'It was chaotic': National outage of passport kiosks causes major delays at Pearson
Issues resolved around 9 p.m., but customers expressed frustration over lack of communication
Getting through international customs at Toronto's Pearson airport Sunday might have taken you a little longer than usual.
A nationwide outage affecting the primary inspection kiosks and NEXUS of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) caused serious delays for passengers arriving on international flights.
Those issues have since been resolved.
"Throughout the outage, CBSA management and airport or bridge authorities worked collaboratively to facilitate arriving passenger flows and border clearances until the outage was resolved," CBSA media relations manager Ashley Lemire told CBC Toronto in a statement.
The network issues affecting <a href="https://twitter.com/CanBorder?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CanBorder</a> customs kiosks have been resolved and operations are slowly returning to normal. <a href="https://twitter.com/CanBorderGTA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CanborderGTA</a> is working hard to clear the remaining passengers. We are grateful to all our passengers for their patience and understanding.—@TorontoPearson
The outage affected kiosks in terminals one and three, forcing customers to use hand-written forms to get through customs, according to GTAA spokesperson Robin Smith.
Many airline passengers traveling through Toronto's Pearson airport Sunday took to Twitter to express frustration over the delays.
You are going to need security out here soon if you don’t communicate what is going on and come and control the crowds. People are getting angry. <a href="https://t.co/uMV9aZAmPC">pic.twitter.com/uMV9aZAmPC</a>—@bdidavid
In their tweets, customers complained of long and hot wait times, and a lack of communication from airport staff.
'It was a nightmare'
Passenger Kowlasar Misir, who arrived to Toronto early Sunday evening from Minneapolis, said he waited in lines for three hours before he was able to get through customs.
"There was not a single announcement. No one came around to tell you anything. There was no one on the ground to manage and coordinate," he said. "It was chaotic."
Misir said the people around him were patient, but clearly getting frustrated.
"At a minimum, they should be handing out some bottles of water because it's children, babies, old people ... you were there for a long time," he said.
'It was a nightmare."
<a href="https://twitter.com/TorontoPearson?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TorontoPearson</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/fail?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#fail</a>!! We got off our flight over an hour ago and there is no communication. They just blame <a href="https://twitter.com/CanBorder?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CanBorder</a> and don’t send anybody out to explain. Children and elderly people are in bad shape and people are getting extremely restless. No accountability. <a href="https://t.co/5igcIIs84O">pic.twitter.com/5igcIIs84O</a>—@ErickMayen
Misir said he now wants to know what emergency measures are in place should a situation like this happen again.
Delays in Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal
A number of airports across Canada took to Twitter to warn travellers about similar issues earlier Sunday, including Ottawa, Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver.
Tweets from the airports thanked passengers for their patience.
Agreed! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/teamwork?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#teamwork</a> 🙌🏻—@FlyYYC
Due to a national outage of <a href="https://twitter.com/CanBorder?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CanBorder</a>’s Primary Inspection Kiosk & NEXUS, arriving guests have long waits to clear Customs at YVR. Our team is working to help arriving guests fill out manual forms and keep people hydrated. We apologize, and we appreciate everybody’s patience.—@yvrairport
With files from The Canadian Press