I was called today by market research firm
(A.C. Nielsen, I think) asking me to participate in a telephone survey regarding
Canadian. They knew I had been on a CP flight
recently. (They knew th flight #, etc). It
was a very extensive survey, and took about
20 min. It covered everything from on-line
booking & ticketing to baggage pickup(i.e
the WHOLE trip) They asked about amenities,
cabin & checkin crew, etc., and about CPlus.
The last thing was an opportunity for a comment. I warned Uncle Miltie not to tinker
too much with CPlus, the service and amenities, and ESPECIALLY the culture and
attitude of the employees, and that the CP
employees could teach the AC people a lot
about legendary customer service, and
going the extra mile for the people paying
Maybe they've been reading this B.B.-could
that be why they're surveying us?
Apr 16, 00, 5:03 pm
As an Air Canada employee for the last 22 years, I find some of your comments to be mean spirited. A good majority of my colleagues at Air Canada offer exceptional customer service. I always give 200% of myself while I'm on the job. If what you said were true, I don't believe Air Canada would have won as many customer service awards as it has , in the last 5 years. These comments are not meant to take anything away from the terrific employees at CP. I believe that it is a little naive to state that any large company has a monopoly on good employees. Perhaps your geographic location is colouring your judgement?
Apr 16, 00, 5:19 pm
Over the past four years I have done quite a bit of flying on both AC and CP. I think it is very much misleading to say that AC employees need to learn about customer service.
There is no question that CP had/has excellent customer service. In my experiance, I have come upon numerous AC employees that really do anything they can to make me know how much they want my business. I find Montreal Dorval and Vancouver to be particulary good for AC. Toronto has a few problems, but I think that comes from being seriously overcapacity in Terminal 2. Having worked in a front-line Customer Service position last summer, I can attest to the fact that no matter how good the intentions of the employee are, if they are being worked beyond the limit, service will suffer.
While I admit that this Great service is not always what I am greeted with, it is certainly there. It's all too easy to get into the trap of anticipating bad service (based on general attitide and myths), and therefore being rude to the service giver before they can even have a chance to prove you wrong. I someone thinks that the employee is bad at their job, the employee knows that it will take more than the few minutes they have with you to change your mind. So the don't even bother! Give them a chance. Some AC employees have done some pretty great things for me over the years.
Apr 16, 00, 5:22 pm
I'm sorry, but I must agree with muskoka here. I have flown on Air Canada 3 times in the last year (prior to the merger)...and I have never been treated more like a "no one" in my life (albiet, I have no status on AC).
There were no outside influences (ie bad weather), just rude service. The check in agents always acted as if we (I was travelling with 2 others) were interrupting there gab session. On the plane, being in coach, my calleague asked for another drink. The FA said that "one drink" was all that was served -- one a 90 minute flight.
Although I have also never been a complete fan of CP, their service is much better. At least they SMILE when I check in and don't complain when we ask for something.
Apr 16, 00, 7:54 pm
I didn't mean to paint all the AC employees
with the same brush, I am just going by
the statistical number of times I have:
a) Flown on AC
b) Flown on CP
C) the # of times I have had uncaring or
just plain rude attitude taken as a fraction
of the # of times flown on the particular airline. I'm sorry to say, over the past 20
years, the AC fraction comes out higher than
the CP one. (and Don't let my western
location fool you-- I'm a transplanted
Just relaying my actual experience, not
my biased preference.
Apr 17, 00, 2:32 pm
I must agree with muskoka on this one. the attitudes of Canadian employees seem to be better most of the time (not all the time) - especially on longer (overseas) flights. I am taking this from my own experience, some 40 or so flights a year on a mix of AC and CP. However, I don't believe it is just the employees. Maybe it's just management's directive (to be more efficient)? I am also suprised to see WDK so quick to dismiss a negative comment as 'typical westerner attitude' - Tell me, do you ask passengers where they're from before you give 200 percent?
Apr 17, 00, 4:08 pm
I took a CP flight from YYZ to LHR on April 3 and was given an extensive survey on my perception of the cultures of the two organizations and the quality of service from them. I have very limited experience on these two carriers, but I answered their extensive surveys anyway.
