airport toronto

Here's why Pearson Airport in Toronto is such a hot mess right now

With the pandemic ongoing, it's no surprise that flying in or out of Toronto's Pearson Airport lately has been a less than ideal experience.

On top of questionable social distancing from various travellers there's lately been many complaints of luggage delays with some people claiming they've had to wait hours after landing before finally receiving their luggage and being able to leave the airport.

Others meanwhile, have collected photos of hundreds of bags piled up across the floor with no indicators in sight of which bag arrived from which flight, leaving travellers to play the world's worst game of hide'n'seek.

Meghna Dhingra, a Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant who herself just flew from Calgary to Toronto says she was shocked at just how bad her experience at Pearson was.

"From the Calgary airport, their system was so secure and properly done, everything was done very nicely. But over here it was totally different," Dhingra told blogTO.

"Nobody was there. Everything was closed but there was literally nobody other than cleaning people, and there were still flights coming."

Dhingra explained that her family waited nearly two hours for their luggage to arrive after a conveyer belt stopped and there were no employees around to offer assistance or explanation.

Not wanting to shoulder any of the blame, Beverly MacDonald, a spokeperson for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority says it all has to do with customs, explaining that "when customs hall processing times are higher, there can be a buildup of luggage in the baggage hall." 

And even though they know custom processing times are currently a lot higher, they haven't adjusted their usual baggage handling processes.

"Bags are removed from the carousels and organized proactively so that when passengers complete the customs process, they are able to collect their bags while other flights are unloaded onto the carousel," MacDonald explained to blogTO.

MacDonald also made sure to mention that baggage unloading and delivery is ultimately the responsibility of each airline, so if there's chaos in the baggage collection area, it's really the airlines fault and not anything the airport can really control.

Airlines are also deflectling the blame. In a statement previously supplied to blogTO, Air Canada explained that because of the new travel restrictions and space limitations inside Pearson's arrival hall, operations are far from normal or ideal. 

"Measures by third parties to control crowding in the terminal...can...impact our baggage handling as crews are not able to unload aircraft as they normally would."

And if you think the situation is a nightmare for people traveling solo, just imagine what it's like for families.

Recent traveller Elvira Omarbagaeva wrote to blogTO stating that her plane landed at the airport with her childen at 4 p.m. this week but they didn't get out of there with their bags until five hours later.

"I am shocked there was no separate line for parents with kids under one year at least...it was pure torture...shame...I mean we all knew it's tough returning to Canada...but man...so many illogical steps and such a poor communication."

Lead photo by

Jeremy Leveille


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