Toronto

What's the busiest day of the holiday season at Pearson? That would be today

It may be a few more sleeps until Christmas, but travellers are already getting out of the city for the holidays. Staff at Pearson International Airport say Tuesday will be its busiest day leading into the holidays, with 124,000 people expected to pass through.

124,000 passengers are expected to travel through the Toronto airport on Tuesday

Passengers check in for their flights at Pearson airport on Tuesday, the busiest travel day leading up to the holidays. (Marie Helene Ratel/CBC)

It may be a few more sleeps until Christmas, but travellers are already getting out of the city for the holidays. Staff at Pearson International Airport say Tuesday will be its busiest day leading into the holidays, with 124,000 people expected to pass through.

Between today and Jan. 3, nearly 1.9 million passengers are expected to travel through Pearson.

Security lineups were already long early Tuesday.

Shabeen Hanifa, spokesperson for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, said that the early morning and the dinner hour would be the two peak travel times on Tuesday.

The airport has increased staff to help passengers navigate their way to the gate, including extra volunteers with the "welcome team," who are always at Pearson to help travellers get around, as well as a "cheer squad" handing out candy canes and other treats.

"We're all working in this together," Hanifa said. "It's not just the airport. It's the airlines, it's the tenants."

Hanifa had some travel tips for anyone headed to the airport over the holidays:

  • check in online, if possible
  • reserve a space ahead of time if parking at the airport
  • leave any gifts in carry-on luggage unwrapped (there's free gift wrapping after security)
The security lineup was long at Pearson airport early Tuesday morning. (Marie Helene Ratel/CBC)

Travellers should check their flight statuses even if the weather is clear in Toronto, she said.

"There's weather here, but there's also weather where you're going," she said. "So you want to make sure it's all safe travels."

While today may seem like it would be the busiest day of the entire year, that's not actually the case. The months of July and August are typically busiest, with several days this year going above 130,000 travellers, according to Hanifa.

Overall, the airport expects to have another record-breaking year of traffic. Last year, more than 41 million travellers passed through.

"This year we will surpass that," Hanifa said. 

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