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Flight cancellations from storm cause travel heartache for family ahead of holidays

Click to play video: 'Maritime storm affecting Christmas travel for many'
Maritime storm affecting Christmas travel for many
WATCH: As many people plan to spend their holidays alongside family and friends, a fierce storm in the Maritimes has disrupted travel plans for some as flights continue to experience delays or cancellations. The weather interference is leading to many not being able to make it home in time, or at all. Nathalie Sturgeon has the story. – Dec 22, 2023

Paula Brooks and her family were hoping to spend Christmas together, but a perfect storm, quite literally, has left them separated for what could be her mother’s last holiday season.

A massive wind and rain storm grounded flights in many parts of the Maritimes, including Halifax, where Brooks’ sister Shelly was scheduled to fly to Newfoundland.

Brooks’ mother has had Alzheimer’s disease for the last eight years, so the family wants to make every moment count.

“I know everybody has their own situations where you think it’s dire and emergent,” she said. “It’s possibly my mom’s last Christmas so we were trying to all be together for Christmas.”

But it now seems like the only way they’ll be able to see each other is through a screen.

The family said they exhausted every option after the flight was cancelled. They called and emailed the airport and the airlines and asked to be rebooked.

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“We’ve both been trying to get her on a plane,” Brooks said. “And there is just nothing we can do.”

It is heartbreaking, Brooks said, holding back tears.

“When you really hit home and you know it’s so important and you know you’re on this time constraint … it makes a huge difference,” she said.

Newfoundland is also expecting a significant storm, bringing lots of rain in the east and snow in the west. Brooks said she hopes that she and her sister can stay connected virtually, and that the storm doesn’t impact it.

Tiffany Chase, the spokesperson for the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, said the weather on Monday heavily impacted travel and flights.

“Airlines are doing their best to rebook those who have been affected and get them along their way as soon as possible,” she said. “This time of year, weather can be unpredictable and what we saw this year was not really winter weather but more the strong winds that we can sometimes get here in Nova Scotia.”

In Fredericton, N.B., the airport faced similar issues, losing power and internet for a temporary period. Spokesperson Kate O’Rourke said the storm definitely caused delays for some passengers.

“The good news is the passengers that were affected as a result of that storm have been accommodated and we are back to normal operations,” she said.

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