Travellers are expressing frustration and outrage after lengthy waits at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) resulted in delayed or missed flights.
YVR is urging travellers to arrive early at the airport, advising them to allow two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international.
But numerous travellers say they recently missed flights or came close to missing them despite arriving hours in advance of their departure time. Several of them say one of the security areas was closed, creating longer wait times.
Vancouver-based CFOX-FM radio host Casey-Joo Loos shared an experience travelling to the United States via YVR in late April where she barely made her flight after arriving three hours before her scheduled departure.
“Do we need four hours in advance for a [U.S.] flight?” she asked. “Wish I knew. [I] just ran to my gate and barely made it and there are many left behind [families].”
yo @yvrairport why do passengers have to wait three hours to board a flight to the states? lines after lines after lines. do we need four hours in advance for a US flight? wish i knew. just ran to my gate and barely made it and there are many left behind [families]. really sucks.
— casey-jo loos (@caseyjoloos)
The radio personality added that airport staff told her “this has been a problem for weeks” and advised her to fill out a customer feedback form.
Another local tweeted that he purchased a Premium Class ticket to Paris with WestJet but was bumped to an Economy Class ticket after he missed his flight “due to a very long security line at the airport.” His next flight was eight hours later and he said he hasn’t been provided compensation.
A Metro Vancouverite who holds a Nexus card recently travelled through the Vancouver airport on route to San Francisco and noted the “security line was deep”, particularly for non-Nexus holders.
“It was the longest I waited but it was probably 30-40 [minutes] to get through security and US customs so not bad. However, the plane was 45 [minutes] delayed waiting for non-Nexus,” he wrote on Twitter.
Some travellers continue to move through the airport with relative ease, however. Dana Bidnall wrote in a Twitter post that she flew out of YVR on April 16 and joked that the only long wait she experienced was at the Starbucks “post-security.” She wondered if having an early morning flight (8 a.m.) and holding a Nexus card helped.
The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority and long waits at YVR
The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), which is the federal crown corporation responsible for all passenger security screening, is experiencing ongoing staffing shortages.
CATSA spokesperson Suzanne Perseo told Vancouver Is Awesome that the corporation has been actively supporting its contractors to recruit and develop new staff.
“Screening resources are scheduled according to airline traffic. Prior to the pandemic, resources could be cross-utilized more efficiently between the Transborder and Domestic and International checkpoints due to staggered passenger peaks,” she wrote in an email.
“As air travel recovers we are observing simultaneous peaks, which can result in passengers flooding more than one security checkpoint at a time, making the redistribution of resources to address these passenger volumes more challenging. At times, this can contribute to longer passenger wait times at all airports.”
Increasingly, passengers are travelling with more carry-on bags “resulting in additional time required to process these bags at Pre-Board Screening,” added Perseo.
YVR told V.I.A. that CATSA’s staff shortages are contributing to the long waits and it is unclear when the situation will improve.
Travellers have shared frustration with delays and cancellations at the airport for months, however. In late February, for example, Simon Hudson noted that he had his worst experience in three “decades of international travel” despite encountering “lovely staff.” For him, the issue was the COVID-19 protocol, which he described as “[utterly] awful”
Last night’s process for getting the passengers of #BA85 through #VancouverAirport was as bad as I have ever experienced in 3 decades of international travel. Three hours! Border team, great; baggage, adequate; COVID process, unutterably awful.
Thankful for lovely staff. #Canada
— Simon Hudson (@simonjhudson)
YVR has provided travellers with five tips to prepare for their next flight.
Find out everything B.C. residents need to know about flight cancellations, refunds, and baggage claims.
This content was originally published here.