New program will let travellers skip lines at some Canadian airports

May 23 2023, 4:01 pm

Some air travellers will soon have a much easier time navigating the long lines and crowds of Canadian international airports thanks to a new program promising faster and more efficient screening experiences for eligible travellers at Canada’s busiest airports.

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority’s (CATSA) new Verified Traveller program was announced on Tuesday by federal Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, who revealed details of the changes that CATSA hopes will streamline airport crowding ahead of the busy summer travel season.

The new Verified Traveller program will take effect by June 21, replacing the previous Trusted Traveller Program that allows select passengers to use new dedicated fast-tracked lines and queues.

Updating the previous program, the new measure will expand lines where eligible travellers are offered time-saving benefits during security screenings, like keeping their laptops, electronics, and compliant gels and liquids in their carry-on baggage, and not being forced to suffer the indignity of removing shoes and belts.

These perks will apply to members of the Nexus and Global entry programs, as well as active members of the Canadian Armed Forces and US military, including reservists, aircrew and airport workers, and law enforcement.

One of the biggest changes allows eligible travellers accompanying children who are 17 years of age and younger, and adults who are 75 years of age and older, to join their travel companions in these faster-moving lines, provided they are booked on the same reservation.

Transport Canada claims that its “Verified Traveller program will help ease congestion over time, as use of dedicated Verified Traveller lines grows.”

Eligible travellers will be able to access these lines at select domestic and international checkpoints in airports across Canada by June 21. These include checkpoints in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 of Toronto Pearson International Airport, as well as points in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Montreal.

The move comes in advance of the busy summer travel season, hoping to relieve the crowds and prevent the mayhem witnessed across Canada during a perfect storm of travel demand and understaffed airports that plagued operations in mid-2022.

Acknowledging the challenges of 2022, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) announced its own set of improvements for airport operations earlier in May.

These include new contactless check-in and boarding processes, and a partnership with the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) to introduce biometric e-gates for quicker customs clearance.

Jack LandauJack Landau

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