My guess is that the CP/AC management team wants to measure the perceived differences between the two organizations' images and then work to make the stakeholders happy with the merged entity by taking the best from each.
Apr 17, 00, 6:41 pm
As this is a Canadian forum, I guess I'm not surprised by the comments I've read so far. I have spent 22 years working on an Air Canada aircraft and have received many commendations, both written and verbal, regarding the quality of inflight service and the great attitude of the crew.
You must assume that as an airline employee, we only fly on our own carrier and therefor have no valid comparison. I have flown recently on Canadian Airlines to both Italy and Honolulu. I was very grateful to have an economy seat on all flights. While the crews on these flights were professional, there was nothing outstanding in their customer service skills. On Air Canada overseas flights the crew pass through the economy cabins with water and juice every twenty minutes or so( between meal services), I almost never saw a Canadian flight attendant between services. As a matter of fact, between Honolulu and Vancouver, I saw several of them sleeping in the last row of economy seats. If this constitutes customer service excellence, I hope these skills are forgotten before they join one of my transatlantic crews!
Apr 17, 00, 8:56 pm
Sitting in the LHR T4 Terrace lounge on Saturday there was a woman doing a survey on people flying the CP flight to YYZ---she was asking everyone "where are you flying today". Also the 767 to YYC was an un-changed CP plane...
Apr 18, 00, 7:07 am
There is a big survey being done across the BA system on selected flights each day. I was at T4 Terrace Lounge waiting for my flight to YYC (old livery aircraft -- rather eerie seeing all those AC maple leafs tails amid the BA ones) on Wednesday, but they were after people going to HKG and SIN on BA flights. Earlier that day, in BRU ExecLounge, they were surveying people on the way to LHR that morning. So I don't think this was a CP-commissioned study, but rather would have included BA codeshares as part of the larger BA research.
Apr 18, 00, 12:39 pm
I have never flown on AC... i am not going to comment on their inflight service. Of all the CP flights I have been on (and it's a LOT), I have always been given excellent service either I sit in Y class or J class. Once in a very long while, I'll get those "I am just doing my job" service.
On Air Canada overseas flights the crew pass through the economy cabins with water and juice every twenty minutes or so( between meal services.
Personally, I find this a bit unreal and it's a bit annoying to have someone come around every 20 mins during a 13 hr flight.
As a matter of fact, between Honolulu and Vancouver, I saw several of them sleeping in the last row of economy seats. If this constitutes customer service excellence, I hope these skills are forgotten before they join one of my transatlantic crews!
The last several rows of Y class are blocked off for crew rest. Some crew will get rest time as once they get to HNL, they do a turnaround back to YVR. So it is not fair for you to analyse CP's service based on this incident.
It is further unfair for you to issue a challenge to CP employees to clean up their act before joining one of your crews.
Soon you guys will work for the same company and I don't think it's fair for you to insult CP's employee.
Apr 18, 00, 7:59 pm
My intention was not to insult any Canadian crew member. However, in this forum, Air Canada and Air Canada employees seem to be fair game. The point that I have been trying to make is that there is a great majority of good employees in both airlines. It is unfair for CP frequent flyers, who have probably only flown Air Canada sporadically, or long ago,to conclude that CP employees are more customer service oriented. The prevailing customer service attitude at Air Canada is very positive. Anything less falls below the norm and is usually self policed by the employee group.
The previous examples I gave, illustrate the point that I was trying to make, that no large corporation is one hundred per cent consistent.
In internal Star Alliance surveys, Air Canada and Air Canada employees, consistently rate above other Star Alliance carrier employees, in terms of friendliness and customer service.
The frequent water/beverage service, which I alluded to, is totally noninvasive. We walk through the cabin, water in hand, and offer passenger who are awake, a beverage. If you have ever been stuck in a window economy seat, by a sleeping aisle seat passenger, you would appreciate this service. This service is in the Air Canada Ops manual and is not in the CP manual. While I realize that we are not perfect, I would appreciate a realistic, objective critique, rather than one founded on previous misconceptions and second hand information. There are things that Air Canada has done better than Cp and vice versa. If CP had been perfect and Air Canada deplorable, Air Canada would not have any customers and CP would be flying high!!!
