my wife and 4 year old son flew back from toronto pearson airport to washington reagan airport yesterday, and i wanted to share their travel experience...
my wife described some new security procedures in place.
the check-in process was smooth and the airline personnel were very friendly. my wife was checking in a suitcase. they didn't bother weighing it (though it was right near the limit of 50lb with all of the presents she was bringing back).
it used to be that after checking in, you would fill out a customs form and proceed to immigration and customs. now they call you up based on your departure time (for example, they'll say all passengers with flights departing between 11am and 11:15am may proceed to immigration and customs). the immigration and customs process was very smooth - the immigration and customs officers were very friendly.
after that, you go through security, just as you did before. again, everything went smoothly and the security officers were very friendly.
after passing through security, you are in the area with the boarding gates. you would normally be able to go anywhere in this area, but yesterday, they had a security checkpoint limiting your access to only the hallway where your departure gate was located.
there was a further security check as you entered your gate area. this was a physical inspection of your hand baggage and your person. again, the security personnel were specially friendly. they checked my son by tickling him, and talked with him so as to make him feel comfortable with the process. this specially impressed me, because if this is not handled smoothly, a child a feel very traumatized.
the flight left only five minutes late, and arrived on time.
my son asked, and got to go up to the cockpit and meet the pilots and got wings stickers. i was so glad to hear that even with heightened security, they still take care of the kids this way!
kudos to the air canada ground agents, immigrations, customs and security officers, as well as the flight attendants for being specially friendly and thoughtful in their interactions! it makes the traveling process all the more enjoyable!