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Patience key when travelling by air due to pandemic regulations

Patience key when travelling by air due to pandemic regulations

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Travellers are being advised to pack some patience as they navigate the increasingly frustrating reality of airport delays and flight cancellations.

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Sarah Hupalo, owner of Elite Travel Windsor, said demand is strong but travel has changed since the pandemic hit.

“It is a different world and people have to really, really be patient and realize that things are not going to run the way they did before,” Hupalo said. “It’s going to take some time to get back to some sort of normal but at the end of the day, we’re fortunate that we can travel and have these experiences.

“And sometimes it’s worth a little bit of aggravation to have that dream come true.”

I’ve been doing this a long time and it’s definitely a different world to navigate

longtime travel consultant said many clients are looking to fulfil their dreams and check off their travel “bucket list.”

“Things that people were sort of thinking about doing on the someday-maybe list is now becoming now,” she said. “But again, my advice to anyone travelling is to pack your patience.”

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Travellers wait in the queue at Toronto Pearson Airport’s Terminal 3, Thursday May 9, 2022.
Travellers wait in the queue at Toronto Pearson Airport’s Terminal 3, Thursday May 9, 2022. Photo by Peter J. Thompson /National Post

Hupalo said at least a week before departure, travellers should start checking flight status and continue to check up until departure, including for Toronto Pearson International Airport.

“And they should, if they’re going out of Pearson (be) checking in at Pearson,” she added. “They should be getting there three hours minimum before the flight, even if their flight’s at 7 a.m. because of the issue with customs and shortage of staff and all the processes that have been put in place.”

Recent reports by the Canadian Press say the federal government is working on new measures to help ease delays at major airports that in many cases are leading to a domino effect of cancelled flights elsewhere.

People travelling through Canadian airports have been experiencing long lines and flight delays as post-pandemic travel ramps up, particularly at Toronto Pearson Airport. Slower processing times have been blamed on COVID-19 restrictions and labour shortages.

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Mark Galvin, chief executive at Windsor International Airport, said there have been some flight cancellations and delays but he’s not always privy to the reason for a cancellation, adding it could be due to backups at Pearson, problems with an aircraft or stormy weather.

Since Windsor is a smaller airport with flights spread out and few connecting flights, Galvin said travellers don’t have the same problems getting through security and making it onto planes — though delays elsewhere sometimes affect Windsor.

“There’s been an impact no doubt. And it’s a spill-over impact from the hubs, like Pearson,” he said.

Early Thursday afternoon, Galvin said only one Air Canada departure had been cancelled but all other flights were showing on time.

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“But again that’s always subject to change. As you get further in the day, sometimes these things do back up and it can be sort of a cascading effect,” he said.

“I would also always suggest that a traveller check with the airline, check on their own individual flight to see how that flight is doing.”

Hupalo shares the same advice.

“I’ve been doing this a long time and it’s definitely a different world to navigate,” she said.

If delays or cancellation occur, she advised travellers contact their travel agent or the airline directly.

“They should constantly be checking the entry requirements for where they’re going. If they have a delay or anything, they should be checking flight status all the time.”

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