There'll be many more international travellers starting September 7! 👇✈️
Canada's travel restrictions loosened even further on September 7 as fully vaccinated international travellers are allowed into the country for the first time in 19 months.
If you're planning a trip, your airport experience may feel pretty different from the last time you were passing through.
Before you get going, here are some things to remember if you intend to travel through one of Canada's airports.
Thanks to increased COVID-19 protocols, Canada's airports are much busier than normal. For this reason, you should aim to arrive at the airport earlier than you may have previously.
Air Canada suggests arriving an hour and a half before your flight if you're taking a domestic trip and two hours before your flight if you're heading to the United States.
Those flying internationally, including to Mexico and the Caribbean, should aim to arrive three hours ahead of their scheduled flight time.
Toronto Pearson airport also recommends arriving "at least three hours in advance" for international trips, as lines are longer right now and delays are possible.
In order to travel through any of Canada's airports, passengers must make use of the government's ArriveCAN services.
It allows travellers to submit all of their details before taking a trip, including personal information, their potential quarantine plan and any necessary COVID-19 test results.
It's also the tool used by fully vaccinated Canadians to prove their vaccination status to border officials, allowing them to skip some travel measures when returning home.
Consider getting travel insurance
"If you have to travel abroad, verify the terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and requirements of your insurance policy before you leave Canada," reads an official notice from the federal government.
Whether you're fully vaccinated or not, experts suggest getting travel insurance before you take a trip overseas and double-checking your coverage before you go.
"At the moment a lot of tour companies, cruise companies, and airlines are offering much broader cancellation options and coverages available that may allow you to cancel with either a refund, free changes and/or future travel credit," travel consultant Kelly Neufeld told Narcity.
Prepare for increased health measures
Airports like Toronto Pearson and Winnipeg International have warned that wait times may be extended due to additional COVID-19 health measures. For example, Pearson warned that "it may take longer to pass through the airport due to additional health screenings for COVID-19."
A notice from Winnipeg airport adds, "Give yourself plenty of time at the airport before your flight as some health measures may take longer to carry out."
This may include processes like verifying COVID-19 test results, checking travellers' quarantine plans and cleaning and sanitizing busy spaces.
Throughout the airport, hand hygiene stations will be available and social distancing requirements may remain in place.
Expect longer lines & delays
As eligible international travellers are now permitted to visit Canada for non-essential purposes, multiple Canadian airports have urged travellers to prepare for longer lines and possible delays due to the increased passenger flow.
"Delays are possible and longer wait times are to be expected due to increased passenger volume and COVID-19 health measures," Toronto Pearson warned back in August when American travellers were given the go-ahead to come to the True North.
Other airports have shared similar notices as they prepare to welcome back more travellers, with Vancouver International Airport asking for "patience as we focus on implementing these changes."
Winnipeg Airport told visitors that it "may look and feel a little different since you last visited," but said it's prioritizing "the health and safety of travellers, visitors and staff above all else [...]."
Don't forget your mask
While many of Canada's previous travel measures were eased or even fully scrapped as of August 9, the mask mandate in airports and on public transport has not changed.
This means passengers, airport staff and airline employees must continue to wear an appropriate face covering while travelling through Canada's airports and while flying.
It's probably a good idea to bring a comfy, reusable mask, as you could be required to wear it for long periods of time.
Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.