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Air travel: Canada not alone as airport problems persist

As Canadian airports face their own challenges during the busy summer season, they are by no means alone.

Long lines, canceled flights, delays and lost luggage are problems that are infiltrating not only major airports in Canada, but also those in other countries, according to a travel expert.

“We’re seeing the exact same issues at all major airport hubs around the world,” Jennifer Weatherhead, founder of travelandstyle.ca, told CTV News Channel on Sunday.

“So Europe is facing a lot of these issues, certainly the United States is facing a lot of these issues, not only with flight delays but also with cancellations, because they say they sometimes don’t have not enough pilots to fill those flights and move people from place to place, so that’s a bit of an issue around the world and I would keep that in mind.

Weatherhead advises travelers to get to their departure airport as soon as possible and check that their travel insurance covers trip cancellations, interruptions, and lost or stolen baggage.

“Be prepared for delays at all times,” she said.

The aviation industry has cut thousands of jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic as demand for travel has plummeted. Now, with the lifting of COVID-19 related restrictions in many jurisdictions, travel demand has rebounded, but staffing levels have not kept pace.

Travel to the United States has been particularly strained recently due to the July 4 holiday weekend, with airports seeing their biggest crowds since the pandemic began more than two years ago.

Tracking site FlightAware reported more than 6,800 flight delays and 587 other cancellations at US airports Friday and more than 2,200 delays and 540 cancellations recorded late Saturday morning.

Airlines such as Delta, Southwest and JetBlue have reduced their summer schedules to avoid further problems, which Air Canada and WestJet have also done.

Outside North America, a technical failure on Saturday left at least 1,500 bags stranded at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, with 15 flights departing without bags.

Airport workers are also on strike in France, demanding more hiring and wages to keep up with global inflation. Aviation authorities have canceled a number of flights as a result.

In Amsterdam, the city’s Schiphol Airport announced last month that it would limit the number of departing travelers each day to avoid long queues and missed flights.

The airport is also advising travelers to arrive no later than four hours before their flight to ensure a “smooth flow” at check-in and security counters.

Richard Vanderlubbe, director of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies and president of tripcentral.ca, told CTV News Channel on Saturday that if a pilot or crew is sick, an airline must scramble to find a qualified pilot for that particular plane.

Many people have also left the airline and travel industry for other “safer havens”, he said.

“Of course, when we’re under restrictions and we’ve had all these restrictions for so long, expecting things to turn on like a switch, that’s not very realistic,” he said. -he declares.

Justus Smith told CTV News Channel on Sunday that he had booked a flight from Regina to Boston, but his connecting flight via Toronto was canceled on June 25.

He got a flight the next morning and chose to spend the night at the airport.

Despite being 13 hours early, Smith says he couldn’t clear customs more than four hours before he left.

Smith says he ultimately missed his flight after being delayed through customs and security.

He finally arrived in Boston but says he did not receive his checked baggage.

Now, a week later, Smith is still waiting to collect her bags.

“I spent the week at a professional development course. I was the only one who had shorts and a baseball cap because I had no clothes,” he said.

Despite the situation, Smith recognized airport staff for the work they do under difficult circumstances.

“The airport people are amazing. Everyone does their best,” he said.

“You see a lot of angry customers. It makes no sense to get angry. It’s frustrating, but you can’t blame the staff.”

With files from CTV News and The Associated Press

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