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Toronto Airport - Experience Terminal 3 versus Terminal 1


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We normally choose Westjet over AirCanada based on pre-pandemic experiences. For our flights last year, Aug, Oct and Dec (to Fort Lauderdale and the last to Tampa), relatively last minute for all of those flights Westjet changed our flights so we were flying the day of the cruise, which I don’t do (too much risk with the Edmonton connection), so for all 3 we ended up flying with Air Canada.  Everything was generally fine and I’m now less worried about booking Air Canada in the future.  We had delays, but we also just had that with Westjet (AirCanada flight delayed 3 hours waiting for people to load our bags and then our flight crew timed out. Westjet delayed over 2 hours because of flight crew issues).
 

I like the experience connecting through the Air Canada terminal in Toronto much better.  For the way down to Florida, there is a separate security area and customs area for connecting passengers so we were not in the huge lines that the people starting in Toronto airport were experiencing. Also, on the way home, US to Canada, the connecting passages go to a separate customs area and never leave the secured area, so you don’t do security again. The lines in the connecting area in that terminal weren’t that bad.  Even without Nexus, the connection time was not too bad. 
 

We just came back from the Celebrity Equinox in Fort Lauderdale on Westjet. On the way down, in the Westjet terminal on Saturday morning at 6 am, you leave the secured area and are out with all of the passengers. There is no separate connecting area. We had Nexus, so we were fine and everything went quickly, but the regular security and customs lines were huge. Without Nexus I would have been concerned with only a 2 hour connection.  On the way home on Friday night around 5:25 pm, there was a customs hold and only connecting passengers were able to leave the plane. I’m not sure how long the others were held on our plane.  There is no separate area for connecting passengers in this terminal, you go to the main customs area, through baggage (we did not have to pick up bags Westjet US to Canada but some flights do), then out, upstairs and through regular security. The first line to get into customs was one line, they didn’t care if you were Nexus or not. We waited in that line for about 40 minutes. You then go to the customs hall where the regular passport line was huge (I’m not sure how long that took, but it didn’t look good). There was no one at the Nexus machines so we were done and out of there in minutes. The regular security line was also huge but again Nexus was fast. Again, on Friday night without Nexus, US to Canada, I’m not sure that a 2 hour connection would have been enough time.  With Nexus the entire process took us right around 1 hour. 
 

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6 hours ago, AlbertaCruisers said:

We normally choose Westjet over AirCanada based on pre-pandemic experiences. For our flights last year, Aug, Oct and Dec (to Fort Lauderdale and the last to Tampa), relatively last minute for all of those flights Westjet changed our flights so we were flying the day of the cruise, which I don’t do (too much risk with the Edmonton connection), so for all 3 we ended up flying with Air Canada.  Everything was generally fine and I’m now less worried about booking Air Canada in the future.  We had delays, but we also just had that with Westjet (AirCanada flight delayed 3 hours waiting for people to load our bags and then our flight crew timed out. Westjet delayed over 2 hours because of flight crew issues).
 

I like the experience connecting through the Air Canada terminal in Toronto much better.  For the way down to Florida, there is a separate security area and customs area for connecting passengers so we were not in the huge lines that the people starting in Toronto airport were experiencing. Also, on the way home, US to Canada, the connecting passages go to a separate customs area and never leave the secured area, so you don’t do security again. The lines in the connecting area in that terminal weren’t that bad.  Even without Nexus, the connection time was not too bad. 
 

We just came back from the Celebrity Equinox in Fort Lauderdale on Westjet. On the way down, in the Westjet terminal on Saturday morning at 6 am, you leave the secured area and are out with all of the passengers. There is no separate connecting area. We had Nexus, so we were fine and everything went quickly, but the regular security and customs lines were huge. Without Nexus I would have been concerned with only a 2 hour connection.  On the way home on Friday night around 5:25 pm, there was a customs hold and only connecting passengers were able to leave the plane. I’m not sure how long the others were held on our plane.  There is no separate area for connecting passengers in this terminal, you go to the main customs area, through baggage (we did not have to pick up bags Westjet US to Canada but some flights do), then out, upstairs and through regular security. The first line to get into customs was one line, they didn’t care if you were Nexus or not. We waited in that line for about 40 minutes. You then go to the customs hall where the regular passport line was huge (I’m not sure how long that took, but it didn’t look good). There was no one at the Nexus machines so we were done and out of there in minutes. The regular security line was also huge but again Nexus was fast. Again, on Friday night without Nexus, US to Canada, I’m not sure that a 2 hour connection would have been enough time.  With Nexus the entire process took us right around 1 hour. 
 

 

It has been that way for several years.  Air Canada has a much bigger focus on international and in for the last 10 years or so they have been very focused on connecting passengers from the US to/from Europe.  End result is they have invested with the airport authority in making international connections in Terminal 1 as effective as easy as possible.  

 

WestJet has been more focused on growing their domestic market and have not pushed for the types of renovations that Terminal 3 would need to have to support that.

 

I find the service generally comparable between both.  Air Canada has the edge when it comes to international operations. 

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7 hours ago, em-sk said:

Air Canada has the edge when it comes to international operations. 

