I would like to share my near disastrous experience with ArriveCan. In early September 2022 I had to travel to Mexico on business. I was scheduled to return September 13 via WestJet, but had to change to September 14, Air Canada operated by United. I got to the Puerto Vallarta airport early for my 1:15 flight to Toronto via Houston and I was asked by the United agent, one Pedro Ramirez, to see the ArriveCan QR Code on my phone. I explained to him my phone was not working, would not download the code, as it got soaked in a rainstorm. He stated that I could not board the aircraft unless I had a QR Code. In the conversation with Pedro he became aware that I had travelled back to Canada earlier using the code on my wife’s phone. Where is your wife he asked, in Canada I replied. Can we call her he asked, so we did on his personal cell phone. Fortunately, she answered, and he explained to her that he could e mail the flight info to her, she could enter it into her phone, then she would e mail it to Pedro’s personal phone, then he could print it and I could get on the plane. All of this took about 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, while waiting and after calming down, my 81-year-old brain started processing what I was going to do if I could not get on the plane, I had no accommodation, and very limited resources. My first thought was I would camp out in the terminal building till the Arrive Can requirement was removed, but on further thought I decided I would go to the Canadian Consulate and camp there, as they would probably feed me. Fortunately, because of Pedro’s cleverness, I did not have to do either. I cannot help but wonder how many other octogenarians are stuck in foreign airports because they do not have a phone, their phone doesn’t work or they simple cannot make the technology work. The final chapter in this story is that on arrival at Toronto there was absolutely no requirement to present Arrive Can info!!
Wayne Anderson is Chair of the Board, Frontier Centre for Public Policy