The Edmonton International Airport is bracing for the holiday travel season, as it prepares for 25,000 people to pass through its doors on the busiest day of the year – Friday, Dec. 21.
Approximately 50,000 additional people are expected to drop off or pick up travellers, so the airport is reminding people to plan ahead to ensure their travels go off without a hitch.
Airport spokesperson Traci Bednard said passengers should check in online from home and pay for their parking online to save a bit of time.
She also suggests using an app for e-declarations, which can save time when going through customs.
“Three or four weeks from now when you’re coming back from maybe your sunny holiday and coming through customs, you can fill that out online and just hand that over to the agent as you’re coming through,” Bednard said.
CATSA is implementing a new security system at the airport called CATSA Plus; it opened to travellers on Monday and will be rolled out further at EIA in the coming months. It already is in place in other airports across the country.
The system allows up to four passengers to unload and empty their pockets before passing through security.
However, CATSA spokesperson Christine Langlois said it is hard to put an exact number on how much time travellers will save.
“It’s really hard to put a number of minutes on that given the number of variables,” Langlois said.
“How many people are there at the checkpoint when you come? The fact is, you can go to your own rhythm mostly. If you need more time, you can take it without feeling the pressure. If you want to go fast, you’re a seasoned traveller, you know exactly what you can bring, you put it here and off you go.”
This will be the first big travel season since the legalization of cannabis, and the CBSA wants to remind people travelling that it remains illegal to carry marijuana across international borders.
“There’s still a lot of confusion about what’s allowed in,” said Carmen Miller, a CBSA border services officer.
“You’re not allowed to bring it across an international border unless you have a permit from Health Canada. People have been bringing in CBD oil, you get a lot of capsules, edibles, lotions and stuff like that. What we do, if they declare it, we simply take it away.”
Miller said passengers who do not declare cannabis items could see their items seized, could be arrested or see other types of enforcement.
Travellers are also reminded that foods with animal products, such as pork rinds and beef jerky, may also be seized by customs officers.