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What Canadians need to know at the airport

Arriving at the airport usually marks the beginning of your vacation. Your bags are packed, and you’re excited to get away. But a bad experience with a flight delay can start your trip on the wrong foot.   

It’s no secret that airports can cause of headaches due to cancelled flights to lengthy delays. So, what’s been the problem? The quick answer is employee shortages. From baggage handlers and air traffic controllers, staffing shortages are a major cause of the long security lines, delays and cancellations threatening your travels.  

Here is everything you need to know about airports before your next vacation.   

Getting airport ready

Before your next vacation, there are a few things you can do to limit the challenges at airports. Do your best to avoid the busier travel days this winter when you plan your departure and returns. Right before or immediately after a holiday weekend are usually the busiest travel days, resulting in longer lines and potential delays. Midweek travel days are generally quieter, meaning shorter lines and less stress.   

Book direct flights to your destination whenever possible, as you won’t have to worry about rushing across the airport to make your next flight or missing your connection due to delays. If taking multiple flights is your only option, consider taking a flight with a longer connection. If you have a long wait at the airport, book into an airport lounge for less crowds, complimentary food and drink, and more comfortable seating.   

Navigating baggage claim

Try to travel light with only carry-on luggage, meaning your luggage stays with you during your flight. Of course, only using carry-on bags isn’t always possible, and sometimes you need to check your bags. Invest in a good tracker to put in your checked bags. The tracker allows you to check your bag’s location if anything goes missing. Plus, the tracker can even help you find your luggage in a busy baggage claim.  

When checking luggage, find a travel insurance policy that covers lost or damaged baggage. Baggage insurance covers you if you need to buy new items because bags did not arrive. It also offers delay benefits if your bags are delayed over 10 hours.   

For extra protection, don’t forget CAA Travel Insurance. Plans cover the cost of repurchasing essential items if your luggage is lost or fees for replacing lost or stolen travel documents. Get a quote for a non-medical vacation package. You can bundle trip cancellation, interruption, accident and baggage loss insurance. 

Enjoying the wait

Waiting for the flight
AleksandarNakic | iStock

Plan to get to the airport early. As a general rule, arrive at least an hour before a Canadian flight and three hours before an international flight. This way, if there is a delay in customs or security, you won’t be worried about missing your flight. Plus, giving yourself extra time allows you to find your gate and get food or relax before you board.   

To streamline your airport experience, take advantage of early check-in. For most airlines, you can use online check-in 24 hours before your flight departure. Having your boarding pass ready before you arrive at the airport allows you to skip the check-in line and organize everything beforehand. 

Airport must-haves

Remember to pack your headphones and have chargers handy in your carry-on. While you can buy these at the airport, you’ll pay more for them. A portable charger is also a good idea since outlets can be scarce and in high demand.   

While you cannot bring liquids over 100 millilitres through security, can you bring certain snacks. Packing snacks will save you from paying the airport premium for snacks while you wait at your gate. Remember to double-check what you can bring through security and customs with your airline. 

Save on bookings

Saving money on flights and vacations is about flexibility with your travel dates and times. Travelling in the off-season or shoulder seasons will help you save on airfare and accommodations. Sign up for airline emails so you know about destination sales, and shop around for the best prices for your travel plans. Credit cards and rewards memberships may have savings programs or allow you to use points towards your airfare, like Aeroplan points, to pay for Air Canada flights.

Travelling with carry-on luggage will save you on checked baggage fees. Pre-pay for your airport parking. You can often find discounts for booking online ahead of time. With Park’N Fly, CAA Members save 10 per cent off the already discounted online rate and 25 per cent off the regular posted drive-up rate.

Ready, set, travel

Planning your next vacation has never been easier, thanks to CAA’s trusted Travel Consultants. Plus, they can help you find the best insurance policy for your vacation. Book your appointment today. 

CAA Travel Insurance is underwritten by Orion Travel Insurance Company, a CAA Company. Certain exclusions, limitations and restrictions apply. Subject to change without notice. A Medical Questionnaire is required if you are 60 years of age and older. Quotes are valid for 30 days. 

®CAA trademarks are owned by, and use is authorized by, the Canadian Automobile Association. 

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