Because traveling to the U.S. was already so much fun…
Today I get my first taste of post-firecracker pants travel to the U.S. as I head down Sundance way. I’d been hearing various rumors about what the deal was, and it turns out most of them are true…. According to the Toronto Airport’s website, I have to arrive THREE HOURS before my flight, and am basically not allowed to bring anything on the plane except my laptop and “crutches, canes, walkers, and containers carrying life sustaining items.” Since most shitty American airlines have no in-flight entertainment (and charge an arm and a leg to check baggage), I suspect I’m in for a fun day.
The New Rules:
Travelling to the U.S.
Page Last Updated: Jan 15, 2010
Are you travelling to the United States through Toronto Pearson? The new security arrangements might mean that getting to your plane could take a little longer, but your journey through the Airport will be made a little easier if you keep the following suggestions in mind. Being a smart traveller reduces the time it takes to get through the airport and makes your trip more relaxing.
Q: How early do I need to arrive?
A: Transport Canada recommends that passengers heading to the United States arrive 3 hours prior to their flight time to allow for security screening.
Q: How can I check in?
A: Many airlines offer web based and mobile check-in options. These will help streamline your check in process at the airport. Also, check-in kiosks are available in both terminals. If your airline offers this option, you will be able to check-in at any kiosk in your terminal.
If your airline does not offer web or kiosk check in, or if you are not comfortable with these options, airline staff are available to check you in for your flight.
Q: What are the current carry-on rules and regulations?
A: When flying to the US no carry-on baggage is permitted through security screening. This does not include personal items such as medication or medical devices, small purses, cameras, coats, items for care of infants, laptop computers, crutches, canes, walkers, containers carrying life sustaining items, special needs items, musical instruments, diplomatic or consular bags.
When you are packing for your trip, we would recommend that you ask yourself whether what you are thinking of carrying on is essential. If you don’t need it during the flight, please pack it in your checked baggage.
Please remember that there are restrictions on liquids, gels, and aerosols.
Q: What are my options if I have something that is not allowed to go through security screening?
A: You may discard the item, put it in your checked baggage, or store the item at the airport at The Travel Store. Additionally, The Travel Store offers passengers the option of mailing an item to the address of their choice.
Q: What can I expect at the airport if I am going to the US?
A: First you will need to check in. This can be done in person, on-line or via mobile service, depending on your airline.
Once you have checked in and been issued a boarding pass, you will need to have your checked baggage weighed by airline staff.
Next you will need to fill out your US Customs card and then go through US Customs. This step may be streamlined if you have a NEXUS card. (US Customs opens at 4:30 each morning)
Once US Customs has cleared you to travel into the US, you will go through the first step of CATSA’s pre-board security screening. Before you arrive at your gate, you will have a secondary security screening stop.
Following this secondary screening, you will proceed to the gate area, where the airline will check boarding cards when it is time for your flight to depart.
Applying for your NEXUS card is always a good idea. Application forms can be found online or at the NEXUS office at the airport.
Q: What about the full body scanners?
A: Transport Canada has announced that CATSA will introduce full body scanners at airports across Canada. Specific details regarding the machinery at Pearson is not yet available. Check back later as we will be updating our site when we have more information.
Q: Can I still shop in the terminals while I am waiting for my flight?
A: Yes you can. Our restaurants and shops, including duty-free remain open in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 to serve you.
Q: Which documents are required for travel to the US?
A: Passengers are required to present a valid passport or other valid document such as a NEXUS card when travelling between Canada and the US. Please check with Canadian Border Services Agency and the US Bureau of Consular Affairs for specific details.
Q: What about the countries that have been flagged by the US: what will this mean for me when I’m travelling out of or through Pearson?
A: The US Transportation Security Administration has identified countries that they consider to be high risk. Transport Canada is currently reviewing the situation and will make a decision on how to apply the new rules at airports in Canada.
If you are planning your trip, check airline schedules. It is worth keeping in mind that the busiest time at the airport is always first thing in the morning. To avoid the busy times, you might ask yourself whether you could take a flight at midday or in the evening.
Toronto Pearson is making every effort to make sure that your trip through our airport is a smooth and pleasant one. Please check back often as we will update this site with more tips on how you can make your journey at Pearson Airport an easier one.