toronto pearson airport luggage

People are now waiting for days to get their luggage back at Toronto's Pearson Airport

Air travel can be frustrating during the best of times, what with security checks, long Starbucks lineups and the discomfort of crunching one's legs up behind some jerk who leans back too far on planes... but the holiday season brings with it a new layer of annoying — one rife with weather-related snafus and gift-related oversized baggage.

Some years are worse than others, it seems, and 2022 definitely fell on the hellish end of the spectrum for jet setters in the GTA.

What better way to cap off an already-awful year for frequent flyers out of Toronto's Pearson International Airport than by just setting fire to the operation's massive baggage claim system?

This is not what happened, in a literal sense, but it may as well have been for the purposes of passengers who've not seen their luggage for three days (and counting) due to a series of unfortunate events.

Reports first started surfacing on Boxing Day that passengers arriving to Pearson were struggling to claim their suitcases post-flight (like, even more than usual) on account of a "broken luggage belt" in the airport's baggage claim area.

"Some passengers on flights departing from Terminal 3 on December 26 may see baggage delays with machines and airline staff working in extreme cold," said the airport in a statement early this week.

"Pearson will be working with affected airlines to minimize delays and keep bags flowing."

And yet, the bags did not flow, according to a slew of angry social media passengers providing updates from the airport.

On Monday, the airport reiterated its message, but passengers were none the more lucky, some claiming that they'd been waiting for days to access their belongings as of Dec. 26.

Tuesday provided little relief for people flying into or out of Canada's busiest airport.

"Pearson is helping airline staff clear bags stranded due to weather disruptions, frozen equipment, airline staffing levels and flight delays," tweeted the airport on Tuesday morning.

"Much of the backlog has already been dealt with; many more will be by end of day. Please contact your airline for inquiries."

While no one facility can be blamed for the aftermath of this historic winter storm, many irate passengers are taking out their frustrations on Pearson, as well as the individual airlines with which they flew into the city.

Air Transat, for its part, blamed the airport for baggage issues in a reply to one customer late Tuesday night, writing that "the delay was caused by a mechanical issue with the luggage belt at Toronto Pearson that affected all airlines."

"Transat has no control over the situation, we try to do our best to find a solution and assist you the best we can," wrote a representative for the Montreal-based airline. "We are really sorry for the inconvenience."

Sunwing, too, threw Pearson under the bus.

"This holiday season, helping passengers travel safely and smoothly to and from their destinations is the Greater Toronto Airports Authority’s top priority," said a spokesperson for Toronto Pearson International Airport to blogTO on Wednesday when asked about the situation.

"Like other international airports, Toronto Pearson has been working to smooth operations following the significant weather events that took place this past week and into the weekend. Issues affected baggage delivery at Toronto Pearson are clearing up, and we expect to resume near-normal operations."

And yet, as of Wednesday evening, baggage problems at Pearson persist, prompting some passengers to warn others of the melee... and advise that they transport essential items via carry-on bags, as opposed to checked suitcases.

"Toronto Pearson is working diligently with its airline partners to ensure that all backlogged baggage is returned to passengers as quickly as possible," said the GTAA to blogTO Wednesday afternoon.

"While a significant amount of the backlog has been dealt with, the winter storm led to several disruptions that are still being resolved. Passengers should contact their airlines about all baggage inquiries, including, how to retrieve lost or displaced bags."

Lead photo by

Kaela Hansford

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