Canada is in the news for some very untypical things these days, namely chaos and riots as lines for basic services at Canada’s largest airport are growing out of control.
There have been some very nasty scenes at airports in Canada the past few weeks as people were piled up in lines for hours due to understaffing and emotions are boiling up now as passengers have had enough.
It’s rather unusual to see such trouble at airports in Canada but the situation must be dire as I have experienced last week in Vancouver as well, even though all was calm there during my time at YVR.
At the International Security Checkpoint were TWO lanes staffed out of which one was reserved as fast track for premium class guests and passengers with disabilities. The other customers in the regular lane stood there for more than an hour to clear security into the international concourse.
I’m surprised the scene there was as quiet as I experienced it. To have two lanes staffed during a peak departure time is totally unacceptable.
It shouldn’t remain that way. In Toronto, passengers started to riot and police was called to the scene:
Police called to Toronto’s Pearson Airport as frustration flares amid delays, baggage handling glitches https://t.co/fj3l3c6FHw
— The Globe and Mail (@globeandmail) May 23, 2022
Reports about the situation in Toronto aren’t pretty and the government wants to find excuses wherever possible:
Passengers at Canada’s largest airport experienced cancelled flights, lost luggage and lengthy wait times this weekend, as police were called in to handle conflicts between travellers and staff.
At Toronto Pearson International Airport, at least 10 per cent of all flights – departures and arrivals – were cancelled on Saturday, according to the Greater Toronto Airports Authority. Dozens were delayed.
Pearson has already been dealing with complaints about travel delays, with pent-up demand from customers who have not flown during the pandemic colliding with a shortage of people to load luggage and conduct customs and security checks.
The GTAA, the agency that runs Pearson, is pointing to the airlines and Ottawa as bearing responsibility. Canada’s Transport Minister has pointed the finger at out-of-practice fliers.
This weekend, many travellers stranded during layovers had no choice but to spend the night sleeping on the floor of the airport or to shell out for hotel rooms. Several passengers told The Globe and Mail that airline staff declined to give them meal or accommodations vouchers. …
it was baggage concerns – not delays and cancellations – that led to Peel Regional Police being called to the airport at least four times on Saturday, according to interviews with passengers.
They described jarring experiences with checked luggage, where hundreds of bags were left stranded at different locations around the airport. Travellers kept asking staff about their bags but were met with a lack of answers.
Peel Police acknowledged the presence of officers at the airport, but did not provide any further details. Passengers said police were called in when arguments had gotten heated. …
John Petruk, 47, was not allowed to get off his plane after landing in Toronto from Barcelona for hours. “That is absolutely inhumane,” he said.
Ms. Prior said “many critical airport processes” were delayed because of the storm on Saturday. “Moreover, international arriving passengers are facing bottlenecks and very lengthy delays in border processing – a direct result of legacy public health requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
Another Covid excuse… how convenient! Staff the border force properly, man every counter and process the incoming passengers. It’s not that difficult.
Being on the road is already stressful enough for most people, leisure travelers even more so than regular business travelers and frequent fliers. Especially when you aren’t able to access priority lanes the whole travel experience becomes even more difficult and unbearable.
Last week Canada’s Transport Minister told the media that it’s the fault of travelers that aren’t used to flying anymore who are causing delays. Yeah right, I guess all these rusty travelers must have eaten all the security and border staff.
Some travelers were held on the plane for an additional time period due to long lines at customs with some being held up on the tarmac for several hours.
Canada isn’t really known as a place where people have meltdowns but this situation at the country’s airports could be a game-changer this year.
The situation at airports in Canada is dire and as the summer is quickly approaching it seems to be a rough patch for travelers who are off for the summer holidays. Those returning from international destinations or arriving in Canada as visitors are also going to have some fun.
The short-staffing of the border services agency that conducts the passport control and customs check puts another nail in the coffin and the nonsensical token covid checks also take a long time that nobody really has. What a disaster!