Travel

How's the Pearson (YYZ) airport situation for U.S. bound flights?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 18th, 2022 12:44 pm
Member
Apr 28, 2008
219 posts
80 upvotes
Do you guys know if Nexus lanes are open in T3?
Member
Aug 19, 2015
356 posts
268 upvotes
Ajax, ON
BreakingThrough wrote: Terminal 1 - Friday before a long weekend: Arrived at 530am for an 830am flight. Bag drop off, security and customs (no nexus)... we did not get to our gate until 815am (~2hrs 45mins). The flight was delayed for an hour waiting for other passengers who were still stuck in customs. They do not start the security process until 6am but by the time we got in line around 545am after bag drop off, there was at least 100+ people ahead of us so it was pretty slow.

A friend recently travelled on a Sunday afternoon at Terminal 1 the following weekend to the US and the same process only took them 30 minutes, so YMMV.
Wow. Almost 3 hours @ 6am? Holy thats busy!

Who the hell wants to fly the 6am anyways?
Deal Fanatic
Dec 20, 2018
7667 posts
6843 upvotes
Vako636 wrote: Wow. Almost 3 hours @ 6am? Holy thats busy!

Who the hell wants to fly the 6am anyways?
people who need to arrive for a certain time..eg business travel. we bill clients as soon as we arrive, so the earlier the better and more time can be spent on site.
Member
Aug 19, 2015
356 posts
268 upvotes
Ajax, ON
StatsGuy wrote: people who need to arrive for a certain time..eg business travel. we bill clients as soon as we arrive, so the earlier the better and more time can be spent on site.
Ahhh, make sense. I always think from the personal travel side, always forget some people do that for a living
Deal Fanatic
Jan 12, 2005
5132 posts
1771 upvotes
Mississauga
Flew out of T3 Thursday morning. I had one of the first flight out and forgot security was not open yet, so it was a line of at lease 200 deep. Went all the way back to the Nexus entrance and wrap back almost to the AA check in counter. However, once it opened it moved really quickly.

Security for Nexus was closed. However, they opened up a separate line for Nexus card holder (no separate entrance though), which is useless because there's only 1 line. The regular line was moving faster.

GE machine has been updated since that last time I flew in August. They now take a picture of you first, which is having some issues. It takes about 1 min to process before they ask you to scan your passport.

I got to the airport at 4:45am and had time to spare before my 6:10am flight.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 11, 2005
9296 posts
1647 upvotes
TO
GateGuardian wrote: Flew out of T3 Thursday morning. I had one of the first flight out and forgot security was not open yet, so it was a line of at lease 200 deep. Went all the way back to the Nexus entrance and wrap back almost to the AA check in counter. However, once it opened it moved really quickly.

Security for Nexus was closed. However, they opened up a separate line for Nexus card holder (no separate entrance though), which is useless because there's only 1 line. The regular line was moving faster.

GE machine has been updated since that last time I flew in August. They now take a picture of you first, which is having some issues. It takes about 1 min to process before they ask you to scan your passport.

I got to the airport at 4:45am and had time to spare before my 6:10am flight.
That was the most annoying part at Pearson,not having a dedicated security line for Nexus/GE. The security personall care less about TSA PreCheck/Nexus like not removing shoes etc. But I understand the lines are busy and they care less of seeing who has Nexus/GE in-line
"You can't soar with the eagles if you're hanging with the turkeys - Gary Kent
Deal Fanatic
Jan 12, 2005
5132 posts
1771 upvotes
Mississauga
TorontoEh wrote: That was the most annoying part at Pearson,not having a dedicated security line for Nexus/GE. The security personall care less about TSA PreCheck/Nexus like not removing shoes etc. But I understand the lines are busy and they care less of seeing who has Nexus/GE in-line
That's the thing though, by the time I was done with security, I look back and there was hardly a line anymore. The rest of the time when I'm flying a bit later in the past, T3 have been pretty dead, taking off my shoes or keeping them on did not my delay my time getting past security/immigration.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 9, 2010
1024 posts
288 upvotes
Edmonton, Alberta
Going to share my story from my wife and I's flight yesterday (Sat. Oct 9). YEG -> YYZ -> LGA. We were flying business class but have no other special Global Entry/NEXUS status.

