Travel for May long weekend kicks off at pre-pandemic levels


From BC Ferries to Victoria’s International Airport, travel on this May long weekend is hitting pre-pandemic levels, meaning long lines and heavy traffic.

As of early Friday morning at Swartz Bay, a lineup of cars was already building.

“Bring snacks. Brings some water. Bring no expectations because you’re gonna wait,” said one traveller.

Patience, is also the advice from BC Ferries, especially if you don’t have a reservation.

If customers are travelling without reservations in their vehicle, they can expect sailing waits at peak times,” said Deborah Marshall with BC Ferries.

Bookings in peak times are sold out, even after BC Ferries added 110 extra sailings on major routes for the May long weekend.

“On long weekends, customers book well in advance for reservations and that’s what we’re seeing this weekend. There is still reservation space Saturday night or Sunday morning,” added Marshall.

The busy travel weekend is happening not only on the seas but in the skies.

“We’re just coming off the peak from today so it’s calming down finally,” said Rod Hunchak with the Victoria International Airport at 1 p.m. Friday.

Victoria’s International Airport saw one of its busiest days since the pandemic yet, seeing approximately 5200 passengers arriving and departing Friday, however, their busiest travel day this weekend is anticipated for Monday with 5800 passengers expected.

The increase in fliers is coming as airlines and airport security companies struggle with an ongoing employee shortage. As a result, fliers are asked to arrive early.

“We’re asking folks to get here two hours in advance. There are also other things that they can do like check-in online,” said Hunchak. “One thing we are noticing is that people are leaving their masks at home, and we just want to remind folks that if you’re travelling on a flight, masks are required.”

At the Vancouver International Airport, where many connecting flights are for Islanders, they’re having one of their busiest weekends since the pandemic as well.

“We’re expecting passenger numbers of about 50,000 per day over the weekend. This is almost at 2019 levels,” said Alyssa Smith, manager of communications with Vancouver Airport Authority.

Nutty numbers, which at the peak times are resulting in longer waits.

“We did have a few long lines this morning, about 45 minutes to get through security. Right now things are moving really smoothly. But then of course, as we move into the evening that 7-9 is a really busy mark,” said Smith.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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