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Author Topic: Toronto / U.S. Travel Outrage  (Read 8551 times)
WaitingForAnR10
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« on: February 02, 2010, 07:51:08 AM »
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I had the same experience in Toronto a few years back.  The queue (and it was a queue, sort of) snaked about a kilometer in front of the security screening area.  When flights were close to leaving, people came out and grabbed passengers out of the line and led them through to be screened.  It was a total mess.

I live north of Boston, MA, and travel occasionally to see family north of Toronto.  For the last two years I've driven rather than flown.  Ironically, with the accumulation of delays for getting to and from the airport, security, etc., it only takes us an extra three hours.  However, it's much more pleasant, the scenery is better, and we have our car when we arrive.  We've been driving up via the Thousand Island Bridge, which boasts some very nice scenery.  Two summers ago we stopped at Niagara Falls for a few hours to do some sightseeing, something difficult to do when you fly.  Not really tempted to return to the airport again.
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Larry451
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2010, 08:04:18 AM »
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Canada:  Bring back the train........ with a bit of subsidy from our govt. it could be affordable

Lars451
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dwoolridge
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2010, 08:11:51 AM »
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And don't forget you can always fly via Porter Airlines, which is one of the sanest flying experiences on the continent.  Unfortunately, there are only a few U.S. destinations (Boston/Chicago/Myrtle Beach/New York).  You'll pay more in the end connecting through those cities, but you get what you pay for.
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2010, 08:25:37 AM »
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Maybe once those businesses on the other side of security, the ones that folks need to rush past, start to go bankrupt then GTAA may start to get the message.

I flew to Miami from Pearson in early Jan and went through the whole shebang, but fortunately it wasn't at a busy time and the delay wasn't substantial, but I've heard lots of other more typical experiences that mirror Michael's.  I wonder when the full body scans will go into production (I think Pearson has 2) - probably a drop in the bucket in terms of solving the problem.
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Graeme Nattress
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2010, 08:53:17 AM »
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http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/24/body_scanner_fail/ shows how in-effective these scanners are, and from what we're told, the scanners that Canada has bought wouldn't have stopped the pants bomber anyhow.

What will help is to ditch the security theatre, and actually do real security, which for the most part happens behind the scenes and we neither see nor hear about at, as that would reduce it's effectiveness.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2010, 10:03:52 AM »
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http://vi.sualize.us/view/nkempinski/b4414...9455f297a58c8c/
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2010, 10:24:20 AM »
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Quote from: Graeme Nattress
What will help is to ditch the security theatre, and actually do real security, which for the most part happens behind the scenes and we neither see nor hear about at, as that would reduce it's effectiveness.

... and what makes you think 'they' aren't doing 'real security'?  We need both theater and 'real' security, IMO.

I imagine we have seen an incredible uptick in 'real' security in the last 10 years ... but 99% of that stuff happens nowhere near the airport and you never hear about it.  

It has clearly been pretty effective, but the true cost to our freedoms and principles won't be tallied for some time.
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HiltonP
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« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2010, 10:51:04 AM »
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The security has lost the plot, and is spending its time chasing the most ridiculous things.
Last year a friend had a knife brochure confiscated, because it contained a picture of a knife.
Last month another friend had his book, a novel, confiscated because there was a picture of a gun on the cover.

Problem is, confront them on the insanity of such things and one is sure to miss one's flight (whilst sitting in a holding cubicle).

I recently had to endure the rantings of a Canadian airport security officer, who, at the top of his voice, proclaimed to all that
he had found a knife in my luggage. I knew I had no knife, I'm not that crazy to fly with one. He went off, holding my bag aloft,
telling everyone of his find. Of course, by the time he had got to the bottom of my bag he found my little Giottos folding
mini-pod, in a pouch. Oops. Thing is, he was so focussed on his supposed find, that he failed to search anything else, or me,
or my wife.
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Regards, HILTON
JimU
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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2010, 11:34:13 AM »
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Before last December I fly internationally through pearson which requires you to go through a different security area bypassing the immigrations hall.  The security guard responsible for the x-ray scanner did not even look at the scanner as my full sized backpack with camera equipment passed through.  And on the other side of security was.. the same departure gate area.

