How to Avoid the Long Lines at Canadian Airports

Anxiety comes in many forms but few forms are akin to the anxiety experienced when feeling like you’re about to miss your flight. This has been an unfortunate reality for many Canadians this Spring and Summer, as most Canadian airports (especially Pearson!) endless wait times at security checkpoints and customs have continued to disrupt the flow of traffic from door to gate. Here are some helpful tips we think might lessen any anxiety about your upcoming journey:

1. Pack Light & Check-In Online

It can’t be overstated enough. With airlines now charging extra for checked baggage, it only makes sense to consolidate your belongings into a compact, overhead-bin friendly bag or suitcase. Keep calm and carry-on! With this, you’ll be able to complete online check-in at home and head straight for security upon arrival instead of spending precious time waiting to check-in with an airport representative. You can also check how the security line is doing at all Canadian airports on the CATSA website.

2. Book a Midday Flight

If you have yet to make definite travel plans or have booked a flexible ticket, consider booking (or changing to) a flight that leaves after 12pm. It seems the lines at the airport are most hectic first thing in the morning, as travelers queue up before the airport staff even arrive! Lines seem to thin out in the late morning and early afternoon, where some have claimed they’ve headed straight for the metal detector without a second of wait time.

3. Arrive Early

Okay, yes. It’s obvious! But it can’t be overstated enough. Why sit at home scrolling through your phone waiting for the 3-hour mark to hit when you can just head to the airport and get a jump start on the uncertainty. Most airports got plenty of amenities at the gates to keep you occupied if you get lucky. Better safe than sorry! 

4. Download a Meditation app.

Unconventional? Well, sometimes these things are not entirely in your control. If you’ve followed the above three tips and are still dealing with lines in and out of airports, you may be forced to wait for a while with no reprieve. Your best bet is to remain calm and not make it any more difficult for the already-stressed airport staff. Work cooperatively with those in charge of the traffic flow and you’ll get home eventually. Play it safe and don’t make plans for your arrival day. Expect to have to wait and either have those expectations met or be pleasantly surprised by a shorter wait. Everything is about mindset! 

5. Up Your Travel Arsenal 

While the processing time likely won’t save you on this go-round, it’s never a better time to be reminded to enroll in the NEXUS program, which will allow you priority line-skip at airports throughout North America. Find all pertinent info on applying for this expediting travel perk here. In the meantime, you can also find credit card perks that will give you great benefits in these circumstances. Currently, several AMEX cards offer you the opportunity to line-skip security at airports. 

Best of luck to all those traveling again this summer. Don’t forget to remind yourself – It was all worth it, in the end, if you got to see the world again. 

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