Our flight from YEG arrived slightly late at YYZ--we were out of the plane and through the door at Terminal 1's gate D28 at around 5:15pm (we had been sitting in row 2, business class, on Air Canada). Our LGA flight was on time, scheduled to depart at 6:30pm, boarding at 6:05pm at gate F64--so that gave us only 1:15 to make the connection. Having heard the horror stories, I was already mentally preparing myself for missing the flight. I felt it was impossible to make it.

We hustled (not a sprint, but a very brisk walk, almost a trot at times), following the "Connections to USA - F Gates" signs, until we reached security no more than 10 minutes later. There was hardly anyone there! Just one or two people in front of us. No priority security lineup that I could see (not needed, certainly, given how few people there were). My wife's carryon bag sailed through, but mine got stopped--I had forgotten to take a baggie of ice out of my cooler, which I'd filled up post-security in Edmonton.

We next proceeded to the "holding area" where you have to wait to have your initials show up on the TV screen so that you can proceed to US Customs. Here was where we hit the big delay. Our incoming Edmonton flight was still showing as "Waiting...", meaning the bags hadn't even yet begun to be processed. Fearing we'd miss our flight, we spoke to a very down-to-earth guy at the Baggage Services counter, explained we were rushing to make our flight, and was there anything he could do...? It seems as though the deal is that they need a photograph of your bag coming through the luggage system before you can go to US Customs...but as long as one person in your party has a bag that gets photo'ed, he can manually fill out a form on a piece of paper attesting that yours is also going to arrive. Which this guy did for us, once my wife's bag was photographed (he kept checking his screen to see if either of our bags had been photographed). We then sped out of there (now at a short run) at around 5:50. I was now pretty sure we were going to miss our flight.

It turned out that US Customs is just a 30-second walk from the holding area....and lo and behold, when we got there, THERE WAS NO ONE THERE. There were definitely queueing ropes set up that could handle a fairly good lineup of people, but when we arrived, there was ZERO PEOPLE in front of us and no one behind us. Four or five agents on duty--but no lineup.

Interestingly....we never had to fill out the form we've always had to fill out which asks if you've been on a farm, are you bringing meat into the USA, etc. etc. I'm not sure why, or if we just missed it and the US Customs agent never checked, or what. The agent also did not ask to see our antigen test proof (we had been asked to show it in Edmonton when we checked in), nor did he ask to see our Covid test attestation forms which we'd filled out. He did, however, check the form our Baggage Services guy had filled out for us, and stamped it.

In any case, we of course sailed through Customs, and the F Gates are just a couple of minutes away, so we arrived at gate F64 at around 5:55pm, ten minutes ahead of boarding and 35 minutes ahead of the scheduled departure time. As it turned out, our flight wound up being delayed about 20 minutes anyway.....because it had to wait for bags to be loaded on from other connecting flights.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 30, 2004
4734 posts
2157 upvotes
Durham Region
GateGuardian wrote: GE machine has been updated since that last time I flew in August. They now take a picture of you first, which is having some issues. It takes about 1 min to process before they ask you to scan your passport.
The new GE machines use facial recognition to identify you - next time you use one, it likely won't ask you for a passport anymore.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Sep 15, 2003
2495 posts
502 upvotes
Just waited a little over 3 hours for security / customs for a flight to Washington. Every flight on the board is delayed. We left without 1 person.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Sep 15, 2003
2495 posts
502 upvotes
I talked to others in our group... Some that flew from Pearson Thursday instead of Friday made it though security/customs in only 20 minutes. Wtf?

Those that flew from Billy Bishop said security was a bit slow but customs was fast at Dullas.

My next flight is already booked out of Billy Bishop. I'm cancelling 2 short haul flights that are after November 8th and driving. And I think for my flight to Florida I'm going to drive to Buffalo and fly from there.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 15, 2005
5735 posts
1321 upvotes
I flew out of Pearson in late September.

Arrived three hours early because of potential security issues. There are massive lines grouped by destination that they are letting in staggered to meet plane departures

They had closed the priority Nexus line around the back so I had to wait with the normies.

Once you actually make it to the security room entrance you can take a separate line for Nexus but it seemed understaffed and not that much faster than regular scans
Deal Fanatic
Jan 12, 2005
5132 posts
1771 upvotes
Mississauga
I thought there was another thread regarding delays flying into Pearson, but oh well.

