How long to connect in Toronto?

May 7th, 2010, 09:24 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,248
How long to connect in Toronto?

I'll be flying Nashville -> Vancouver and then back from Calgary -> Nashville. One of my flight options is with Air Canada, connecting in Toronto both ways. I'm completely unfamiliar with the Toronto airport - how long is enough time to comfortably connect for international flights? The flight option I'd love to take has 2 hours, 25 minutes' layover on the way to Vancouver (I'm assuming I would need to go through immigration in Toronto), and only one hour and 20 minutes on the way back. I'm assuming I wouldn't need to go through immigration on the way back to Nashville (plus it sounds like you actually do that before your flight?) - is 1:20 enough time to have an un-stressful connection, assuming flights are more or less on time? Is 2:25 enough time to go through immigration and change terminals if necessary?

Also, any reviews on Air Canada as compared to United, Continental or American on these routes would be appreciated. I don't care where I connect (though avoiding O'Hare would be nice), and the tickets are all within $20 of each other. I'm not sure how the United/Continental merger would affect things.

Thanks so much!
jent103 is offline  
May 8th, 2010, 04:18 AM
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Air Canada gives the minimum times for connecting to and from the US in Toronto as 1hr 10 minutes. On your way to Vancouver, you will clear Canadian Customs and Immigration in Toronto, while on your return, you will clear US Customs and Immigration in Toronto so that the Toronto-Nashville flight is then treated as a US domestic flight. If you are travelling on Air Canada all the way, you will not need to change terminals.

You can find more information on connections at Toronto with these videos:

Connections for your return flight are 10 minutes over the minimum. Whether or not this would be stressful is for you to decide. If traveling in the winter, I would certainly want more time.

I fly Air Canada regularly and generally find it better than most US airlines on domestic flights. Service between Nashville and Toronto is on a Bombardier RJ (50 passenger jet) if that makes any difference.

I agree with you about avoiding connecting through O'Hare.
laverendrye is offline  
May 8th, 2010, 05:18 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
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We are also connecting through Toronto this summer and I had the same concern. We are flying Westjet. I spoke to a representative who told me that connecting from the US through Toronto is quite easy b/c you go through the "Quick Connect". It is a separate area where you will gather your bags and go through security. We also have a tight connection but he said we would be fine. As for your flight back, I believe you technically "enter the US" while still in Canada. So you and your bags will be checked through and you should not need to do the customs thing in Toronto on the way home.
Good luck!
PS: We had a horrible connection from Dublin through Atlanta last summer (less than an hour and had to change from the international terminal to a domestic terminal) and we cleared it --- we had to move quickly, but we did and with 10-year-old in tow. Security/TSA knows people have connections and they move it along quickly.
welovetotravel is offline  
May 8th, 2010, 05:47 AM
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Thanks so much for the input. There are other options with 2:20 or 3:20 to connect on the return, so one of those seems like a better option - I'm not into being stressed!
jent103 is offline  
May 8th, 2010, 05:58 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Calgary-Toronto is a domestic flight. You must therefore clear US Customs and Immigration in Toronto before boarding the flight to Nashville. Your bags are not checked through from Calgary to Nashville. Once through customs and immigration, you have technically entered the US while still in Toronto.
laverendrye is offline  
May 8th, 2010, 07:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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It's something of a crapshoot, unfortunately; I'd give yourself as much time as possible between flights. I've connected to New York via Toronto from our home in Victoria, BC several times and although it's always felt like a huge time crunch, I've been lucky so far. Airport personnel are helpful and there are often people waiting in those little carts to take you and your luggage to and from the customs area. However, with heightened security precautions that can often become even more time-consuming at a moment's notice these days, you just never know.

We almost always travel Air Canada because we collect airline points on their Aeroplan system. They used to be pretty awful from a service point of view, but in the past year or so there's been a complete turnaround. They've been very helpful and informative - nothing we could possibly complain about, even under really difficult conditions.
Meesthare is offline  
May 8th, 2010, 02:59 PM
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Thanks, everyone. I picked Air Canada flights that give me 3 hours, 20 minutes in Toronto in both directions. I decided I'd rather get up early to get to the airport than stress about making a connection. Meesthare, that's great to hear about their customer service! And laverendrye, thanks for the clear explanation of the process!
jent103 is offline  
May 8th, 2010, 03:05 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Good idea. My biggest nightmare flight was when I flew from Scotland in to Toronto and then to Cleveland. Our plane arrived late and barely had any time and I almost didn't make it. I made it but my bag did not (arrived at my doorstep the next day). It was stressful.
amelie is offline  
Dec 26th, 2014, 01:43 AM
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 2
Hi. I just booked a flight from europe through Pearson to NY with a 90 minute stopover and I'm worried that it won't be enough time. What was your experience in the end?
yardkay is offline  
Dec 26th, 2014, 12:18 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 576
I would check with the airlines involved to see what their standard connecting times are. Hopefully, all airlines are on one ticket.
Scotia is offline  
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