Be prepared for long delays at Pearson Airport in Mississauga, travel influencer warns

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Published October 26, 2021 at 10:43 am

A renowned travel influencer issued a warning yesterday to people headed for Pearson Airport in Mississauga: prepare for hours-long delays, especially if you don’t have NEXUS privileges that help move passengers along more quickly. 

Johnny Jet, named one of Forbes’ Top 10 Travel Influencers in 2017, tweeted he was planning to fly to Toronto via Pearson for a night from his U.S. home when he discovered he had issues with his NEXUS account.  

“Then, I just saw a disturbing tweet…from Pearson Airport, which is the reason for this post,” said John E. DiScala, aka Johnny Jet, who notes he travels to more than 20 countries each year. Since starting his newsletter in 1995, he’s travelled about 100,000 air miles annually and has been to more than 100 countries.  

The tweet to which he’s referring was a Saturday post from Pearson Airport to travellers. It read: 

“Afternoons and evenings are busy times for arrivals at Pearson. If you’re flying into the airport during these times, be aware that the process for international arrivals could take 1-3 hours due to additional COVID-19 health screenings.” 

DiScala’s response?  

“Yikes! And if that wasn’t bad enough, Journey Woman tweeted, ‘If you’re flying to the U.S. (from Pearson), the lineup is enormous. I’ve never seen it so long. Come at least three hours ahead or you might miss your flight. International line is much faster!’,” he said.  

“If you don’t have NEXUS, it looks like you could be in YYZ (Pearson) for hours on both ends of your trip, so plan accordingly and travel on off-peak times and days whenever possible.” 

One family in particular had a negative experience yesterday at Pearson. The family of five was left devastated after missing their flight to Jamaica for a vacation due to chaos at Air Canada check-in. Several flights were reportedly all leaving at the same time. 

The family, which had spent $10,000 on the vacation, reportedly arrived at Pearson three hours before their scheduled departure, as recommended by the airline. 

Air Canada, which has offered to fly the family to Jamaica later this week, acknowledged there were a number of flights leaving at the same time. It also noted that the family did not have the proper travel health documents, which added to their delay.
Chaotic scenarios at Pearson aren’t new since the resumption of international travel in early September. In fact, lengthy lineups and frustrating delays are common at the airport, and Pearson officials themselves often take to Twitter and other social media to alert travellers to delays and other issues.  

Many travellers stuck for hours at Pearson since early last month have described the atmosphere inside the terminals as chaotic. 

Still, some travellers have somewhat nicer things to say about the Mississauga-based airport. 

Responding to the travel warning in the Johnny Jet newsletter, a reader named Tony left the following comment last night: 

“It’s articles like these that make people feel that they can’t travel. We have been on two international flights, one from Jamaica and one from Cancun, in September and October. From landing to car in one hour both times. Lines in customs move very fast.” 

Later last night, Pearson traveller Rona Zevin noted: 

“I just flew through Toronto from Nova Scotia to Seattle via Vancouver. Not many people and moved through quickly. It was quite early in the morning, about 7 a.m.” 

As far as the Pearson Airport experience is concerned, many travellers comment online that timing is everything. Things tend to move more smoothly, as at any major airport, they conclude, if you are able to travel at off-peak times.  

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