This storm has affected travel in and around Westman by road and by air.
Manitoba511.ca has a current list of highways closed in the area, including the Transcanada #1, east and west of Brandon, #10 both north and south. Effectively leaving the region at a temporary standstill.
Westjet has cancelled the 6AM flight (WS3257) scheduled for Tuesday March 7th departure from the Brandon airport and will provide updates as to the status of the March 7th, 1:20pm flight (WS3243) which is still scheduled.
Westjet and Brandon City officials, urge travelers to stay tuned to updates and NOT travel to the Brandon Airport at present, as it is closed.
What can you do in the case of a cancelled or delayed flight? Use your technology and stay tuned to official websites for accurate information. Westjet.com has an advisory section and they will post notices which could potentially affect travel.
In many cases, these notices will also effectively waive cancellation and change fees if you are confirmed passenger. So, to pursue changes, you call your booking agent. If you booked with Westjet directly, call them at 1-888-WESTJET (1-888-937-8538) to speak with an agent. If you used a local travel agent, call them. If you used Expedia.ca, call them. It will be up to your sales provider to help you make changes.
Cancellation and change fees can vary from $50 to $200, or a percentage of your fare paid, depending on the airline. It's good to know this ahead of time. (However, you could get lucky (like this present situation with Westjet) and have the airline waive fees due to highway and local closures.) Should you choose an alternate flight, which is at a higher price than you paid, you will be asked to pay the difference in fare.
Before you pick up the phone to make any changes, you need 3 things:
1) Confirmation numbers, ticket numbers etc.
2) Know your options. (Is there a flight time later in the day, or next day, that still works for you?) What would your ideal solution be? Refund? Different flight?
3) Patience. Understand that weather is out of anyone's control, and repeating "but it's my son's birthday and I just HAVE to get there" over and over, is pointless and frustrating. Do your best to let the customer service agent use their expertise to guide you quickly and efficiently.
The airline, hotel, and travel agent have no more control over the weather than you do. They are also under no obligation to refund your money (you are most likely to receive 'future travel credits' from your airline.) or offer you any compensation.
The exception to the above is comprehensive travel insurance, that INCLUDES weather related incidents. Properly documented, you should be inline to receive money back rather than credits.