Toronto Pearson has apologized for the disruption.
Before Canada's travel rules were updated last week, Toronto Pearson Airport warned future travellers to expect long lines and possible delays as staff deal with the increased demand for travel. Since then, people moving through the airport have shared their experiences on social media — with many airing their frustrations.
Canada's border opened to fully vaccinated American travellers and permanent residents as of Monday, August 9. Given the loosened restrictions, Toronto Pearson Airport advised the public that it could take longer to carry out the usual airport routine due to additional health screenings for COVID-19.
Pearson warned international passengers to expect to wait up to three hours or more due to COVID-19 screening requirements. However, some passengers took to Twitter to complain about a lack of communication at the airport.
What travellers are saying
"Toronto Pearson it's going on hour three in this landed plane, with little to communication [sic] to the flight attendants/passengers as to what is going on..." one Twitter user wrote.
@TorontoPearson it\u2019s going on hour THREE in this landed plane, with little to communication to the flight attendants/passengers as to what is going on\u2026— Nate Crocker (he/him) (@Nate Crocker (he/him)) 1628985404
Another Twitter user criticized the baggage claim process. "Toronto Pearson is chaotic, you need to step up your game. Tell me how I sat 45 min on the plane (before deplaning) then goes to customs for almost an hour, plus the baggage claim is so unorganized... I'm exhausted!!" they wrote.
Cheryl De Luca said she landed at Pearson Airport at 8:15 p.m. on August 15 and didn't get back home until 11:15 p.m., despite living only 10 minutes away.
"The place is a shit show from arrivals to departures," De Luca told Narcity. "We paid [$]40 for an antigen test to fly to the US.. 10 days ago we are both double vaccinated. Didn't mind having to have the test. But literally no one looked at it. Then there were massive line ups at check in, security, and US customs at departures. Then the [$]200 pcr test to return."
De Luca said she also ran into problems during baggage claims.
"You should see the luggage backed up there at Pearson! It was insanity. Plus the luggage was coming off literally 10 bags, a 10 minute wait, then a few more!" she added.
What Toronto Pearson Airport is saying
A spokesperson for Toronto Pearson shed some light on the issue in an email to Narcity.
"Increased COVID-19 related health screening measures implemented by the Government of Canada, coupled with the loosening of border restrictions to allow fully vaccinated US travellers, is a contributing factor to this past week's delays and the holding of passengers on planes and in waiting areas within the terminals," read the email.
"It should also be noted that we may hold planes at the gate—or hold arriving passengers in designated areas of the airport—during peak times to reduce the number of passengers entering the customs-controlled area," the spokesperson continued. "Baggage is also held until there is space in the baggage hall to maintain safety around the carousels."
Another few hours of my life lost to the void of Pearson Airportpic.twitter.com/Vl2qW2rYvg— Sarah Wapner (@Sarah Wapner) 1628875327
"We apologize for the disruption in our passengers' journeys and appreciate their patience as airport employees work hard to move passengers through the process," the representative wrote.
Canada's travel rules are set to change again on September 7, when fully vaccinated travellers from around the world will be able to come to the Great White North for a visit.
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