Apr 18, 00, 9:14 pm
I've taken a few red eyes on AC in the past few years, not to mention transat flights, and such frequent "water" service has never been evident in either cabin on any of them. In fact, on two of my red eyes in Executive Class, there was no bar service what-so-ever, and the FAs ignored most requests for a drink, hard or soft. On the basis of too many such experiences like this on AC, it has not been my carrier of choice. And last month, not being able to get a FA hang my coat and jacket in Executive First because it was "no longer policy" was the straw that broke the camel's back on spending any money with the new Air Canada.
As a shareholder of AC, I feel sad that my ratio of exceptional, or even passable, service in flight is 1 in 5. Crews seem to be either condescending out of Montreal, or indifferent out of Toronto. Generalizatios, sure. But it occurs with such frequency that I've given up. I've had great res and ground agents on AC, but in the air it's a whole other airline. And unfortunately, that's where it really matters.
Apr 18, 00, 10:00 pm
I'm sorry you've had some bad experiences. In my entire career with Air Canada, I've never seen any F/A ignore a drink request. Being human, I must admit that I have forgotten a couple over the years. But not many and not deliberately. I maintain that if only one experience in five were positive on any airline, that airline would not have many customers left. I have spent a great deal of time deadheading on my own carrier and can quite happily say that I have been rarely embarrassed by the attitude of the crews. The few times that I have, many years ago, I made my opinion known!
I would sincerely hope that any future experience that you have on Air Canada is a good one. I really don't see this forum as the place to unfairly criticize an entire group of men and women based on a few perceived bad experiences. A great majority of my colleagues are hard working, sympathetic individuals, who truly value the customer who pays the salary. I believe the old addage is "that you reap what you sow". My job is MUCH easier when the customer is made to feel welcomed by me. I extend this courtesy to all customers, regardless of their preconceptions.
Apr 19, 00, 6:12 am
As an AC "fan" I have to agree with wdk. The negative experiences are certainly not the norm. I don't know how AC could have won the various awards that it has (no matter how easily some awards are rigged) or to have captured so much of CP's business.
I made the switch from CP because of several bad experiences with Canadian Plus and was delighted at the reception I got from Aeroplan. I am sure we could all cite "crap" that we have received from either side but the weight of the evidence (statistical, not anecdotal) is in AC's (and CP's) favor. The research surveys, the number of people preferring the airline over US based counterparts (Ken hAAmer's recent experience excepted), and the various awards show that both CP and AC stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Let's make sure we keep them that way by continuing to do what we always did--write constructive criticism letters when service is below par and show our appreciation when it exceeds our expectations!
Apr 19, 00, 6:30 pm
I'm sorry to see this thread turn into a flaming war, I'm sure that wasn't WDK's intention - or any of ours, but I must say I am not surprised. It doesn't bode well for the future, however. It seems both sides (passengers and FA's) are going into a combined Air Canada with battle lines drawn.
To cite travel awards given to Air Canada as credible - come on - we all know that the advertisers paying for the magazine choosing awards always do well, and Air Canada is the perfect example. Air Canada's results in these selections (best business airline, best ff program, etc.) are directly proportional to their advertising budgets. There is no merit in these awards - ask the magazines and newspapers themselves.
And the notion that CP would be flying high if they had better customer service is completely laughable. Let's face it - CS had nothing to do with it. Air Canada played a game of "Let's see who goes bankrupt first" with Canadian by fare cutting to the bone. Look at AC's financials over the last 10 years and you will see what I am talking about. AC knew they could own the Canadian market simply by undercutting it - they had more money in the bank in the end. That is the business side of it. Now when all of the smoke clears everyone seems to expect both groups of employees to play nice. I don't think that is going to happen, and WDK's opinions are a perfect example. Don't get me wrong, I do not want to blame AC employees for this, they were only caught in the middle (as were CP employees).
But I am more than happy now to stay away from the whole mess and fly other airlines - even if it means putting up with the always disappointing US carriers. I just hope companies like WJ and C3 can pick it up and introduce some competition into Canada again.