People are now afraid to fly in and out of Toronto Pearson Airport
Catching a flight or landing at Toronto Pearson International Airport has always been a borderline Kafkaesque experience, but the setting has become much more hellish this spring as the major air travel hub deals with an unprecedented slowdown in security processing, departures, and arrivals over the past few weeks.
It's an issue that's grown so bad that people are now terrified of passing through the airport, all as reports continue to emerge of travellers being delayed, missing connecting flights, and in one unpleasant incident, being stuck on the tarmac in a sweltering plane for hours.
Early in May, Pearson Airport issued a statement pinning the blame on understaffing, specifically the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), a Crown Corporation that handles security screening at airports across the country.
This is what the Toronto airport looked like this week as brutal waits continue https://t.co/In8IURHGta #Toronot— blogTO (@blogTO) May 16, 2022
CATSA's understaffing has had a cascading effect of long lines and delayed flights, the airport advising at the beginning of the month that "departing passengers have been experiencing longer than expected wait times at CATSA security screening points."
I DID!!!! You @#$@#! didn't staff adequately. Pulled from line, luggage shoved through, not opportunity to organize and lost my phone!! CHAOS!— Orange Lada (@OrangyCar) May 5, 2022
$230 later it "MAY" be on its way back (in EU - now customs to deal with!!)
Canadians should be upset - we pay for this?!
The issue continues to cause headaches at Canada's busiest airport and has become so bad that Pearson had to issue a statement pleading with travellers to stop harassing airport staff.
140 mins stuck on a plane at Pearson Airport, waiting to deboard. Sooooo hungry, wonder how this thing tastes? #pearsonairport #YYZ pic.twitter.com/AMzPsXufvo— Jeff the Ref (@JTRjefftheref) May 14, 2022
Word has gotten around, and travellers looking to get away or even just return home are now anxious about just what awaits them at Pearson.
Absolutely terrified to fly out of Pearson next weekend bc one thing about me is I *cannot* get to airports early/on time 😊— Kareen (@LovexKareen) May 18, 2022
People that should be excited about a long-awaited return to normal travel conditions are instead worrying about their upcoming flights.
Good afternoon my friend 👋🏻. Have you seen the nightmare coming into Pearson airport 🙈 I fly in 🇨🇦a week tomorrow 😳— Rhonda Hughes (@blackenrho) May 18, 2022
The delays and long lines have been blamed on staffing, an anecdotal account of the madness claiming that just under one-fifth of the available check-in counters were staffed and operating.
I landed at Toronto Pearson last night. Haven’t seen such chaos ever at any airport of any country in all my life.— Darshan Maharaja (@TheophanesRex) May 17, 2022
I will write an article on this, but in a nutshell, the customs counters processing arrivals were woefully understaffed. Out of 33 counters, only 6 were open.
While travellers are unlikely to find a way around using Pearson on short notice, there are a few tips and tricks that can ensure anyone departing catches their flight, though it isn't as simple for those connecting to a different flight in Toronto.
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