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Kelowna traveller stranded in Calgary as B.C. wildfire smoke impacts flights

A Kelowna traveller has had a stressful weekend of travel due to B.C. wildfires and the heavy smoke blanketing much of the province right now.

Garrett Creasy, a Kelowna resident, had his flight home from Calgary cancelled last night at 5 p.m. due to visibility issues. He had to take a hotel room last night due to the cancelation. AirCanada put him on a 6:45 a.m. flight this morning, and he says they made it all the way to Kelowna only to have to turn around and go back.

He says the plane circled the Kelowna International Airport (YLW) for close to an hour, but couldn’t land. Creasy took the photo below showing the conditions they were flying in this morning.

<who>Photo Credit: Garrett Creasy

“You can’t see anything,” he says. “It looks like you’re above one set of clouds and below another.”

Smoke is also affecting Calgary, although not nearly as much as in Kelowna and the Okanagan.

The YLW has warned travellers that flights are being impacted due to conditions from the many wildfires burning in B.C. right now.

Creasy says that he heard that many flights are not able to make it to Kelowna.

“Anyone trying to go to Kelowna or Kamloops is out of luck,” says Creasy. “From what I heard, there’s no flights going into Kelowna today.”

“After I got off the last plane it was just kind of like ‘here’s the number [to rebook], see you later,’” Creasy says.

He will be taking a Greyhound bus later today instead of trying to fly.

“My only other option is to stay on the phone for probably an hour to get a flight sometime tomorrow morning that I’m not all that confident will leave Calgary,” he says.

Creasy says he hopes his bus is able to make it so he can finally go home. So far, road reports are looking promising.

“I checked the roads and it looks like it’s making it there even if there’s some kind of construction,” he says.

Creasy says that because the cancellations were due to weather conditions, he isn’t being reimbursed for his travel expenses.

Travellers are being asked to check their flights online before arriving at the airport. The YLW website shows some cancellations and delays this morning for flights coming from Seattle, U.S., Calgary, Toronto, Victoria, and Edmonton. Departures are also being affected at this time.

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