For a Boston-Montreal cruise pre-pandemic, we decided to drive to Montreal, leave our car at the airport and fly to Boston. After the cruise, we'd taxi to the airport and drive home. West Jet didn't offer a single Montreal-Boston flight. Instead, we would have had to fly to Toronto and wait for a connecting flight there, a combined flight more than twice the distance and three times the duration. Air Canada offered several quick and easy direct flights.

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Posted (edited)

So glad to hear about the Air Canada 'experience' - I am already stressing about my flights this week - with a 3 hr connection - but both AC flights (Ottawa/Toronto/Orlando) - hoping things go well and we don't sit on the tarmac or have any other issues.  

 

My only backup is another/later flight to Orlando at 6 pm (assuming there are seats available should I have to do that instead of my 1:20 pm flight!)

 

Fingers and toes crossed! ...and hoping I can stop worrying and get some sleep tonight! 🙂

 

Edited by Froufie
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12 minutes ago, Froufie said:

So glad to hear about the Air Canada 'experience' - I am already stressing about my flights this week - with a 3 hr connection - but both AC flights (Ottawa/Toronto/Orlando) - hoping things go well and we don't sit on the tarmac or have any other issues.  

 

My only backup is another/later flight to Orlando at 6 pm (assuming there are seats available should I have to do that instead of my 1:20 pm flight!)

 

Fingers and toes crossed! ...and hoping I can stop worrying and get some sleep tonight! 🙂

 


Just make sure you follow the connections signs. I think they are purple. In the Air Canada terminal it felt like we walked forever, but just keep following the signs!  Good luck!

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21 minutes ago, AlbertaCruisers said:


Just make sure you follow the connections signs. I think they are purple. In the Air Canada terminal it felt like we walked forever, but just keep following the signs!  Good luck!

thanks so much - yes I was checking out the Pearson website and did find out about the PURPLE connection signs - let's hope my arrival flight is not delayed and I have enough time for my short little legs to get me where I need to go!  LOL

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5 hours ago, Froufie said:

thanks so much - yes I was checking out the Pearson website and did find out about the PURPLE connection signs - let's hope my arrival flight is not delayed and I have enough time for my short little legs to get me where I need to go!  LOL

 

If you do start to run late just let the people running the line know.  Like most airport, they will move people to different lanes or the front if needed to ensure they make their connection.  

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I make every effort to avoid YYZ, regardless of the carrier, whenever we can't get a direct flight (which is very common from Vancouver). Calgary = great, Montreal = no problem, Seattle, LA and Denver = sure!

 

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11 hours ago, dawnvip said:

I make every effort to avoid YYZ, regardless of the carrier, whenever we can't get a direct flight (which is very common from Vancouver). Calgary = great, Montreal = no problem, Seattle, LA and Denver = sure!

 

 

Yeah, I did the same when I lived in Ottawa. If I was going south I would intentionally fly the US carriers to have my connection stateside instead of YYZ. 

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On 5/10/2022 at 2:00 AM, em-sk said:

 

If you do start to run late just let the people running the line know.  Like most airport, they will move people to different lanes or the front if needed to ensure they make their connection.  


When we travelled in September they would not do this for a man in our line. He was going to miss his flight and they would not accommodate him. 
We, as passengers, did let him and another person skip ahead of us. 

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4 hours ago, 1kaper said:


When we travelled in September they would not do this for a man in our line. He was going to miss his flight and they would not accommodate him. 
We, as passengers, did let him and another person skip ahead of us. 

Wow - that is so upsetting - wonder why they would not move him up - glad that 'citizens' were more helpful than the airport staff ! 

 

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Heard today - the Minister of Transport blames "rusty travellers" on the airport delays. 

An insult to myself who has recently travelled, so I invited the Minister to contact me so I could explain how Airport Managent gave a public "talking to" the CATSA agent for not redirecting the 2+ hour line up of people to the other security gates...

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On 5/12/2022 at 1:43 PM, Froufie said:

Wow - that is so upsetting - wonder why they would not move him up - glad that 'citizens' were more helpful than the airport staff ! 

 

We have seen exactly this happen to multiple people at London Heathrow during security alerts and backups.  Not pleasant to say the least.  

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On 5/12/2022 at 6:54 PM, dawnvip said:

Heard today - the Minister of Transport blames "rusty travellers" on the airport delays. 

An insult to myself who has recently travelled, so I invited the Minister to contact me so I could explain how Airport Managent gave a public "talking to" the CATSA agent for not redirecting the 2+ hour line up of people to the other security gates...

 

i think the real story is CATSA ended up laying off staff during the pandemic and discovered that many of them found other jobs and did not want to come back.  Employers did not show loyalty to their people, and their people did not show loyalty back.  Add on that these are position where you come in contact with hundreds of people in a day.

 

The other interesting one is both major airlines (Air Canada and WestJet) were forced to shut almost everything down and build a new schedule from the ground up.  That let them re-optimize the schedule for connections in the major hubs like Vancouver.  End result is they have more flights leaving in banks at the same time.  That means more people going through security at certain peek time of the day and it is less distributed through the day.   

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