“It isn’t just about people taking vacations, it’s about them, but it’s also about commerce and the economy and jobs and investment and reputation and that airport needs to be fixed,” Tory said on Tuesday.
The mayor’s comments come a day after former NHL player Ryan Whitney posted a candid video online chronicling his experience at Pearson while trying to travel to Boston.
“I’m so in shock at this place,” he said in the video, which has garnered a ton of attention on Twitter.
Travel advisor Christiane Cormier said passengers moving through Pearson this week and throughout the summer ought to “be prepared and pack your patience.”
Cormier said people should be arriving for their flights at least three hours ahead of schedule, “maybe even four if you’re going to Pearson.”
“Get to the airport as early as humanly possible, make sure that you check in online if possible the day before … make sure that all your passport and personal information is in there so when you get to the airport you can use the self serve kiosks, get your bag tags, drop off your bags and head to security,” she said.
There have been delays and long waits reported at Pearson since April, with the airport and airlines pointing to staffing issues and increased demand for travel.
Travel experts point out there are certain days and times during the week that are typically less crowded at airports.
Flying mid-week on a Tuesday or Wednesday should be less busy than a Monday, which is a popular day to fly for business travellers, whereas leisure travellers generally flock to airports on Fridays. As well, evenings after 6 p.m. are generally less crowded than first thing in the morning.
“It’s customs, it is the airport, it is the airlines, it’s everybody. They are just struggling to staff up,” Cormier said about the cause of the travel chaos.
She said passengers should know their rights, should their flight be cancelled or delayed.
“If there are some parties who are liable, they should also be paying the bill,” said Canadian air passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs.
He called the situation at Pearson airport “challenging” and also suggested passengers equip themselves with as much information as possible so they may take action.
“It is the airline’s responsibility first and foremost, because they have to staff their counters properly and they have to also ensure they don’t sell more tickets than how many passengers and flights the airport is able to handle. So my first question will be to the airlines,” he said.
The next question, he said, is to the airports.
“Have you told them, ‘Go ahead we are going to handle it’? Or did you just not communicate? To the extent that this is a government staffing issue, the government has to be held accountable. People were losing money, were losing out on trips, somebody has to pay for it and it should not be the public. I don’t think that the public has done anything wrong,” he said.