Travelers outraged after long waits at Vancouver airport

Travelers are expressing frustration and outrage after long waits at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) resulted in delayed or missed flights.

YVR urges travelers to arrive at the airport early, advising them to allow two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights.

But many travelers say they’ve recently missed flights or nearly missed them despite arriving hours before their departure time. Several of them say that one of the security zones has been closed, creating longer waiting times.

Vancouver-based CFOX-FM radio host Casey-Joo Loos shared an experience traveling to the United States via YVR in late April where she barely caught her flight after arriving three hours before her scheduled departure.

“Do we need four hours in advance for a [U.S.] theft?” she asked. “I wish I had known. [I] I just ran to my door and barely made it and there’s plenty left [families].”

The radio personality added that airport staff told her “this has been a problem for weeks” and advised her to complete a customer feedback form.

another place tweeted that he bought a premium class ticket to Paris with WestJet, but was pushed back to an economy class ticket after missing his flight “due to a very long security line at the airport”. His next flight was eight hours later and he said he had not been compensated.

A metropolitan Vancouverite who holds a Nexus card recently passed through Vancouver airport en route to San Francisco and noted that “the security line was deep”, especially for non-Nexus holders.

“It was the longest I waited but it was probably 30-40 [minutes] to pass security and US customs so not bad. However, the plane was 45 [minutes] delayed non-Nexus wait,” he wrote on Twitter.

However, some travelers still move through the airport with relative ease. Dana Bidnall wrote in a Twitter Publish that she flew out of YVR on April 16 and joked that the only long wait she experienced was at “post-security” Starbucks. She wondered if having an early flight (8am) and having a Nexus card helped.

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority and the long waits at YVR

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), which is the federal Crown corporation responsible for all passenger security screening, is experiencing constant staff shortages.

CATSA spokeswoman Suzanne Perseo said Vancouver is awesome that the company actively assists its contractors in recruiting and developing new employees.

“Screening resources are scheduled based on air traffic. Prior to the pandemic, resources could be used more efficiently between cross-border and domestic and international checkpoints due to staggered passenger peaks,” she wrote in an email.

“As air travel resumes, we are seeing simultaneous spikes, which can result in more than one security checkpoint being flooded by passengers at once, making it more difficult to redistribute resources to cope. to these passenger volumes. At times, this can contribute to longer wait times for passengers at all airports.”

Increasingly, passengers are traveling with more carry-on baggage “resulting in additional time needed to process that baggage during pre-board screening,” Perseo added.

YVR told VIA that CATSA’s staff shortages are contributing to long waits and it’s unclear when the situation will improve.

However, travelers have been sharing their frustration with airport delays and cancellations for months. At the end of February, for example, Simon Hudson noted that he had had his worst experience in three “decades of international travel” despite encountering “lovely staff”. For him, the problem was the COVID-19 protocol, which he described as “[utterly] awful”

YVR has provided travelers with five tips to prepare for their next flight.

  • Arrive early. YVR strongly encourages all travelers from YVR to arrive at the airport early, at least two hours before domestic flights and at least three hours for US and international flights.
  • Follow the latest health measures. Masks remain mandatory in the terminal and on board your flight.
  • Take note of the signs in the terminal. Passengers can be directed to specific checkpoints based on volume. Please follow the signs in the terminal. YVR’s Customer Experience team and Green Coat volunteers are stationed at information desks and throughout the terminal, and are ready to answer any questions you may have.
  • Be ready for passenger screening. Recognize that CATSA staff are doing their best in very busy and difficult circumstances. For those with carry-on baggage, ensure that liquids, gels and aerosols are in containers under 100 milliliters and packed in a clear, closed, resealable plastic bag with a maximum capacity of ‘one liter. See CATSA’s full list of carry-on baggage requirements.
  • Know before you go. Prepare your travel documents, including your passport and proof of vaccination, before checking in for your flight. Also make sure you understand the entry requirements for your destination.

Find out everything BC residents need to know about flight cancellations, refunds and baggage claims.

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