While it’s already recommended to give yourself extra time at the airport when flying during the COVID-19 pandemic, Air Canada is driving the point home by changing a key cut-off time for international passengers flying out of Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ).
Starting Wednesday (Oct. 13), the check-in and baggage drop-off deadline for passengers flying to the U.S. or any other international destination from YYZ will increase to 90 minutes before the scheduled departure.
The reason for the change is to "reduce congestion at security and customers," the airline tweeted on Oct. 8.
Furthermore, for Toronto Pearson flights departing to the U.S. before 12:00 p.m., a new “queue system” for security and customs is in effect.
Air Canada says this system is in place to “to optimize the flow of customers.”
“After you check in, look for the signage to see which queue you should enter for your flight,” Air Canada tweeted. “We apologize in advance for any additional wait times as we work to make your experience at Toronto Pearson as seamless as possible.”
On meeting check-in deadlines, and to avoid airport delays, Air Canada still invites customers to check in from 24 hours prior to departure using the Air Canada App or online.
“If you prefer to check in at the airport, please arrive well before the check-in deadlines,” the airline says.
On baggage drop-off: the airline advises customers to arrive well before the baggage drop-off counter closes – “as you cannot check bags once the deadlines below have passed.”
“Overweight baggage can take longer to check,” Air Canada says, advising customers to use its checked baggage calculator to determine a free baggage allowance or any fees.
Air Canada is also warning that “processing times at the airport are longer than normal due to COVID-19,” while reminding customers to “respect” the deadlines.
Customers are being advised to arrive at Toronto Pearson (or Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport) three hours before a flight to the U.S. or other international destinations.
For flights within Canada, passengers are encouraged to arrive at the airport 90 minutes before departure, but can check-in or drop their bags 45 minutes prior to flying out.