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Montral Trudeau Covid Featured

My Travel Experience at Montreal-Trudeau (YUL) During COVID-19

To the point

Here are what the safety and health measures deployed at Montréal-Trudeau International Airport during COVID-19 look like.

Montréal-Trudeau's measures to travel with confidence

Travelling from Montréal-Trudeau International Airport is a different experience during COVID-19. The airport has adapted its safety and health procedures to allow us to travel with confidence.

Here is my experience from September 2020 for a flight from Montreal.

Arriving by car - Montréal-Trudeau International Airport

Upon arrival at Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, we are generally accustomed to a long line of cars waiting to get to the terminal. Now, no problem: I count three cars – including the Police car – at the drop-in.

Access to the terminal is limited to gates 4 and 11 at the departure level. And those entrances are monitored by security guards with a health checkpoint.

Before entering the terminal, you need to wash your hands and only travellers can enter (unless of course, someone needs special attention or to accompany a minor child).

Wearing a mask is mandatory at Montréal-Trudeau International Airport. If you have forgotten your mask, you can still purchase one at the dedicated booth ($3).

Note that as per the airport guidelines, only children under 2 years of age and persons with breathing difficulties, disabilities or unable to remove their masks without the assistance of a third party are exempt from this requirement.

My three-year-old son refuses to wear the mask. It will be difficult to travel with him soon!

Check-in - Montréal-Trudeau International Airport

Just after passing through entrance door number 4, your temperature is monitored by cameras, with someone checking to make sure the temperature has been picked up, even if you have to be go through it a second time.

For a frequent traveller like me, it is sad to see such a blank billboard.

I often look at the destinations served, and I was pleased to know that, from Montreal, it was still possible to reach cities like Shanghai, Tokyo or Sao Paulo directly. Currently, only a handful of destinations are served.

Through the terminal, many disinfectant gel dispensers are available. The trolleys are disinfected and cleaned after each use. And the airlines have improved the various “contactless” self-service systems.

If you need assistance to drop off your baggage, agents are of course available at the counter. And protective Plexiglas was installed there.

Security - Montréal-Trudeau International Airport

You don’t need to have a credit card that lets you cut the line, like the Visa Infinite Privilege, or a business-class ticket, or even a child in your arms: there’s nobody at security.

After they check my boarding pass on my smartphone, they make me go through a second temperature check. This time, you need to stop and put your feet on the marks intended for that purpose. Then, look at the camera for a few seconds.

You’re then off to the security scanners. The bins you place your belongings in are carefully disinfected after each use.

Boarding - Montréal-Trudeau International Airport

Once we’re at the gate side, I take a look at the tarmac. It is very rare not to see any aircraft near these gates. It’s totally empty.

I am trying to get to the Maple Leaf Lounge that Air Canada had promised to reopen by Labour Day (but that was before the Government of Canada extended the mandatory quarantine measures again).

And I find the door closed.

Most bars and restaurants are closed. Tim Hortons and one of the Priority Pass restaurants (Pork & Pickle) is open. I could decide to use one of the 6 passes coming with my Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card, but I prefer to head to my gate.

My flight leaves from gate 51. That gate is right on the edge of the International zone. Last year, bulkheads were installed to provide a “watertight” area for operational needs (particularly since the international section was separated from the rest of the airport).

Seat rows have placards affixed to them to ensure social distancing is respected. In other words, there is no room for everyone if the flight were full. But I still find a place to sit a few minutes before boarding.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I can say that the experience at Montréal-Trudeau International Airport has really changed.

The airport has clearly put in place all the necessary sanitary measures and, in my opinion, fulfils its objective of making us “travel with confidence”.

But the traveller in me feels saddened by this situation: being at the airport is synonymous with holiday departure, joy and freedom. All of this seems to be a thing of the past, and the constant reminders in speakers to respect social distancing and the wearing of masks only reminds us of the situation we are all stuck in.

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