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A front-line airport worker shares valuable advice for travellers landing in Canada

July 8, 2021

Amid the global pandemic, every day thousands of travellers from around the world continue to arrive at Toronto Pearson International Airport. It is still very busy when more than a dozen flights land one after the other.

Now new arrivals don’t only wait in a long line at Canada Customs. They may also have to wait in a long line for hotel booking, COVID-19 testing and hotel shuttle buses as well (for those who do not meet certain criteria). As you can imagine, tempers can rise. Rude passengers swear while articulate ones argue that the hotel quarantine violates their charter rights even though a federal court judge has approved it. As a frontline worker at the airport, I have a few tips for people coming to Canada:

Do your homework. Before you arrive, book a government-approved hotel if you are not exempt from hotel quarantine. Register for the mandatory COVID-19 test if you are not exempt from it.

Be extra patient. You may have to wait for hours after you arrive. Remember that now is a time of crisis.

Be considerate. Yes, you may have flown for 8 or 12 hours and now you are exhausted. But it is not right to take your frustration or anger out on airport employees. They have an 8 or 12 hour shift. Some even work a double shift of 16 hours.

Be aware. No matter where you are, don’t forget your luggage, phone or passport. If you are travelling with young children, keep an eye on them and don’t let them run wild. You already have enough stress. You definitely don’t want to be looking for a lost child at the biggest airport in Canada.

Be prepared. If you are travelling with a dog, make sure that you are ready to pick up after your pet.

Be specific. Only knowing your hotel name isn’t enough. Make sure that you know the hotel address as well. For example, if your hotel is Holiday Inn, you need to know which one, 600 Dixon Road (East) or 970 Dixon Road (West)? After a long journey, the last thing you would want is to go to the wrong hotel in the middle of the night.

Be respectful. Not only respect fellow human beings, but also the rules in place during this extraordinary time. Wear your mask properly (Cover your mouth and noses, not just your chin). Keep two meters apart from each other. Don’t be one of those “runners”, who run away from COVID-19 testing and hotel quarantine.

Last but not least, be civilized. Say “Please” and “Thank you”. Have basic manners. And have a smile if you can manage. It is contagious too.

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