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.
I’ve never seen anything like this at Pearson Airport in Toronto.— Devin Heroux (@Devin_Heroux) December 27, 2022
A mass of humanity and luggage upon arrival. pic.twitter.com/VfOOYxSoWA
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."
Living bag-less after a trip to Pearson Airport yesterday. This is a small sampling of islands of misfit luggage. pic.twitter.com/LiLFpip9js— Shane Mackenzie (@ShaneMackenzie_) December 27, 2022
And yet, the bags did not flow, according to a slew of angry social media passengers providing updates from the airport.
I understand weather delays but I waited until 3:30am (24th am) to find out YYZ had NO ground staff for our bags. had to sleep at the airport & managed to find mine amoung 1000’s. Such a security risk!! Hardly any staff. How can you not have a ton of staff for the busiest days? pic.twitter.com/OJkPjeJw7l— Tiffy (@tiffyleeson) December 25, 2022
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.
Same here, haven’t see my luggage since Dec 22 since I left Pearson! Lots of unexpected expenses and the lost luggage incident report line is down! Here’s our list luggage still at Pearson.. pic.twitter.com/7ANVDvRegb— Tom Mills (@TomMillsCB) December 28, 2022
Tuesday provided little relief for people flying into or out of Canada's busiest airport.
Ho my goodness, Toronto Pearson airport!— Alexandra Lavoie (@ThevoiceAlexa) December 27, 2022
Canada is really broken 😞 pic.twitter.com/LZF2fRcjyd
"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."
This was taken 20 minutes ago at the carousels in terminal 3. pic.twitter.com/oQwv0xsiPk— Jeff Waldman (@JeffWaldmanHR) December 28, 2022
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.
Traveled to the UK WITH NO BAGGAGE! Thanks, Pearson, you suck!— Mark palfi (@cadmarx) December 27, 2022
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."
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. We are really sorry for the inconvenience.— Air Transat (@airtransat) December 28, 2022
Sunwing, too, threw Pearson under the bus.
Sadly the baggage issues at T3 Pearson have not been fixed. As a result we cannot promise that they will be delivered before the end of your trip. We know this puts you in a difficult position. Please keep receipts for purchase of necessities and submit a claim upon your return.— Sunwing Vacations (@SunwingVacay) December 28, 2022
"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.
People don’t want to wait for their luggage. I waited 2 hours at Pearson on the 23rd of December. But I waited…. I did not want to leave luggage there and possibly never see it again— Elaine Bernadette Pace (@e_bernadette_p) December 28, 2022
"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."
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