If someone wanted to sneak something onto a plan, they could just get someone going through international departures to carry it through and meet them on the departures gate.  in effect, the U.S. security has a loophole.  or atleast it did before December.

I was planning on visiting my friend in LA this spring.  I guess I'll cancel that trip and find another country to spend my vacation time in.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2010, 11:35:26 AM »
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"The Fifth Estate", a Canadian investigative news TV program did a piece on airport security recently.  The hour-long show confirmed that even the experts are saying: "We're no safer.  The only effect of increased airport security is the harassment and delay of air travellers."  To which I'd add "And the enrichment of the so-called security industry"

I had my lighter confiscated by airport security recently.  It was immediately returned to me in a small ziploc bag.  That's MUCH safer.  

Anyone had their Giottos squeeze bulb air blower investigated?  That's just what we need in our carry-on, right?  A lens cleaner in the form of a rubber cartoon bomb.  
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2010, 11:42:07 AM »
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Quote from: HiltonP
The security has lost the plot, and is spending its time chasing the most ridiculous things.
Last year a friend had a knife brochure confiscated, because it contained a picture of a knife.
Last month another friend had his book, a novel, confiscated because there was a picture of a gun on the cover.

Problem is, confront them on the insanity of such things and one is sure to miss one's flight (whilst sitting in a holding cubicle).

I recently had to endure the rantings of a Canadian airport security officer, who, at the top of his voice, proclaimed to all that
he had found a knife in my luggage. I knew I had no knife, I'm not that crazy to fly with one. He went off, holding my bag aloft,
telling everyone of his find. Of course, by the time he had got to the bottom of my bag he found my little Giottos folding
mini-pod, in a pouch. Oops. Thing is, he was so focussed on his supposed find, that he failed to search anything else, or me,
or my wife.


Please, please, please tell me you're kidding.  
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Bill VN
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« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2010, 01:32:29 PM »
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Mike,

A few observations. I used to work for a company based in Oakville, ON, and after flying through Pearson initially, I ended up driving to meetings from my home just north of New York City. With all of the wait time, driving was just as fast (7 hours). And since there is no baggage restriction when you drive, I always had my camera equipment with me!

Secondly, due to the outrageous travel taxes Canada charges US flights, you will find driving to Buffalo and flying out of there to be a lot cheaper.

Finally, I don't think the problem is specifically with the GTAA, but with the national government. Once coming back to the US on the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, we were stopped by Canadian customs for a while. Apparently, according to the news, their union was in negotiations with the government, and they decided to halt everyone going to the US as a labor action! So, perhaps the jam-up at Pearson may be do to a similar labor situation, not the authorities.

Now, the Canadian government has eastern New Yorkers upset. They want us to build a large customs station at the border on the New York-to-Montréal Amtrak rail line and require all passengers and their luggage to disembark for a 100% search. Processed passengers can then reembark, and the train will proceed to Montréal. This is probably the only rail line fast enough between the countries for business people to consider, and the Canadian government wants to destroy that connection. Rail travel to and from New York State and Toronto is not very practical, because there is an hours' long stop for tourists at Niagara Falls.

Regards,

Bill VN

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cblesch
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« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2010, 02:37:28 PM »
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Quote from: Bill VN
Mike,

... Rail travel to and from New York State and Toronto is not very practical, because there is an hours' long stop for tourists at Niagara Falls.

Regards,

Bill VN

Bill,

My daughter used to take that train when she lived in Toronto, and the two hour stop in Niagara Falls is not for tourists - it's for immigration and customs. Yes it takes that long to process everyone on the train coming into the US or Canada. They build it into the schedule. But at least she didn't have to get off the train per the Montreal proposal - the officers sweep through the train.

Back in the pre-Amtrak days (1970), I took a train from St. Paul to Winnipeg. In those days, the customs officers were through the train in five minutes. But that was a different era.

