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What is it about ex-CP/WardAir employees at Air Canada that make them so fantastic?

What is it about ex-CP/WardAir employees at Air Canada that make them so fantastic?

Old May 20, 18, 6:12 pm
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What is it about ex-CP/WardAir employees at Air Canada that make them so fantastic?

We all have had the opportunity to deal with an Air Canada employee that is ex-CP or ex-Ward Air. It dawned on me that every single Air Canada employee that has worked at these former airlines all display a tremendous amount of positive energy and is a fantastic employee for Air Canada. That said, I don't understand why.

Airlines fundamentally still do the same things. They carry someone from A->B, and while many things have changed, ultimately these former employees of CP/Ward Air have been at Air Canada for longer than my children have been alive. I do agree with some that there are some toxic parts about the Air Canada culture (every culture has this of course!), but even after X number of years, these former long serving employees still bring their A game to work, and I quite honestly have never dealt with any of these people and left with a bad taste in my mouth.

Just thinking out loud here - but what is it about these individuals? Certainly exemplary Air Canada employees - just don't know what the secret glue is here which is hit and miss with employees who did not work for those former carriers.
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Old May 20, 18, 6:15 pm
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Perhaps they were grandfathered in with great perks and salaries? Or perhaps they donít feel as entitled as some of the new comers (something not unique to AC!)

But Iím just guessing.
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Old May 20, 18, 7:09 pm
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I've mentioned this in the past as well regarding former WD/CP employees.

In fact, sometimes when I have a hunch, I ask if they are ex-WD or ex-CP and the response is always "how did you know?"
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Old May 20, 18, 8:05 pm
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Originally Posted by yyznomad View Post
I've mentioned this in the past as well regarding former WD/CP employees.

In fact, sometimes when I have a hunch, I ask if they are ex-WD or ex-CP and the response is always "how did you know?"
I have a similar story. My wife and I were flying LHR-YYC a few years ago. During the flight I told my wife that the staff were ex CP and she politely told me I was imaging things. While waiting to deplane she asked the FA if they were ex CP. When they replied in the affirmative she was quite surprised and ackniwledged I was right.
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Old May 20, 18, 9:40 pm
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West coast vs East coast culture? ExCP/WD are close to retirement and could care less what corporate wants, thus more personally empowered to just do the right thing rather than try to do the "rule" thing.

CP brought the concierge concept to air travel, the other had to try to maintain it... WD founder is 96 and still alive... I'd follow his lead more than I'd follow AC dude who looks like he's done at 70. Also one looks taller and sexier... so who would you mimic?
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Old May 20, 18, 9:52 pm
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Originally Posted by yyznomad View Post
I've mentioned this in the past as well regarding former WD/CP employees.

In fact, sometimes when I have a hunch, I ask if they are ex-WD or ex-CP and the response is always "how did you know?"
Originally Posted by DrunkCargo View Post
West coast vs East coast culture? ExCP/WD are close to retirement and could care less what corporate wants, thus more personally empowered to just do the right thing rather than try to do the "rule" thing.

CP brought the concierge concept to air travel, the other had to try to maintain it... WD founder is 96 and still alive... I'd follow his lead more than I'd follow AC dude who looks like he's done at 70. Also one looks taller and sexier... so who would you mimic?
Possible, however, I've maintained this opinion from the early 2000s when I started flying.

Even AC employees that are about to retire or quit do things for me that they probably shouldn't be doing, w.r.t. the "rule" thing.
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Old May 20, 18, 11:29 pm
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Employee attitude is a function of the culture in which they were brought up. As a former customer and Canadian Plus member (oh, and son-in-law of a former CP senior exec), I can attest to the general positive vibe within the company.

If there are any current AC employees who worked at Wardair, they'd have been very young when they started. It's unlikely that many former Wardair employees remain at AC, and those who do would not have spent very many years within the company prior to the CP takeover. Could the CP staff conceivably have retained their positive corporate culture for all these years, despite having been working within the AC organization the past 18 years? Sure, but it's reasonable to believe, and is evidenced by the rapid change within the Westjet culture, that there are jaded ex-CP staff (and to be fair, positive AC-only staff) currently working.

