Canada’s largest and busiest airport has released a set of tips and tools to help ensure a smooth and stress-free travel experience this holiday season.
Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) said Tuesday (Dec. 13) that the lead up to Christmas is expected to be “particularly busy” for travel, with traffic ramping up as soon as next week, as well as the days around Jan. 9, which is when kids return to school.
“Passenger traffic has steadily increased since the summer,” Pearson noted in a press release, referring to a period in which the airport grappled with operational issues due to staffing shortages and other factors.
Anticipate flight delays at YYZ this winter as labour shortage drags on, experts say
Encouraging air travellers to plan a head, Pearson and its partners are promoting a number of tools aimed at making flying easier this month and next.
YYZ Express: an online reservation program that allows travellers to book a spot in the security line ahead of their flight, up to 72 hours in advance. This helps speed up the security wait time for passengers.
Mobile Passport Control (MPC): an app introduced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that allows travellers to digitally submit their information for a faster departures experience from Pearson if they’re travelling to the U.S. (PAX also recommends this tool as it allows you to breeze past the main line at customs. Which is handy, especially if the line is long).
A live wait times dashboard was launched by Pearson: this provides travellers with real-time information ahead of arriving at the airport.
A peak travel times dashboard: passengers can look ahead to know if they’ll be passing through the airport during a busy period.
Advance Declaration: This continues to be offered by Canada Border Services Agency, which lets travellers submit their customs and immigration declaration up to 72 hours in advance of flying into Canada, via ArriveCAN, giving them a faster border experience.
Also new at Pearson: passengers who complete Advance Declaration will have access to an Express Lane in the customs area, further saving them time.
Arrive early, leave gifts unwrapped
“The air travel industry is fully open and much improved since the summer when travel restarted and our modernization agenda with partners across the industry has led to new tools for passengers to prepare for holiday travel,” said Deborah Flint, president and CEO of the GTAA.
“For the first large scale Christmas holiday travel season since 2019, we are excited to welcome passengers and thank the employees at the airlines, government agencies, and other partners for their dedication to passengers during this season.”
The GTAA is continuing to advise passengers to arrive three hours ahead of an international flight and two hours ahead of a domestic flight.
Before heading to the airport, passengers can brush up on what’s allowed to take in carry-on by checking out travel tips from CATSA.
The GTAA also advises travellers to leave their holiday gifts unwrapped when going through security as all packages will be subject to inspection.
While the airport will be busy, “passenger levels are expected to still be below pre-pandemic numbers,” the authority noted.
To get travellers into a festive mood, Pearson has been decorated with holiday cheer and there are several activities happening in the terminals, including a family movie lounge, carolers, special YYZ Live music programming and more.