Carl
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idenford
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« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2010, 02:54:20 PM »
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Michael,
Maureen and I flew with Porter to NYC between xmas and New Years. It was the same hassle however, one airline at the terminal makes it easier. For those who are not aware, they fly from Toronto Island and their planes are driven by propeller but they are fast. almost as fast as a bigger carrier jet.
Porter does connect in Chicago to multiple destinations.
I highly recommend you give them a try.
Otherwise yes, Buffalo is the solution
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2010, 03:14:02 PM »
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Serious question, how much do air taxi flights cost? I'd love the idea of pulling up to a private airfield, hopping into a 4 seater with my wife and then flying over. No it won't be as comfortable and no airline meals, I'll still bet you would arrive before the first class passengers having to transverse that nightmare and who probably paid just as much for one ticket - get on their airliner. Can it be that expensive if the air taxi doesn't have to land at a major hub (take a taxi there)? I've little to no idea about this kind of thing.

I've no idea if it would be but I know one thing, if I read that article and had a small plane, I'd know that this was the time to cash in...
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andyptak
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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2010, 04:29:48 PM »
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Maybe you just had a bad experience Michael? Before you jump down my throat, I was one of those people contributing to these forums about my alarm regarding the no carry on thing that went on for a while, because I had an impending trip to Miami.

I went on Monday 25th Jan and returned on Friday 29th Jan. It was a breeze. Pearson took about 20 minutes longer than usual and other than multiple security checkpoints, (what's this thing about putting your hands in your pockets and then having a sensor waved over them?) I experienced nothing out of the ordinary. Staff were courtious and polite, even joking at times - the only a**hole was the U.S. customs guy who was really surly, but that's the luck of the draw anywhere. It took me as long to get out of Miami as it did to get out of Pearson. The security was very lax in comparison, but many people were held up for proof of residency documents. It seems they were more concerned with immigration issues than security.

One of us had an experience that was out of the ordinary. I do hope it was you. Cheers.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2010, 04:57:40 PM »
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Quote
Serious question, how much do air taxi flights cost? I'd love the idea of pulling up to a private airfield, hopping into a 4 seater with my wife and then flying over. No it won't be as comfortable and no airline meals, I'll still bet you would arrive before the first class passengers having to transverse that nightmare and who probably paid just as much for one ticket - get on their airliner. Can it be that expensive if the air taxi doesn't have to land at a major hub (take a taxi there)? I've little to no idea about this kind of thing.

My spouse is part owner of a small (4-seat) plane, so I have a good idea of the cost of flying small planes.  Prices vary of course, but in general the fuel and other operating costs for small single-engine planes are very roughly as much as two first-class seats for short or medium-short domestic flights.  Add on the pilot's time, and it's not cheap.

Also, if you fly over international borders, there are complications.  You have to fly into specific airports that have customs agents, and wait in the plane (and you can't get out for bathroom stops) until a customs agent gets around to coming out to check you, which may be minutes or may be hours.  At least that's how another pilot friend of ours described it (he did it a couple of times).  We haven't tried it after hearing about his experience with it.

Sorry, Ben.  Not a great option either.

Lisa
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Rusty
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« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2010, 05:06:49 PM »
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Note to self: Never piss off Michael
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PierreVandevenne
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« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2010, 05:11:36 PM »
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A simple solution: body scanners, cctv and security checks for anyone approaching mailboxes. Good for the industry. Good for unemployment.
And of course, harass photographers who shoot pictures of mailboxes, especially if they are using T/S lenses. For all we know, they could be planning a terrorist act.
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Bradley Proctor
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« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2010, 05:54:02 PM »
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I used to work for the TSA.  I can tell you first hand that for every security measure taken, there are 10 ways around it.  It's complete security theater.  It's been a couple of years since then so maybe things have changed, but I highly doubt it.  Like the mailbox that Michael mentioned, I always considered the baggage claim area to be a major security hole.
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