Transiting from a domestic to an international flight at Toronto’s Pearson International, as we’ve talked about in the past, can prove to be a bit of a nightmare. But how does it compare when you’ve got to connect from international to domestic? You may not have to clear US customs post security, but you still have to make it through Canadian customs. I flew with Delta Air Lines last month, with a pretty tight connection in Toronto to find out.
The DBA Endeavour Connection service took me on the first leg of the service, before changing to a WestJet flight for the service to Prince Edward Island.
Flight One: New York City (JFK) to Toronto (YYZ)
Flight Number: DL5540
Seat: 8D – Delta Comfort, Window Seat (2-2 Layout)
Aircraft Type: Bombardier CRJ900
Flight Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
On Time? 10 minutes Early
Getting to JFK
JFK is accessible via train – but it’s a lengthier journey than LGA (even with the bus connection – pending traffic of course) so make sure you give yourself enough time. People bemoan travelling to Newark – and it is a more expensive journey, but it takes about the same as JFK from Manhattan. And the Airtrain costs $5 on your Metrocard (keep your Metrocard to avoid $1 fees everyone you need a new one… they last for quite a long time). It takes 10-15 minutes on the Airtrain, but there’s plenty of seats and room for your bags. I left my apartment in the East Village at 850am and didn’t get there until 1025am – 90 minutes before my flight.
About your departure airport: JFK
Getting through security at JFK was easier thanks to my Sky Priority status, and only took 15 minuets. I also only had carry ons, and there were no customs to clear (as you often have to do leaving Canada), so it wasn’t long before I was in the Delta Sky lounge – which was a bit more than halfway to my gate. It’s a BIG terminal so getting anywhere takes a while. There’s a new lounge coming to T4 soon but the one they have now is comfortable, with a full bar, self service hot and cold food – including soups, a stir fry and salads. It wasn’t as stocked as some Delta New York lounges I’ve been to in the past, but it was a comfortable space to spend almost an hour ahead of my flight boarding.
Boarding was quick and easy and we left the gate ahead of schedule. I was updated to Delta Comfort at the gate (though was able to see this status in my account through the app; a benefit of being a Frequent Flyer).
Seat and Entertainment
On board wifi was available, with entertainment options too. Plenty of TV series and movies! In the Delta comfort seat there was extra leg room and a AC and USB plug in the seat in front of you. Only one of each shared between two but that worked fine. The seat was comfortable and there was enough overhead storage.
Food and Drink
Non-alcoholic drinks were served with complimentary cookies or cheez-its. Since this was such a quick flight that was done as soon as we hit elevation, and they were barely wrapped up by the time we started heading back down again.
Arriving and transferring to a Domestic service at Toronto Pearson International
If you have checked baggage you don’t need to collect it for the domestic transfer, unless you’re changing airlines of course and the bag isn’t tagged through. But after going through customs – which is a quick and easy process – you have to leave the secure area and go through security again. But being a domestic flight, the lines are shorter than those flights going to the US and you don’t have to clear any further customs or deal with your checked luggage. So on the whole, it’s a faster process, expedited by having Sky Priority in my case (which you’re able to show via the app). It didn’t take too long though and even with the tight turnaround, I ended up with about 40 minutes before the scheduled departure time.
Flight Two: Toronto (YYZ) to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (YYG)
Airline: Westjet (Codeshare with Delta)
Seat: 17A – Window Seat (3-3 Layout)
Flight Time: 2 Hours
On time? Yes
Boarding was quick and painless, if not slightly delayed. But we left on time. Sadly there’s no lounge in Toronto for a Velocity frequent flyer like myself, flying on a Delta ticket.
Comfort & Entertainment
It was an old plane with the square satellite screen that I hadn’t seen in a long time. And the seats left a lot to be desired – it was a bit run down. But not uncomfortable for a two hour flight. There are 25 satellite channels, most of which were working. Only one of the free “PPV” channels was working for the flight, showing an animated kids movie.
There were announcements in French and English and we had a particularly jolly crew for the Westjet flight, with some great and entertaining banter, especially alongside the safety briefing. They were very helpful, and did it all with a smile.
Food and Drink
Complimentary pretzels and cookies were served alongside non-alcoholic drinks. I was towards the back of the aircraft so I was served about halfway through the flight. I had a cup of tea and some pretzels, watched a couple of TV shows on my phone and then we landed.
While it can be a difficult experience flying from Pearson to the US, transiting from International to Domestic was actually a pretty quick and easy one. I still wish you didn’t have to leave the airport and then pass through security again, but as the airport has shown me – it could be a lot worse. And as for the flights themselves, they were pretty painless. Westjet were using a pretty old plane, as was Delta, but they were both comfortable, with great on time service from an excellent crew.
THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Book your next flight with Delta Air Lines at delta.com.
The writer flew at his own expense.