A Vancouver woman says she saved big bucks and time by flying outside of the province to get her passport.
Instead of waiting overnight at a Metro Vancouver passport office or paying someone hundreds of dollars to wait in line for her, local food blogger Whitney B. decided to get creative in obtaining her travel document after she lost hers.
The Vancouver woman shared a TikTok that shows her boarding a flight to Edmonton from Vancouver International Airport with Flair Airlines.
At the start of the video, she mentions that she was able to book a passport appointment in Edmonton the day before the flight. Once she was at the Service Canada passport office, she completed the process within two-and-a-half hours — considerably less time than it takes in Vancouver (if you are able to see someone the day you line up).
Further, the round-trip airfare was $87, which is markedly lower than people have charged to wait in line on behalf of frustrated Vancouverites.
The local blogger told Vancouver is Awesome the experience in Edmonton is "night and day compared to Vancouver" and she was "shocked" to receive her passport so quickly.
"It was impossible to get it in Vancouver without camping out at 7 [p.m.] the night before or paying $300 [to $1000]," she explained, adding that she also didn't have to show proof of travel within 12 to 24 hours as you do in Metro Vancouver offices.
"They are still busy I’d say but the security staff there and passport staff were so friendly," she added.
@twofoodpiggies Going to Edmonton was much more worth it than camping out in YVR #canadapassport #passport #edmonton #vancouverpassport #flairairlines #passporthack ♬ Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) [2018 Remaster] - Kate Bush
Whitney said she stayed with relatives in Edmonton, so she didn't have to book accommodation or worry about timing for flights.
Passport Canada: Long passport office wait times
Scores of Metro Vancouverites have shared horror stories about their experiences attempting to obtain passports ahead of upcoming travel.
In early May, advertisements for "passport line holders" started popping up in online forums such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist Vancouver, and via personal websites. One of the most striking listings was asking a whopping $800 for an overnight waiting service at Sinclair Centre in downtown Vancouver.
The federal government has added a new feature that allows people to check the wait times at Service Canada offices across the country. A note on the page reads: "We’re working to deliver passports as quickly as we can. Due to high volumes, processing times are longer than usual."
Service Canada processed nearly 1.3 million passports between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022 — a sharp increase from the roughly 360,000 passports processed over the previous fiscal year.
V.I.A. has reached out to Employment and Social Development Canada for comment.
With files from the Canadian Press