New U.S.-bound flight restrictions cause ‘very significant’ delays

New restrictions on U.S.-bound flights caused “very significant” delays and headaches for travellers at Canada’s busiest airport Sunday.

U.S.-bound passengers wait in line at check-in counters at Toronto's international airport on Sunday. New regulations imposed after an apparent terror attack was thwarted on Christmas Day have led to important delays. More than 160 flights were listed as cancelled as of 10 p.m. Sunday evening

New restrictions on U.S.-bound flights caused “very significant” delays and headaches for travellers at Canada’s busiest airport Sunday.

New regulations imposed after an apparent terror attack was thwarted on Christmas Day have led to “a tough day” at Pearson International Airport, west of Toronto, a spokeswoman said.

Trish Krale, with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, said there were “very significant delays” mostly felt by people flying to the U.S.

A 23-year-old Nigerian man, who claimed ties to al-Qaida, was charged Saturday with trying to destroy a Detroit-bound airliner.

Many U.S.-bound flights were delayed by at least one or two hours and in some cases up to four or five hours.

Among the stricter regulations are passengers are to have nothing on the lap and no moving around the flight cabin in the final hour before landing and only one carry-on is bag allowed.

“If possible if people can even reduce that to zero that would be a lot easier,” Krale said.

“Most of the delays are occurring — or some of the delays are occurring — because passengers come to the airport and they don’t know that so then they’re having to shuffle their baggage around.”

More than 160 flights were listed as cancelled as of 10 p.m. Sunday evening, which accounts for almost 15 per cent of the total daily flights at Pearson.

Jack Gardiner was one of the unlucky ones: he waited in line for hours to board a flight with his family to New York only to find it had been cancelled.

“It’s absolute bedlam in here,” he told the Toronto Star.

“And in true Canadian fashion, no one is coming and telling you what’s going on, who’s doing what, what your expectations are.”

Allan Bowditch, who arrived at the airport with his wife Gillian three hours before their flight to Wales, said the delays were unlike anything he’d seen in 40 years of flying.

“I think everybody appreciates there needs to be extra security, but not to the point where you grind the whole system to paralysis,” he told the Star.

There were also reports of delays in Montreal and Vancouver.

Air Canada released a statement Sunday afternoon saying long waits for security clearance at Canadian airports is forcing the cancellations of some short-haul Air Canada and Jazz flights to the U.S.

“These cancellations will be implemented primarily on short-haul transborder routes with multiple daily flights between Toronto and the north-east U.S.,” the statement said.

“Air Canada plans to consolidate affected flights and operate larger aircraft on these routes in order to minimize the impact on passengers.”

Officials were asking travellers to leave plenty of extra time, to check their flight status before leaving home and to be patient.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to light an explosive on a Northwest Airlines flight as it was about to land in Detroit after a flight from Amsterdam, but other passengers overpowered him.

The plane was in Canadian airspace at the time of the incident, over southwest Ontario, the Toronto Star reported Sunday. Once Flight 253 crossed the Atlantic, its final course to Detroit was almost exclusively over Quebec and Ontario, the Star reported.

A day after Friday’s incident, the federal government ordered Transport Canada and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority to assume a heightened state of vigilance.

Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan and Transport Minister John Baird announced the new steps in a joint statement this weekend. Van Loan said he had spoken with U.S. Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Jane Lute regarding the incident.

Just Posted

Alberta hiring more paramedics and buying new ambulances, none for Red Deer

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer is not concerned the provincial government didn’t… Continue reading

‘My nightmare began again’: Close call as bus carrying Humboldt crash survivor rear-ended

CALGARY — A terrifying ordeal for Humboldt Broncos survivor Ryan Straschnitzki this… Continue reading

Halifax airport operations normalize after Boeing 747 runway overshoot

HALIFAX — The Halifax Stanfield International Airport has resumed normal operations a… Continue reading

Bentley family left without a home grateful for community support

Central Albertans are coming together to support a Bentley family left homeless… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP ready for new mandatory alcohol screening law

Red Deer RCMP are ready to enforce a new law intended to… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer and District Kennel Club Dog Show at Westerner Park

The Red Deer and District Kennel Club is holding a dog show… Continue reading

Pence aide out of running to be Trump’s next chief of staff

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top pick to replace chief of staff… Continue reading

Swath of South faces wintry mess: Snow, sleet, freezing rain

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain… Continue reading

‘I killed my best friend’: Opioids’ fatal grip on mayor, pal

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

Brothers, 20, face second-degree murder charge in death of teen: police

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Police west of Toronto say two brothers have been… Continue reading

A young mayor, his friend, and a fatal attraction to opioids

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

GM fights to retain key tax credit amid plant closing plans

WASHINGTON — General Motors is fighting to retain a valuable tax credit… Continue reading

TTC union asks provincial government to step in on transition to Presto

TORONTO — The union representing transit workers in Canada’s most populous city… Continue reading

Small pot growers find roadblocks on path to microcultivation licences

Yan Boissonneault’s daughter was turning blue. Without warning, his baby had stopped… Continue reading

Most Read