Quebec winter storm could make holiday travel difficult

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Quebec winter storm could make holiday travel difficult
WATCH: As the holidays approach, scores of people are looking forward to spending time with loved ones. Without COVID-19 restrictions in place it’s expected to be one of the busiest travel seasons of the year. But as Global’s Phil Carpenter reports, weather conditions and the health situation could mean delays and disappointments for some. Travel experts are warning people to take precautions – Dec 22, 2022

Things are busy at Montreal’s Trudeau airport for the holidays, and getting busier.

With the lifting of pandemic restrictions, airport officials expect that this December, they will meet or exceed the number of passengers travelling through the airport during the holiday season in 2019.

“We welcomed 1.5 million passengers for the month of December in 2019,” said spokesperson Anne-Sophie Hamel.

Nasty weather could cause problems over the Christmas weekend, though.

Read more: Parts of Quebec could see up to 60 cm of snow, Montreal under snowfall warning

Environment Canada says severe weather will move into the province starting Thursday night and into Saturday, bringing several centimetres of snow and freezing rain.

“Bad weather can have an impact on flight schedule and can cancel or delay flights,” Hamel noted.

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Experts say that to avoid frustrations and disappointments, travellers should check if their flight is delayed or cancelled before going to the airport, so they don’t end up getting stranded if there are problems.

However, for those who do end up travelling, they have some advice.

“You have to pack lightly,” said Omar Kaywan co-founder of Goose Insurance. “When we say pack lightly, we mean that. If you can take a carry-on, take a carry-on.”

Pack your medication with you and don’t put it in your checked luggage, because with all the delays luggage does get lost, he pointed out.

Kaywan also recommends that people get insurance before leaving the country.

“Like trip cancellation or trip interruption (insurance), which also has a ‘cancel for any reason’ component to it,” he told Global News.

Despite the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, he points out that there’s still a health concern with the “triple-demic”: COVID-19, flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in circulation.

“Travel medical insurance is the absolute basic that you need,” he stressed.

Transportation experts have words of wisdom, even for people who will be driving to see loved ones over the stormy holiday weekend.

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First, they counsel the public to not drive unless they have to, and to make sure their vehicles are in good condition.

David Marcille, CAA-Quebec Spokesperson, believes people should also be prepared in case they get stuck on the roads for long periods.

Read more: Drivers stuck on Highway 13 during 2017 snowstorm can now file for compensation

He recalled what happened on Highway 13 in March 2017, when hundreds of people were forced to spend the night in their cars in freezing temperatures.

“Always make sure you have snacks, dry snacks, water and blankets to keep you warm, in your car,” he advised.

The main thing, experts say, is whatever you do, take care.

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