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Airline Passengers Face Massive Delays Amid Heightened Security

Travellers headed to the U.S. on Sunday faced major delays amid heightened security at Pearson International Airport and others across the country.

The new regulations were put in force on Saturday after an apparent terror attack was foiled on Christmas Day.

Passengers aboard a Northwest Airlines flight originating in Amsterdam overpowered a 23-year-old Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, when he allegedly tried to light an explosive as the plane was about to land in Detroit.

He was charged on Saturday with trying to destroy the aircraft.

On Sunday, U.S.-bound flights were being delayed by anywhere from one to more than four hours.

When travellers finally did make it past the boarding gate, they were allowed nothing on their laps and could not get up from their seats during the last hour before landing.

Airlines are also restricting passengers to only one carry-on bag to reduce the time it takes to search bags. But because many arriving at Pearson did not know of the regulation, they had to shuffle the contents of their bags around, further compounding the problem.

“We regret the inconvenience these circumstances have caused our customers,” said Duncan Dee, Air Canada’s Executive Vice President.

“Our staff are working non-stop to assist customers and ensure that our flights operate as close to schedule as possible. This temporary carry-on policy will assist security officers in screening customers more quickly and thereby minimize delays for passengers to the extent possible.”

Air Canada and WestJet have waived their excess baggage fees for all flights to the States. And Air Canada is not charging passengers to rebook if they miss their flight connections because of the delays.

There were no delays reported at the Toronto island airport, the home base for Porter Airlines, which flies to Boston, Chicago and other U.S. destinations.

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