Reports of chaos are emerging at Toronto Pearson International Airport, just one of the many airports left in the lurch across the country as a winter storm wallops western Canadian air travel hubs, creating a cascading effect of delays and cancellations.
And with holiday travel currently at its peak and a nasty winter storm approaching the Greater Toronto Area, the current reports of long waits and confusion could soon get a whole lot worse.
The Canadian Press reported on Thursday morning that “more than 1,000 of Air Canada and WestJet flights have been grounded since Sunday,” and even a brief glimpse at social media confirms that it’s getting really chaotic over at Pearson.
Things were already looking dicey at Pearson before the threat of a major winter storm. In one case, a Sunwing pilot just didn’t bother to show up for a flight, while another group of passengers chanted expletives after waiting hours for their luggage.
And the coming arrival of snow, extreme cold, and the lengthy plane de-icing process are unlikely to improve the airport’s operations.
Canada’s busiest air travel hub issued a warning on Wednesday reminding travellers to check their flights, an ominous sign that often foreshadows travel chaos.
WEATHER ALERT: Winter weather forecasted for tomorrow may impact operations at Toronto Pearson. Please check your flight status with your airline before leaving for the airport. #ONstorm #safetyfirst pic.twitter.com/MvuGUNeqHw
— Toronto Pearson (@TorontoPearson) December 21, 2022
Though it seems that Pearson’s reminder has not proven sufficient for the many travellers who claim their flights were delayed or cancelled with little warning from their airline.
We did. No info it was cancelled. No one @ departing airport said anything. No email updates. No west jet app notification. We sure feel like the suckers! As we sit in Toronto for 3 days at least. You got your money out of us….guess that is all you care about. #westjetsucks
— I (@alwaysseebeauty) December 22, 2022
Pearson’s arrivals and departures pages do indeed show a high volume of delays as of Thursday morning, suggesting that the ongoing complaints seen on social media likely aren’t headed toward a speedy resolution.
Others complain of long waits and a complete lack of direction from airport and airline staff.
Nothing like waiting over 3 hours in the @AirCanada line up at Toronto Pearson airport just for them to close everything down. Bad enough our flight has been delayed, was promised food vouchers and hotel vouchers. Nothing. Stranded at a damn airport.
— Robyn (@NaughtyN8ive) December 22, 2022
It seems all of the expletive chanting last week has had little effect, as days later, baggage claim and drop areas are still a problem.
Worst combo in the world man
— Sonaldo (@sonaldo____7) December 22, 2022
Those lucky enough to actually board their flight at Pearson aren’t necessarily home free, and there are numerous reports of passengers forced to sit for hours on the tarmac, often longer than the length of their actual flight.
@AirCanada sat on the tarmac at Pearson. Our flight is now 8 hours late. We have a 6 month old baby, and we’re sat here getting no updates as to the status of our flight, or when we might even take off. What’s going on?!
— Will (@willgho) December 20, 2022
A representative of the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, which oversees Pearson Airport, tells blogTO that “The incoming winter weather forecast this week may cause delays or cancellations.”
“As well, the domino effect of the weather in Vancouver has been causing disruption in the system and will continue to impact our operations through the weekend. As always, we ask travellers to please check their flight status.
“Safety is our top priority. We continue to monitor the weather closely and crews are hard at work to ensure the safe movement of our valued passengers,” says the airport representative.
“We ask everyone travelling or picking up friends and family to check our website or consult with their airline prior to leaving for the airport for the most up-to-date information on their flight status.”