Travel Tips for the Holiday Season from Toronto Pearson

Toronto Pearson International Airport reopened its second busiest runway Monday morning after an eight-month redevelopment project. The $80 million project took a year and a half to complete.

“As the busiest airport in Canada and one of the busiest in North America, the return of this runway at Pearson Airport will ensure passengers get in and out of the GTA safely and smoothly,” Canada’s Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra said in a press release.

And that too in time for the holiday season.

A spokesman for the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) told CTV News Toronto that the holidays tend to be “very busy,” especially for families.

All summer long, Pearson travelers have faced hours of flight delays, long queues or missing suitcases. Aside from being once named the world’s worst airport for delays, Pearson was ranked among the five worst airports on the continent for overall customer satisfaction in September.

Since then, GTAA says it has worked with airlines and government partners to “improve the travel experience.”

“Since then we have seen great improvements [the] Sommer given the coordinated work of Pearson and airport partners to improve the passenger experience,” GTAA’s Tori Gass said in an emailed statement.

“This work is ongoing and we expect improvements to continue during the holiday trip.”

Part of that work, according to Gass, involves working with airlines up front to make sure “they are balancing their operations with their resources.”


Those who jet off on vacation should take a little more time and arrive at the airport early.

Gass recommends domestic flights to arrive two hours before departure, while international travelers are advised to arrive three hours before departure.

According to Gass, there are a few websites and apps that Pearson passengers can use in the hope that their day of travel will go smoothly.

To book a spot in the security line, travelers can first go online to YYZ Express to reserve their check time. Airmen can also see all airport wait times across Pearson from check-in to customs on the Wait Time Dashboard.

Travelers looking to book a flight when it’s not busy can check Pearson’s peak travel times to get an idea of ​​which hours are not the busiest, as they’re based on historical travel data at Toronto Airport.

If your journey takes you south of the border into the United States, passengers can download the Mobile Passport Control app, which is supported by US Customs and Border Protection.

Eligible travelers can submit their passport information online and complete their customs declaration form before crossing the border.

The ArriveCan app also features pre-declaration, which allows travelers to enter their customs details up to 72 hours before their return flight. Gass says this “can make the arrival process smoother.”

Finally, Gass advises travelers to be aware of the weather during this time of year as it can affect travel.

“In winter weather, passengers may experience delays as we prioritize safety,” Gass said. “We advise you to check the weather forecast before your flight and be prepared in case your flight is affected.”

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