Delays from U.S. shutdown reach Pearson Airport

One cause of the delays is that workers at the Transportation Security Administration are calling in sick

Delta Air Lines service agent.
A Delta ground customer service agent at Pearson International Airport. Alana Rayman/Toronto Observer
By Alana Rayman

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on a busy afternoon.

If you’re flying to the U.S., be prepared for delays and longer-than-usual lineups.

The partial shutdown of the U.S. government, which started Dec. 22, has led to a major disruption in airports on both sides of the border, including at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

One cause of the delays: Workers at the Transportation Security Administration are calling in sick, refusing to work without pay as a result of the shutdown. USA Today reports that 10 per cent are calling in sick, including hundreds at JFK Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

Paul Dirkshire, a ground general information agent for Pearson Airport, said there were a lot of delays and lineups on both sides of the border, but staff has worked diligently to ensure that everybody gets to the right check-in counter and through the security gates on time.

According to Kaitlyn Hibbard, a customer-service agent for Delta Air Lines, “Most of the delays have been on the American side.” She added that not much out of the ordinary has happened at Pearson.

Several travellers heading to Boston and Atlanta also said they hadn’t encountered any issues but did try to get to Pearson a bit earlier than usual.

Canadian travellers either leaving for the U.S. or heading out of the U.S. are being advised by the Greater Toronto Airport Authority to take precautions, including checking with airlines well in advance to see if there are any further delays and allowing extra time for air travel.

The partial shutdown of the U.S. federal government began after U.S. President Donald Trump and Congress could not agree on building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Posted: Jan 20 2019 8:39 pm
Filed under: News