Inside the floor-sleeping, tarmac-waiting, line-winding, global-laughing-stock-making true story of what happened at Toronto’s Pearson airport this summer.
According to a CNN Travel report based on data compiled from the flight tracking site FlightAware, 52.5% of all of Toronto Pearson’s scheduled flights were delayed between May 26 and July 19.
This puts Toronto Pearson into the number one spot for flight delays in the world, ahead of Frankfurt Airport (45.4% delays) and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (43.2% delays).
Toronto Pearson also takes the number four spot for cancellations, with 6.5% of flights being straight up cancelled, most likely due to delays.
This is also the same airport that former NHL player Ryan Whitney infamously described as a “hellhole” in a viral video after being made to wait days to board a flight out of Canada.
In the video, Whitney says he landed in Toronto at roughly 3 p.m. on a Sunday, spent three hours in line to get through customs, and was told his flight was cancelled.
“At this point now, I go and see that there’s about a 400-person line with about two Air Canada workers. There [were] a million cancelled flights, and everyone was just panicking,” he continues.
He then waited for almost six more hours in line before Air Canada closed shop and told him to go somewhere else.
“By the time I finally speak to someone from Air Canada, it’s 1 a.m.,” Whitney said. At this point, adding that he asked for his luggage back so he could just drive across the border to Buffalo.
But no dice. Air Canada had such a backlog of missed flights that the luggage had built up and was deemed unretrievable.
He then booked a new flight, from Toronto to Boston, at 8 a.m. Whitney says he slept a few hours and returned over three hours early.
He was then told that Air Canada had made more changes and that he would need to depart in 50 minutes to head to Montreal. Thus, he would not clear security. As a result, his flight was cancelled again.
After jumping through more hoops and wait lines, Whitney finally managed to escape Canada.
Whitney’s experience is, of course, an international embarrassment for Canada and likely contributed to Trudeau easing some travel restrictions for the remainder of the Summer.
But it’s still not enough. Several other lingering COVID policies, such as the requirement of ArriveCan or random COVID testing, continue to contribute to Canada’s bogged-down travel industry, and Trudeau appears unwilling to budge.