TORONTO — Passengers were gearing up for long wait times with the first phase of the new U.S. security measures coming into effect today, however at least at Canadian airports this morning the security lineup wait times weren’t any worse than usual.
Wait times listed at the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) website, at catsa.gc.ca, ranged between 5 and 15 minutes for airports across Canada. The morning rush had calmed down at the country’s biggest airport, Toronto Pearson, however at 7:30 a.m. passengers flying out of Vancouver International Airport were only looking at lineups 15 – 20 minutes long.
As reported on Travelweek.ca yesterday, both Air Canada and WestJet have issued new airport security notices advising passengers flying to and from U.S. gateways to get to the airport a minimum of two hours prior to departure, in anticipation of long lineups and delays with new U.S. security measures coming into effect today.
“Beginning July 19, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will implement enhanced security measures for all guests on international flights flying to the United States. The security measures will include enhanced overall screening at departure airports, heightened inspection of personal electronic devices including tablets and laptops and increased security protocols at departure airports. This may affect the time it takes to get through security and board your flight,” reads WestJet’s notice.
WestJet “strongly encourages” passengers to arrive at the airport a minimum of two hours prior to scheduled departures, to allow for additional screening time.
WestJet is also asking passengers to ensure that all personal electronic devices larger than a smartphone are easily accessible and have any cases, covers and/or packaging removed, and that all passengers arrive at their departure gate a minimum of 45 minutes prior to departure time.
Air Canada has posted a similar advisory: “Due to security measures implemented by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), you are encouraged to arrive at the airport at least two hours before your scheduled departure when flying to the U.S. to allow for additional screening time. Heightened security measures have been introduced by DHS that require enhanced screening of personal electronic devices such as tablets and laptops. All personal electronic devices larger than a smartphone will need to be easily accessible and have all cases, cover and/or packaging removed.”
Airlines around the world are issuing their own advisories for passengers flying to and from the U.S.
New security rules apply to roughly 180 foreign and U.S.-based airlines, flying from 280 cities in 105 countries, according to Homeland Security. About 2,000 international flights land in the U.S. daily.