Feds Say Travellers Are Partly To Blame For Huge Delays At Canada's Airports

The Transport Minister explained how travellers are apparently getting it wrong. ✈️

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A sign for "U.S. departures" at the airport. Right: A woman wheels a suitcase into Halifax Airport.

A sign for "U.S. departures" at the airport. Right: A woman wheels a suitcase into Halifax Airport.

Canadian travellers are in part to blame for the ongoing long lines and delays at Canada's biggest airports, according to the federal transport minister.

Speaking on Wednesday, May 11, Omar Alghabra said staffing shortages at airports like Toronto Pearson and Vancouver Airport are not the main reason for holdups.

Instead, he suggested that rusty travellers are causing delays at security checkpoints as they return to travel mode after several years of staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Taking out the laptops, taking out the fluids — all that adds 10 seconds here, 15 seconds there," he told reporters, per CTV News.

His comments come as multiple airports across the country are reporting extremely long wait times at check-in desks and at security checkpoints.

Passengers have waited for hours and hours at a time to catch their flight, with some missing their planes due to the delays.

They have been urged by airlines, airports and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) to arrive way ahead of their scheduled departure time.

Passengers are encouraged to be at the airport minimum three hours ahead of international flights and at least two hours before domestic ones.

Last-minute bookings are also causing issues, as it's becoming harder for airports to organize appropriate staffing levels.

"CATSA used to rely on a six-month forecast when it comes to labour allocation. Now they need to rely on a 72-hour, 48-hour volume prediction. They're adjusting," he explained.

It's not all on travellers though, as Alghabra says changing flight schedules have also made things messy at airports.

Large volumes of planes are now arriving and leaving at the same time, he said, which is causing bottlenecks in the airport at peak times.

"They need to adjust for that. [...] It wasn't as pronounced as it is right now, the peaks and valleys," he added.

Earlier this month, CATSA issued a statement acknowledging the recent increase in wait times at several major airports and said the delays are related to "pent-up demand for air travel occasioned by the pandemic" and low staffing levels as a result of "recruitment challenges."

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.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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