Toronto Pearson traveler ‘discouraged’ seeing ‘mountains’ of bags

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Toronto Pearson International Airport has shown signs of improvement in recent weeks, but a traveler and aviation expert said he was disheartened to see ‘mountains’ of bags and triple security lines piled up at the airport over the weekend -end.

“What this tells us is the information that Transport Canada is touting that things are looking up, things are not looking up,” said Robert Kokonis, president of AirTrav, a global consulting firm. aviation, at CTV News Toronto.

Mountains of bags and triple security lines at Toronto Pearson International Airport on August 14, 2022 (Robert Kokonis).

Sunday night, Kokonis said, he flew from Halifax to Toronto. When he arrived at Terminal 1’s baggage claim area, he saw hundreds of bags, strollers and walkers lined up on the floor. He also took a look at the inner security line, which he said was 70 meters long.

“Seeing security queues that long and piles of luggage was really disheartening,” he said.

This follows a stream of positive news recently associated with the travel hub. Last week, the federal government said the number of planes held on the tarmac at Pearson has “dramatically decreased“since early May.

A few weeks earlier, the chairman of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which oversees operations at Pearson, announced that the travel hub had seen “measurable” operational improvements in recent weeks.

However, Kokonis said it was clear to him while he was at the airport that the chronic issues this summer had not been resolved.

“We are now, only about 20 days away from the end of the summer peak and it is clear that these issues have not been resolved,” he said.

GTAA spokeswoman Tori Gass said airlines are responsible for delivering baggage to passengers, not the airport. CTV News Toronto has contacted Air Canada for a response.

“We had no problems with the baggage system last night,” Gass said.

While mountains of bags and long security lines have come to symbolize the headaches of traveling this summer, Kokonis said these issues are only showing a “ripple effect”.

He pointed ArriveCan app issues and the need to update technology to security to eliminate the need for travelers to remove electronic devices from their bags as a few examples of urgently needed improvements.

“Most of the time government policy has led to these really big issues,” he said.

“Ultimately, we are hurting the Canadian tourism brand.”

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