Travel Better | The obstacle course is not over yet

The summer holidays are coming and the desire to travel abroad sometimes becomes irresistible. Traveling on a whim like before the pandemic is possible again, but even with Ottawa again suspending certain hygiene measures this week, organizing a last-minute trip can still feel like an obstacle course. Insights and advice to prepare for your departure… and your return.

Posted at 7:15 p.m

Simon Chabot

Simon Chabot
The press

Everyone wants to go

“Everyone decided to go at the same time,” says Manon Langelier, Laurier Du Vallon’s regional vacation director. To the point where unfortunately we cannot serve all customers at the moment. So does the CAA-Quebec agency, which asks travelers to make an appointment to speak with an agent. “We’ve lost a lot of people during the pandemic,” says Nicolas Ryan, director of public affairs at CAA-Quebec. We have a hundred positions open. “It is possible to travel at the last minute, there are availabilities,” Manon Langelier would like to clarify. But maybe not with the advice of a specialist…

A chaotic revival

However, these tips are particularly helpful right now, as the strong recovery, coupled with a labor shortage, has caused countless turbulences in the travel world. Endless queues to get a passport or to go through security and customs checks, flights canceled by the hundreds: the plight of travelers made a lot of noise this spring. “We failed miserably in preparing for recovery,” said Mehran Ebrahimi, director of the International Observatory of Aeronautics and Civil Aviation at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM), who criticized Ottawa for not doing enough to address the problem The country’s airports help in maintaining an employment relationship with their workers. The lack of a single baggage handler can delay a plane’s take-off and lead to a whole host of disruptions, Mr Ebrahimi recalls.

improvements, but…

“The federal government is waiting for people to yell bad before they do anything,” continues the man who teaches UQAM at ESG. Amid dissatisfaction, Ottawa has just announced the suspension of mandatory vaccination for travelers from June 20, after doing the same with random testing for COVID-19 at airports. Already earlier in the week the lines at Montreal-Trudeau seemed to be shorter. But the wait for the issuance of a passport remains long. Family Minister Karina Gould could not say on Monday when normality would return. The federal government now recommends travelers to submit a passport application between 45 and 50 days before departure.

A global crisis

Canada is not alone with airport misfires. More than 1,000 passengers trapped in lines missed their flight at Dublin Airport in a week, CNN reported earlier this month. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has asked for military help to restore the situation at UK airports, where long queues, lost luggage and canceled flights are wreaking havoc. In the United States, labor shortages also led to the cancellation of nearly 2,800 flights during the Memorial Day long weekend at the end of May.

How it goes ?

In this context, preparing for a trip is more important than ever, reminds Nicolas Ryan from CAA-Quebec. Passport, insurance, entry requirements for the countries visited: the list is growing fast. And constantly changing. To stay current, CAA-Quebec relies on the Sherpa service offered on its website. The tool, which is updated every “15 or 20 minutes”, contains all the documents, forms and tests required for a specific destination. “It’s valuable to be able to consult it from the start,” says Nicolas Ryan. If you’re buying your own airline tickets, Laurier Du Vallon’s Manon Langelier also schedules longer layovers. “For example, if you’re 1 hour 30 minutes between flights in Toronto, you’ll miss your connection,” she says.

Plan your return

Regardless of the charms, people really want to go, notes Nicolas Ryan. Waiting on the way out, in the excitement of saying goodbye, goes pretty well, but that on the way back, “when people are just waiting to get home,” is a lot more painful, he says. However, if Ottawa has thrown ballast on certain measures, use will apply ArrivalCAN will be maintained for all travelers entering the country. Mehran Ebrahimi is difficult to explain: “It triples the time each passenger spends at customs! Despite Ottawa’s announced hiring, onboarding new employees will take a long time and the labor shortage has not yet had its last word, the professor believes. “We pay over the holidays,” he says. Any advice for a return without too long waiting times at customs? It’s better to plan your return to Montréal-Trudeau outside of the international arrivals peak hours, which are Thursday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Aéroports de Montréal recalls.

With the Canadian Press

Learn more

  • 1.3 million
    between 1ah As of April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022, Service Canada issued 1.3 million passports. In the same period last year, just 363,000 passports were issued.

    Source: The Canadian Press

    3 a.m.
    Aéroports de Montréal asks travelers to arrive three hours before departure, whether it’s an international flight to the United States or a domestic flight. This is especially true in the morning for flights to the United States and between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Thursday through Sunday for international flights.

    Source: Montreal Airports

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