As Canadian airports continue to experience long lines, canceled flights and even lost luggage, travel expert Natalie Preddie says there are still ways to ensure a less stressful airport experience.
ARRIVE AND FLY EARLY
Airlines recommend arriving three hours early for international flights and two hours for domestic flights. However, if you’re traveling for a special occasion, like a wedding, graduation, or cruise, Preddie recommends scheduling flights to arrive a few days before the event.
“You don’t want to show up the day before or the day after, you have to give yourself time in case there are any cancellations or delays,” Preddie told CTV’s Your Morning on Tuesday.
When scheduling flights, it is important to consider the departure time. The earlier the flight, the better, as Preddie says, earlier flights are less likely to experience cancellations or severe delays.
“There are less likely to be cancellations or delays with those early flights, but you still need to get there early because you can be sure that at 4 a.m. there will be a line to get through customs,” he said.
TO BE UP TO DATE
To avoid arriving at the airport only to find your flight is several hours late, Preddie recommends downloading the airline’s app to get real-time updates on any flight delays or cancellations.
During a family trip to Italy, Preddie says she was notified of a seven-hour delay on her flight home. Rather than rest at the airport, he says his family was able to take advantage of the delay.
“We were able to spend more time in Rome for lunch and we didn’t have to spend those extra seven hours at the airport,” he said.
BOOK LONG STOP
As delayed flights become more frequent, Preddie says booking connecting flights that have a minimum three-hour wait time will provide enough time to ensure you don’t miss your connecting flight.
BRING YOUR OWN FOOD
The long lines at the airport do not end at customs, but have been seen outside restrooms and food courts. To stave off hunger pangs without the headache of queuing, it’s best to pack snacks or any customs-allowed food ahead of time.
“Lines for restaurants or fast food are huge and you could spend your entire time at the airport standing in line, so bring your own snacks,” Preddie said.
Lastly, travel insurance has never been more imperative as travelers experience more than one problem throughout their trip.
“Absolutely don’t go without it,” Preddie said, emphasizing that most travel insurance plans will include all of the major concerns Canadians have been experiencing this travel season.
“For medical reasons outside of Ontario or outside of whatever province you’re in, but also trip cancellations, trip interruptions, lost luggage which we’ve seen a lot of recently.”