham or Seattle are viable options for locals looking to get to Las Vegas in a pinch this weekend -- and there is a great deal of them. 

"As of now it's not officially cancelled but if the strike goes on I won't find out until midnight and then I'm scrambling," she explained, adding that if she'd waited until the eleventh hour there might not have been a flight available. 

"I need to be in Vegas for a magazine assignment with my professional photographer... so it's stressful. I'm constantly checking Twitter," she added. "I’m very frustrated about this."

"If my flight on WestJet is not cancelled, I’m out US$566. But if it is cancelled, I would have to pay even more or risk not being able to go to Vegas for this job." 

And while La Carmina was able to secure a ticket the day after she was scheduled to leave, she considers herself lucky, noting that other people may have fewer options on less popular routes.

YVR advised travellers Thursday morning that WestJet was beginning to cancel flights out of its airport. WestJet customers should check the status of their flight online and not go to the airport for assistance if their flight is cancelled. 

Find out everything you need to know about the WestJet strike and how it is affecting Vancouver flights.