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58% Canadians Avoiding Airports Until Situation Improves As 70% Call Situation A National Embarrassment: Poll

 Six in ten (58%) Canadians appear to be avoiding airports for the time being, agreeing (24% strongly/34% somewhat) that they are going to cancel or delay travel plans until the airport situation has improved, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News. Those aged 55+ (64%) are most likely to say they want nothing to do with airports at present.

While just one in twenty (5%) strongly agree that they’ve personally been delayed while traveling through a Canadian airport recently (another 18% somewhat agree), the problem has become untenable enough that most (70%) Canadians agree (26% strongly/44% somewhat) that the situation at Canadian airports is an embarrassment to Canada.  Moreover, only 43% agree (6% strongly/36% somewhat) that Canada is doing a better job than most other countries in dealing with airport travel issues, leaving a majority (57%) disagreeing (16% strongly/41% somewhat) that Canada is outperforming its peers.

Relatively few agree that the federal government (37% — 7% strongly/30% somewhat) is doing enough to address flight delays and cancellations at Canadian airports, and a similar proportion (35% — 4% strongly/32% somewhat) says the same about airlines. Although half (52%) of Canadians agree (11% strongly/41% somewhat) that the quick rebound in travel demand couldn’t have been predicted, and so it’s understandable that airports are having a hard time keeping up right now, Canadians are still pointing a figure at various culprits.

Who is to Blame for Delays?

Canadians say there is lots of blame to go around. In fact, four in ten (39%) say that the federal government, airports, airlines and Canadian travellers themselves equally share in the blame for travel delays overall. But some point the finger at a single entity, with the federal government (22%) being assigned a slightly larger share of the blame than the airlines (18%), airports (13%) or Canadians themselves for being out of practice (8%).

Different types of travel delays have all been contributing to the overall tardiness of the flying experience, and it seems that different delays have different culprits in the eyes of Canadians. The chart below itemizes the type of delay and who Canadians say is most to blame for it.

Who is most to blame for Delays?

 Fed GovAirlinesAirportsCanadian TravellersAll of them
Delays, overall22%18%13%8%39%
Delays at check-in counters13%31%24%8%24%
Delays at security checkpoints23%11%33%8%25%
Flight delays or cancellations14%44%14%4%25%
Delays with baggage delivery or last baggage9%34%33%5%19%
Delays at customs upon arrival in Canada34%9%23%6%29%

Delays at check-in counters are largely the responsibility of the airlines, say Canadians, along with flight delays/cancelations. Canadians believe the airports are largely to blame for security checkpoint delays, while the federal government has been assigned blame for customs delays. Canadian say that airlines and airports have a roughly equal share of the blame when it comes to baggage woes.

Regardless of who is to blame, Canadians are split on whether these challenges are temporary or longer-term. A slim majority (55%) agrees (9% strongly/46% somewhat) that the airport travel issue is a temporary glitch and that they expect everything to be back to normally by September. Conversely, nearly half (45%) disagree (12% strongly/33% somewhat) and foresee these issues lasting beyond the summer months.

Some are worried that this is just the tip of the iceberg and yet another example of how things appear to be breaking down in our post-COVID environment: two in three (66%) agree (17% strongly/49% somewhat) that they’re worried that the airport travel issue is just the start of a bunch of problems with the delivery of basic public services. Further, a similar proportion (67%) agree (19% strongly/49% somewhat) that basic services like making sure our airports work have been neglected by our governments which have been focused on the wrong issues for too long.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between July 12-13, 2022, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,001 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

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