For data point, Just flew back today into T3 from LGA. Completely dead and got through customs before the luggage bags came, which seemed to be rare for a while. They tested EVERYONE on this flight. Since I tested before, I have my Switch Health account already, so I jumped to the front of the line and was tested within 5mins.

Green PHAC sticker = no test required
Pink PHAC sticker = test required.

On a side note, LGA still a sh*tshow. Long lines and they somehow merged the Pre-check and regular line for a while. Delta had a separate check-in line for passengers fly to YYZ, so no SkyPriority :(
Deal Guru
User avatar
Jun 18, 2012
10564 posts
5207 upvotes
Toronto
muscan wrote: I flew to U.S. from Canada (and back) twice in the last two weeks. Just returned today from my 2nd trip.

Here's my experience from the 1st trip:

We got to YYZ about 2.5 hours before the flight at 9:30am (we had to check-in bags). The security lines were extremely long and if it wasn't for my U.S. citizen kid, we could have missed our flight. Please arrive early for flights. I think 3 hours sounds about right as many people on this thread have said. Because of the U.S. citizen with us, we were able to bypass the long line. There was hardly anyone in the U.S. citizen line. Nobody asked us for Antigen tests. Air Canada agents just asked for the attestation. U.S. immigration was smooth. I was asked reason for visit (visiting family in my case) and that was it.

The return had a bumpy start. The clueless Air Canada agents at the U.S. airport had no knowledge of the exemption from PCR testing for people who recovered from Covid in the 14-90 day period before the flight. The agent simply could not understand it even though I was showing her the official government website. She just let us go with a warning that we may experience issues upon arriving in Canada (which I knew was false). Upon arriving in Canada, we made it to the customs/immigration counter pretty quickly (the lines were short) only to encounter a CBSA officer who didn't quite understand why we had positive tests from before 14 days (and not negative ones). He escorted us to Public Health of Canada who very suprisingly were also acting like they weren't sure how to process us although they let us go after knowing all the adults were fully vaccinated. They also for some reason apologized to us (I'm assuming for all the confusion and lack of knowledge on their part). I'm just shocked that no one from the airline reps, border officer and the public health folks were knowledgeable about exemptions to the pre-entry tests.

2nd trip:

I used my Nexus on this one as I was travelling alone. My family doesn't have Nexus so couldn't use it in the previous trip. I arrived 1.5 hours from my 6:30am flight. The American Airlines agent was also clueless about CDC's exemption for those who have documentation of recovery from Covid-19. She called her supervisor who asked for a "doctor's letter" even though I had provided them Peel Public Health's release of isolation letter (which meets CDC's requirements as they clearly say it could be a letter from a doctor or a public health official). After wasting a few minutes arguing with the supervisor, I was allowed a boarding pass. Security lines were full but not too long. Terminal 3 has a smaller intake area as well. Using Nexus, I was through the U.S. customs/immigration fairly quickly. It didn't take more than 30 minutes for the entire process leaving me enough time before boarding.

My return flight was with Air Canada and the agent was less clueless than the others but still had to be educated on the Covid recovery exemption. This time they made an issue about how my Ontario positive test (from before 14 days) did not have my last name. I told them it's from the government of Ontario!! Then off she went to the supervisor. I was asked to produce my health card so they can verify the last 4 digits on the test. I was given a boarding pass after this. After landing at YYZ, they allowed 50 passengers to get off at a time under some holding protocol so I was in the plane for a good 30 minutes. Using Nexus, the customs and immigration part was smooth and fast. CBSA officer did not ask for a PCR test this time, only looked at ArriveCan -- which was a relief!
how do you get a Peel Public Health's release of isolation letter? I got a positive result but not sure how to get a letter after i am clear of symptoms
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jul 29, 2005
9120 posts
3012 upvotes
Mississauga
I have to fly out early morning tomorrow from Terminal 1. Has anyone flew out lately and if the airport has been busy? Would I be okay to arrive two hours early?
My food blog - Reggie The Food Critic.
[OP]
Member
User avatar
Jun 4, 2013
457 posts
497 upvotes
GTA
ManCaveGamer wrote: how do you get a Peel Public Health's release of isolation letter? I got a positive result but not sure how to get a letter after i am clear of symptoms
They will send it to you. I am not sure what the current situation is with the rise in Omicron cases and potentially their workload but last summer when I tested positive, Peel Public Health had proactively reached out and after interviewing me, they provided this letter via email. If they haven't called you, I would just call them and ask for the letter.

Top