Passengers stuck for hours on YVR tarmac as storm cancels flights

Digital WritersThe Weather Network
Digital Writers

Due to heavy snow and low visibility in Vancouver, a significant number of flights from YVR were delayed or cancelled, which caused congestion on the airfield with aircraft holding at gates.

Heavy snow across southern British Columbia brought the Vancouver International Airport to a screeching halt this week.

Jack Kalb was attempting to fly back to Toronto after a six-day visit with his parents in Vancouver on Monday, Dec. 19., and what would normally be a 4.5-hour trip, turned into a 12-hour odyssey... that went nowhere.

“I was supposed to depart at 5 p.m. and it kept getting pushed back and pushed back,” he told The Weather Network in an interview. “Finally, we boarded around 8 p.m., I believe, and then it wasn’t until 10 p.m., so two hours later, where we started to push back because they said that the weather was clear enough for us to go.”

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But the snowstorm that was pummeling the Lower Mainland wasn’t letting up–and despite the plane being de-iced, the pilot announced that all flights were cancelled around midnight.

“The worst part about it was there were no gates available to us because every other gate was taken from every other flight.”

Kalb, along with his fellow would-be travellers, sat on that plane for nearly eight more hours before they were finally allowed to get off at the same airport they arrived at, 17-hours earlier.

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“For someone who lives in Toronto, [the snow] didn’t seem like that much, but I just don’t think YVR was prepared for that level of snow... but it definitely was snowing, and it was quite foggy as well, and I think that added to it.”

Kald said he experienced no panic himself, although he witnessed somebody on board who was being tended to as they suffered from what appeared to be a panic attack.

All in all, the storm dumped about 25 cm of snow over Vancouver International Airport, with delays carrying through Tuesday evening.