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Vancouver airport wants to hear from passengers caught up in Christmas travel chaos

Officials at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) are inviting all passengers whose Christmas travel plans were thwarted by winter storm chaos to register for a period of public engagement.

In a statement Tuesday, CEO Tamara Vrooman said the airport authority would like to hear from passengers who travelled to or from the airport during December 2022 and January 2023, as well as members of the public who were affected by the travel disruption during the holiday season.

Earlier Tuesday, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said the federal government plans to overhaul the airline passenger bill of rights in response to traveller complaints stemming from the problem-plagued Christmas travel season.

In the days before and after Christmas, a winter storm wreaked havoc on the travel industry, leaving passengers stranded as airlines cancelled hundreds of flights across North America.

Sunwing, a leisure carrier that serves many Vancouver passengers, left an untold number of passengers in Mexico when it suspended some routes. The disruptions prompted some 7,000 complaints to the airline from passengers who were left out of pocket by the delays.

For its part, YVR said it plans to share travellers’ feedback gathered during the public engagement period with all stakeholders in the airline community, including airlines, suppliers and employees.

“We know passengers want an efficient experience when travelling, with all the various organizations involved in aviation working effectively together. We also need to ensure the voice of the traveller is heard,” Vrooman said.

The initial registration phase opens Tuesday through Jan. 30, which will be followed by a period of consultation using a variety of methods — including an online feedback form, virtual focus groups and panels, as well as written submissions — through Feb. 21.

Feedback received during this engagement will be shared with the public in the coming months along with recommendations following a review, YVR said.

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