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Will the 'destructive' New York flood impact Metro Vancouver flights?

Not all airlines are helping their customers out...but some are offering full refunds and free changes.
Find out what you can do if the New York flood is impacting your flights from Vancouver International Airport (YVR).

A destructive New York flood has prompted nearly all major airlines to offer flexible flight changes to Metro Vancouver travellers. 

Up to five inches (13 centimetres) of rain fell in some areas overnight Thursday, Sept. 28, and as much as seven inches (18 centimetres) more is expected throughout the day Friday. 

Governor Kathy Hochul declared a New York State of Emergency early Friday as significant rainfall caused destructive flooding across the region that is expected to continue for the next 20 hours. She advised New Yorkers to avoid travel as much as possible and if they come across flooded roads: "Turn around, don’t drown."

All New York agencies have been directed to provide necessary resources to address the extreme weather event. 

Virtually every subway line was at least partly suspended, rerouted, or running with delays, and two of the Metro-North Railroad's three lines were suspended.

Flights into LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in Queens were briefly halted Friday morning and then delayed, because of water in the airport’s refuelling area. Flooding also forced the closure of one of the airport’s three terminals.

Flights into Newark Liberty International Airport (NWK) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) have continued as normal but travellers may experience delays. 

Will my flights be refunded due to the New York flood?

Most air passengers from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) will receive compensation or at least flexible booking arrangements if they have flights booked from YVR to New York on Friday.

YVR spokesperson Emad Egahi told V.I.A. that the "stormy weather affecting destinations in the East, including New York, is not currently affecting arriving or departing flights" from the airport. That said, you may still want to cancel or change your flights.

If you booked flights with an airline that will not provide coverage, you may be covered by your travel insurance provider if you purchased coverage. Since the state has an official advisory, most companies will cover travel when it is in effect.

WestJet Flights 

On Friday morning, WestJet was not offering flexible change policies and told V.I.A. that operations at JFK are not "not overly impacted at this time" despite the heavy rain in the New York City area. However, it has since adapted its change policies. 

"It's important to note that we only had one flight serving JFK and one flight serving LaGuardia today, both of which had taken off earlier today. At this time, we have no flights to provide flexibility on for the remainder of the day and weather is forecasted to improve by the time we do," spokesperson Julia Kaiser told V.I.A.

Flexible Change/Cancel guidelines have been posted for flights into/from JFK or LeGuardia on Friday.

"We continue to monitor the situation closely and invite all guests travelling to the area check the status of their flight before going to the airport," she said.

Air Canada flights

Air Canada says flights to JFK, LGA, and EWR may be impacted by strong winds and rain. The airline has revised its ticketing policy enabling customers travelling on an affected flight to make changes to their booking without penalty, space permitting.

To make changes to your ticket, go to "Air Canada Manage My Booking Information" online to change your dates for free. 

Air Canada recommends that travellers check their Flight Status online or call Air Canada's automated flight information system at 1-888-422-7533 before heading to the airport.

Porter Airlines flights

Porter Airlines doesn't have any direct flights from YVR to New York but flights from YVR to Toronto Lester B. Pearson Airport (YYZ) can connect onward to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).

While it doesn't state that they were prompted by the New York flooding, the airline currently offers flexible, complimentary changes for flights to EWR and Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) on Friday due to "air traffic management." 

To see if your flights are applicable, go to "My Bookings." A waiver may be issued that will allow you to fly earlier or later than scheduled, avoiding potential travel disruptions.

Porter recommends that you monitor your flight status 

JetBlue flights

JetBlue says it anticipates "severe weather" due to the flooding in the New York area. The New York-based low-cost airline is the only one that offers nonstop, direct service between YVR and JFK. 

The airline will offer complimentary flight changes and cancellations for customers travelling Friday to/from the following cities:

  • Newark, NJ (EWR)
  • New York, NY (JFK)
  • New York, NY (LGA)
  • Westchester County, NY (HPN)

Customers can re-book their flights for travel through Wednesday, Oct. 4 online with JetBlue under "Manage Trips." prior to the departure time of their originally scheduled flight.

If your flight was cancelled, you can get a refund to your original form of payment. Original travel must have been booked on or before Friday.

United Airlines flights

United Airlines doesn't have any direct flights from YVR to New York but ones from YVR to Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and  San Francisco International Airport (SFO) can connect onward to the multiple airports.

The airline will offer complimentary flight changes and cancellations for customers who booked a ticket before Sept. 27 and were scheduled to travel Friday or Saturday to/from the following cities:

  • Newark, NJ (EWR)
  • New York, NY (JFK)
  • New York, NY (LGA)
  • Westchester County, NY (HPN)
  • Boston, MA (BOS)
  • Philadelphia, PA (PHL)

In order to have the change fees waived, your new flight must depart between now and Oct. 6 and be booked in the same cabin and to the same cities as the original ticket. 

American Airlines flights

American Airlines doesn't have any direct flights from YVR to New York but ones from YVR to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), and Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) connect onward to the state. 

The airline will offer complimentary flight changes and cancellations for customers who booked a ticket before Sept. 28 and were scheduled to travel Friday or Saturday to/from the following cities:

  • New York, NY (JFK)
  • New York, NY (LGA)

Your new flight must depart between now and Oct. 6. Customers must pay the fare difference for changes that book them in a higher fare class and changes must be made by Saturday.

To find out if your trip is eligible, find your trip online and you'll see the option to 'change trip' in the toolbar.

How will I know if Vancouver weather will affect my flight from YVR?

Travellers to YVR airport are encouraged to check their flight information the day before they leave for a trip and before they head to the airport on the day of their flight. 

You should also do your online check-in with your airline before heading to the airport. By checking in before you arrive, you can avoid lining up to get your boarding pass and it will appear on your smart device. You may also print off a copy.

Check the local weather forecast and the weather at your destination since both will have an impact on your flight. 

Tools to help you get to and from YVR smoothly

V.I.A.'s Weatherhood provides up-to-date, neighbourhood-specific forecasts about the weather across the Lower Mainland. You can use the interactive map to see weather conditions at the airport with the YVR Richmond City Centre station before you head out. You can also find out what is happening along your commute in places like Downtown Vancouver.

Reserve parking in advance of heading to the airport to save money. There are multiple ways to save money on the commute to YVR if you face poor weather and do not want to take transit.

While inclement weather can reduce the airport's ability to operate at its highest safety standards, it works with its airline partners to manage arrivals and departures as teams work to clear any snow and ice from aprons, taxiways, runways, and de-ice aircraft.

With files from the Associated Press.