Airport is one of many worldwide to feel impact of staff shortages and flight delays
Well, not all Toronto Pearson International Airport users appear to share former NHLer Ray Whitney’s negative views on the facility.
A frustrated Whitney made headlines recently when he lambasted the airport after a lengthy delay in it, among other things stating on Twitter “God bless anyone who has to step foot in that hellhole.”
Whitney’s outburst came at a time of ongoing news stories about long security lineups at Pearson and other airports in this country.
But four Toronto travel agents have differing stances on Pearson’s performance these days, with Paul Nielsen of Paragon Travel reporting there are “multiple challenges” for Paragon clients using Pearson.
“The lack of trained staff at the airport causes huge delays between arrival at the airport and getting to the departure gate,” he says. “We advise our clients to arrive four hours before departure. If they breeze through check-in and security (and immigration if going to the USA) and have to suffer the boredom of sitting for what seems an eternity at the gate — big deal. It’s better than missing your flight and the heck that will ensue.
“On return, again we counsel the patience of a saint because there have been so many instances of enduring lengthy delays before docking at a gate and then immigration and then waiting for baggage. Just be prepared for the possibility of lengthy waits while dreaming of your own pillow. “
Gloria Nadeau of Adria Travel Service in turn said her clients are having to contend with “long, long lineups” at the airport.
However, Roger Boyadjian of Sevan Travel said he hasn’t been hearing from clients left unhappy by their Pearson experience, while David Pierce of Collacutt Travel said his clients have been coping.
“(I haven’t had) a lot of feedback,” Pierce says. “If you allow three hours then everyone seems to accept the crowding, and we have no experience of clients missing flights etc. We seem to have more feedback like ‘What’s the fuss all about?’
“Baggage issues have certainly complicated our lives as clients seem to think we have direct access to the baggage carousel! If your baggage has to change airplanes – expect to lose it! Airlines are not equipped to deal with the volume of ‘lost luggage’ that is currently happening.”
The federal government has acknowledged widespread complaints about lineups and other airport issues, with staffing shortages being blamed for some of the problems. Ottawa has pledged to deal with the problems, although it hasn’t given a timeline for correcting them.