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'It's like you're cattle': Vancouver Woman stranded in Los Angeles following 2 flight cancellations to YVR

Hundreds of Canadians were stranded after YVR stopped allowing international arrivals.
A Vancouver, BC woman says she was stranded in Los Angeles after her WestJet flight home was cancelled coming home from Australia in December 2022.

A Vancouver woman says she was stranded in Los Angeles after her flight home was cancelled -- but she says the airline never re-booked her on a flight even though she found one that would get her close to home. 

Tahnee Curtis travelled from Australia over the weekend and arrived at Los Angeles International Airport (YVR) on Sunday (Dec. 18) to catch the final leg of her international ticket: a short, direct flight to Vancouver International Airport (YVR).

But she wasn't given notification from WestJet by text or email that the flight had been cancelled, nor was she provided a reason why.

Instead, Curtis says she overheard an announcement at the airport and was able to check that it was cancelled on the airport's website. 

"They didn't communicate anything at the terminal," she said.

"No staff ever came to the gate."

In total, Curtis spent 13 hours waiting at the airport on Sunday. In one line, she waited for three-and-a-half hours to speak to an agent before the airline re-booked her on a flight to Vancouver on Tuesday night. 

WestJet flights cancelled to YVR airport due to Vancouver weather

After staying in a hotel for two nights, her re-booked flight to YVR was cancelled in the wake of the massive snowstorm that left hundreds of people stranded in Vancouver. What's more, WestJet wouldn't book her on a flight to Seattle, even though there was one departing the following day. 

Together with her boyfriend who was in Vancouver, they each took turns trying to book an Alaska Airlines flight departing Los Angeles for Seattle around 9 p.m. Wednesday.

"Every time I got through with the credit card, the seat was gone. So he started getting online at the same time as me," she described. 

In total, the exasperated traveller spent an additional $480 on her flight to Seattle because she had to pay extra for her luggage. This was on top of the nearly $1,000 international Qantas Airlines ticket -- only the final leg of her flight was operated by Westjet. 

The Vancouver woman was far from alone, however. Roughly 300 Canadians, many of whom were trying to get to Vancouver, were also stranded with her. 

"I booked the hotel last night [and] I booked my flight to Seattle and then in I get into Seattle at midnight, so I booked [another] hotel in Seattle. And my boyfriend is driving down from Vancouver to Seattle to pick me up because there are no trains or buses or anything going to Vancouver." 

While she understands that inclement weather is outside of the airline's control, Cutis says a little bit of communication would have gone a long way toward helping tired and confused passengers.

"I understand everybody is busy -- I don't expect to be treated differently -- but it's like you're cattle."

In a Dec. 21 update, WestJet apologized to its customers who were impacted by cancellations caused by the winter weather.

"We understand your frustration, especially at this time of year. Our teams are working to re-accommodate you as quickly as possible, where possible," the airline said in a statement.