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Flight ticket prices skyrocket amid YVR flight cancellations

Expedia's website showed one-way flight tickets would cost more than $6,000 from Toronto to Vancouver.

"This should be illegal."

This was B.C. resident Wil Yuarata's reaction after discovering a one-way flight ticket from Toronto to Vancouver was being sold for 10 times the price it would normally.

When Yuarata's flight from Toronto Pearson International Airport to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) was cancelled due to the heavy snowfall in B.C., he took to to look for new flights when he couldn't reach his airline for help.

What had his blood boiling was not the last-minute flight cancellation nor the three-hour wait for WestJet's customer service, but one-way flight tickets being sold for more than $6,000 within Canada.

A one-way economy ticket back home to YVR would have cost him $6,620 if he had bought the ticket on for Dec. 21, he explained.

Yuarata told the Richmond News his "jaw dropped" and he "almost lost (his) eyeballs" after seeing the price.

"I felt like it should've been a crime for airlines to do that and try to take advantage of unfortunate travellers who are already going through a lot just trying to get home to their families," said Yuarata.

He added the government should step in to prevent airlines from allegedly "taking advantage of a situation that is already bad to begin with."

An average plane ticket to fly between the two provinces during the holiday season can range from $750 to $1,000, not taking into account low-budget airlines.

On Wednesday afternoon, the News did a quick search on the travel website and found the next available one-way economy ticket from Toronto to Vancouver, with a stop in Ottawa and Calgary, was for Thursday, Dec. 22 and the cheapest ticket was being sold at $5,243.

A flight on Friday, Dec. 23 and Dec. 24 would cost around $1,399 and $1,413, respectively.

"I'd rather book a flight to the Maldives for $6,000 and have fun in paradise," said Yuarata. "Pretty sure some rich person out there won't have an issue paying that much just to get to their destination."

Yuarata was scheduled to fly back to Vancouver on Dec. 19 with WestJet, but his flight was cancelled and re-booked for the following day before he arrived at Toronto Pearson airport.

The next day, his rescheduled flight was delayed every hour from 2 to 7:30 p.m. until the airline ultimately cancelled his flight a few minutes before boarding.

"It was a bit frustrating having to wait that long, but I know some people had it worse than me," he said, adding people were lining up at for answers at the airline kiosks.

"One rep told us that they cannot do anything about Vancouver flights yet because at that moment YVR was not accepting any flights at all, and they didn't know when the airport would open."

With that, Yuarata stayed with his relatives a bit longer and looked for new flight tickets online while trying to get hold of WestJet airlines.

He added the experience was “stressful" because he was supposed to return to work on Tuesday and wanted to be home for the holidays.

While WestJet was able to re-book a return flight on Dec. 25 for Yuarata, he said this was not the Christmas he was expecting this year.