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Stop over at Pearson International (Toronto)

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Stop over at Pearson International (Toronto)

So I am wondering...

I am flying Air Canada from PC to Toronto. I land in Toronto at 1855 and leave for Calgary at 2040. My sister in law is now panicked that if she takes the same flight that we may not make the connection. She thinks the times are too close and that clearing customs etc. will delay us.

I always fly Transat and direct so this is new to me and when I booked with Air Canada I wasn't thinking about clearing customs, delays etc. Since I'm staying with Air Canada to Calgary, do I have to get my luggage off the belt and go through customs and then check in again to board Calgary plane?

Any comments from experienced travellers would be welcome.


Saskatoon, Canada
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for La Romana, Bayahibe
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1. Re: Stop over at Pearson International (Toronto)

They won't put you on flights that you won't make since they bear the responsibility if it goes awry. I've sometimes seen connections similar to yours and asked if I could take that flight rather than overnighting and they have told me that it doesn't allow enough time; they said that you need an hour and 45 minutes. Interestingly, that's pretty much exactly the duration of your connection time.

Don't waste time if you don't need to. Take your bathroom stop once you've checked in at your Calgary gate rather than at any point when you could be processing your steps. See if you can get the attendant at PUJ to flag your bags to be last on so that they're first off in Toronto and you can be on your way to customs quicker. Once at customs, proceed to the desk on the far left which is for disabled people, VIPs and those making quick connections. If they deem that you're taking advantage, they'll send you to the regular line ups, but it's there as a service for those who really need it. You can also ask one of the customs attendants who are channeling traffic to the desks. Once you leave customs, you will head directly over to the "connecting flights" conveyor belt and deposit your bags, but you'll then have to go through security again so make sure that if you notice a long line that one in your party advances to the guards and show them your boarding pass to see if it's that tight.

Anybody entering the country has to claim their luggage even if it's just for minutes in your control. You have to have it with you when you pass one of the checkpoints in case they deem that they need to look into your bags.

They should have given you your boarding pass in the DR so you just need to attend to your bags and then head to security without the check in process.

It's not unheard of that you'd miss your flight. Anything is possible, especially with weather delays in the winter. But Air Canada stands to lose more than you do if it doesn't work, so they'll do everything they can to make it happen. See if you can get an AC person to assist in getting you through the steps or to radio ahead to your gate if you feel you need that.


central alberta
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2. Re: Stop over at Pearson International (Toronto)

kiki great advice ,if this were an olympic sport youd be golden

Midland, Canada
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3. Re: Stop over at Pearson International (Toronto)

I have to tell you that the time you have to make your connecting flight is tight. The walk from the gate to customs is about 20 minutes, then you have to clear customs in Toronto and that can be as quick as 15 mins to as long as 45 minutes. Then you ave to get to your domestic gate to travel to Calgary. If your flight to Toronto is delayed at all you are going to have a problem making your connection.

Fredericton, Canada
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for Fredericton, St. John's
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4. Re: Stop over at Pearson International (Toronto)

I agree with the previous post....timing is tight. And we allknow how famous the Punts Cana airport is for having flights "leave on time".

I would play it safe and hanh out in TO for an eve.

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5. Re: Stop over at Pearson International (Toronto)

Off the Air canada website, 1h15min. minimum time needed to connect through Toronto from an International destination.

Good luck.

Rosedale, Canada
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6. Re: Stop over at Pearson International (Toronto)

Hubby and I have had experience with tight connections in TO when coming home to BC from different Caribbean destinations. It was very nerve racking. One time, we had a 2 hour layover, our flight was half an hour late arriving, and our luggage was almost the last to come out on the carousel - about a 40 minute wait for it! After all the rigmarole with Customs , rechecking our bags on the conveyer belt and clearing Security we were practically running for the connection and made it to the gate just as they were closing off . Since I've had hip replacements that wasn't a pretty sight. LOL!

In future if we don't have say a 3 hour layover in TO , we will arrange for an overnight stay. We found it way too stressful after a totally relaxing vacation. But that's just us.

If you are young and fit, and can move quickly through the huge, disorganised Pearson terminals you may be OK.

Good luck and happy travels

Edited: 21 December 2010, 19:58
Morristown, New...
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7. Re: Stop over at Pearson International (Toronto)

Kaki gave a lot of advice, but I'm not sure I'm agreeing with the premise that the airline wouldn't schedule flights with too tight a connection. They have and they will, and it's ultimately on YOU to decide if it's too tight or not. I don't believe the airline will accept the responsibility if you miss a connection.

8. Re: Stop over at Pearson International (Toronto)

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