'It's been incredibly frustrating': Would-be travellers face long line to renew passports in Victoria

Destiny Lewis was waiting, hoping, praying her passport would be finally ready as she stood in the line-up out the passport office in Victoria Friday, just days before her scheduled Hawaii getaway.

"I was told I'd have my passport in my mailbox by April 7,” said Lewis.

It never came, so she paid to get it expedited.

She took two days off of work and travelled to Victoria from the Comox Valley, with no guarantee the passport would even be here.

"It's going to be a pretty stressful situation if I have to start rebooking hotels, rebooking flights because my passport didn't come in on time,” said Lewis.

Hundred-person-long lines, like the one at the passport office in downtown Victoria, are what experts call the new travel normal.

Friday morning’s line-up reached around the top floor of the Bay Centre.

"This is my fifth attempt at trying to get my passport renewed,” said Kim Meadows, as she stood in the line-up.

"It's been incredibly frustrating and the line-ups have been insane.”

Travel experts say pent-up pandemic demand for international travel and a shortage of workers across the industry have spawned serious wait times, sector wide.

If you do get your hands on one of those last-minute passports, officials at the Victoria International Airport say plan ahead.

"There could be longer lines than usual going through security or check-in with your air carrier,” said Rod Hunchak, director of business development with the Victoria Airport Authority.

A staffing shortage throughout YYJ means it’s back to pre-pandemic waits.

"When you lay off 75 per cent of your workforce and then try to get them back, it creates a challenge,” said Hunchak. “A lot of those folks have moved on to other jobs."

Back at the passport office in Victoria, Lewis was able to conclude her two-month passport renewal odyssey successfully.

"I'm just happy I have my passport in hand and I don't have to reschedule my trip,” she said.

With lines like what is currently sitting outside of the passport office in Victoria, it’s unclear if others will have her luck.