pearson airport toronto

Misery of shopping at Toronto Pearson Airport can now be experienced from home

Toronto Pearson Airport has been making news headlines for the chaos experienced by travelers in recent weeks. Though traffic appears to be sharply on the rise, a new announcement that airport retailers are making the jump to online shopping raises questions about the struggling economies that rely on mass travel.

After a year and a half of the immense airport effectively operating as a ghost town, the sudden return of airline passengers has been plagued with frustrations.

Less talked about are the frustrations of the store owners operating within the terminals, their customer base still just a fraction of the airport traffic seen in 2019.

Today's announcement could be interpreted as a sign that the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) is struggling to keep retail tenants happy, revealing the launch of The Shops at Pearson in a press release.

This move creates an online presence for the retailers scattered throughout the airport's terminals, giving them a new source of revenue with the intent to prop up businesses until conditions return to normal.

But what's in it for shoppers?

GTAA is touting this as the "first time a Canadian airport has created an online retail presence."

This being a "first" isn't too surprising, with apparently little compelling shoppers to purchase the commonly available offerings sold on The Shops at Pearson's online store.

Airports' busiest retailers deal in duty-free goods, products that are entirely absent from the online store. In many cases, the products available from The Shops at Pearson are listed for sale at the same prices as department stores.

Duty-free goods can be purchased through the GTAA's separate online store, though these items still require in-person pick-up at the airport. Aside from duty-free, airports aren't exactly known to draw shoppers. Really, who wants to be spending extra time in an airport before or after their flight?

Early in the pandemic, Pearson Airport was already calling for long-term financial relief measures before the true scope of the coming lockdowns could be predicted.

Moves to bring in new revenue are surely appreciated by the floundering retailers at Pearson, though it is clear that the airport has a long way to go before the economy it supports can thrive once again.

Lead photo by

Pearson International Airport

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