Travel demand as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted is met by a short-staffed airline industry and is causing travel chaos for Canadians – and there is no end in sight, according to some experts.
Airlines and airports are struggling to cope with the massive resurgence in travel, as staffing issues at carriers and federal agencies turn into flight cancellations, baggage delays and endless lines .
“It’s not going to get any better anytime soon. I see the issues getting worse as time goes by for the summer for sure,” the president of Travel Secure Inc., Martin Firestone.
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The industry was forced to close almost earlier in the pandemic. Airlines and airports have reduced their workforce through layoffs and early retirements.
However, the industry has been unable to revive hiring to the same degree and demand for flights has increased.
“Just a domino effect. It’s all starting to fall apart on every level,” Firestone said. not ready to handle this new demand.”
Winnipeg Richardson International Airport is approaching pre-pandemic travel levels.
“Last Monday, July 4, was the busiest day since the pandemic began,” said Winnipeg Airports Authority communications director Michel Rosset. “We welcomed over 11,600 travelers that day alone, which is still slightly lower than our pre-pandemic number of around 12,300 passengers per day.”
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But despite the demand, cancellations and delays are commonplace.
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Air Canada and Toronto’s Pearson Airport again claimed the top spots for flight delays on Tuesday, marking at least four consecutive days the country’s largest airline ranked No. 1 of all major carriers in the world.
Air Canada has seen 65% of its flights arrive late.
“They created a schedule that there was no infrastructure, including their own, to be able to make it a reality and that’s the problem we’re all facing now,” Firestone said.
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It’s not just flight cancellations and delays that travelers face, but also long security lines and delayed baggage that now pile up inside terminals and leave many without their bags for days.
Many are left trying to pack their belongings for long trips into carry-on luggage.
“I have two bags to carry on the plane,” traveler Glen Craig told Global News at the Winnipeg airport. “One is packed like a Jack-in-the-box, so if you put a crack in it it could explode. I didn’t want to lose my luggage.
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However, Firestone said packing a carry-on may not save you from having baggage problems.
“There’s so much carry-on baggage and there’s only so much room in the overhead storage cabinets of an airplane,” Firestone said. “So at the end of the day he can still end up under the plane, so that’s a big deal.”
Firestone said if you’re planning on traveling this summer, there are a few tips to try and ease your pains.
He suggests avoiding booking connecting flights whenever possible, as they can lead to an increased risk of missing flights and losing luggage, arriving at the airport very early and buying trackers. luggage for your suitcases.
“It’s a cheap way to track your potential bag and give you peace of mind, I guess, to some degree,” he said.
Also, be patient, Firestone said you’ll need an extra big bag for these days.
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