However, to imply that we can cleanly sort CP vs AC staff today by their demeanour is exceedingly simplistic. Claims that older, close-to-retirement staff are more likely to bend the rules is similarly lacking any evidence whatsoever; it's generally an accepted notion that we become more rigid in our beliefs and actions as we age.
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Old May 20, 18, 11:42 pm
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Originally Posted by yyznomad View Post
Possible, however, I've maintained this opinion from the early 2000s when I started flying.

Even AC employees that are about to retire or quit do things for me that they probably shouldn't be doing, w.r.t. the "rule" thing.
So you're saying the rulebending is an age thing? or generational thing? And the CP/WD guys have some other je ne sais quoi that distinguishes them besides age/tenure? Like, the "culture" thing I mentioned?

I kinda wish I had paid more attention when I started flying for work... but I kinda didn't care given I'd just expense whatever I needed and was equally happy in a middle-seat Canada 3000 as I was on Canadian Airlines (which is what I assume we mean here by CP, not Actual CP Air which I do remember as a child). I only ever did Wardair to Hawaii, so I don't feel that counts.
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Old May 20, 18, 11:51 pm
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Originally Posted by DrunkCargo View Post
So you're saying the rulebending is an age thing? or generational thing? And the CP/WD guys have some other je ne sais quoi that distinguishes them besides age/tenure? Like, the "culture" thing I mentioned?

I kinda wish I had paid more attention when I started flying for work... but I kinda didn't care given I'd just expense whatever I needed and was equally happy in a middle-seat Canada 3000 as I was on Canadian Airlines (which is what I assume we mean here by CP, not Actual CP Air which I do remember as a child). I only ever did Wardair to Hawaii, so I don't feel that counts.
I'm not concluding anything. I'm posting about my experiences and they just happen to be coincidental w.r.t. such scenarios.
I know that if I seek out a (seemingly) rude AC employee and assume they are not ex-CP/ex-WD, I will eventually get it wrong in that regard. And just the same, be incorrect in finding a pleasant AC employee only to find out that they have never worked for CP/WD/etc. etc. etc.

All I'm saying, in response to the OP, is what I've experienced; that they just happen to be ex-WD/ex-CP staff.
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Old May 21, 18, 12:04 am
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Originally Posted by yyznomad View Post
I'm not concluding anything. I'm posting about my experiences and they just happen to be coincidental w.r.t. such scenarios.
I know that if I seek out a (seemingly) rude AC employee and assume they are not ex-CP/ex-WD, I will eventually get it wrong in that regard. And just the same, be incorrect in finding a pleasant AC employee only to find out that they have never worked for CP/WD/etc. etc. etc.

All I'm saying, in response to the OP, is what I've experienced; that they just happen to be ex-WD/ex-CP staff.
Spoken like a true statistician... =)

I wish I had the patience for such rigour
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Old May 21, 18, 12:09 am
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Originally Posted by DrunkCargo View Post
Spoken like a true statistician... =)

I wish I had the patience for such rigour
I wasn't trying to be a statistician, but ok.

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Old May 21, 18, 3:52 am
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Originally Posted by CZAMFlyer View Post
Employee attitude is a function of the culture in which they were brought up. As a former customer and Canadian Plus member (oh, and son-in-law of a former CP senior exec), I can attest to the general positive vibe within the company.
This.
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Old May 21, 18, 3:56 am
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Originally Posted by yyznomad View Post
I've mentioned this in the past as well regarding former WD/CP employees.

In fact, sometimes when I have a hunch, I ask if they are ex-WD or ex-CP and the response is always "how did you know?"
Same here and particulalry true out of YVR when I take AC 7.
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Old May 21, 18, 9:21 am
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Originally Posted by jsfrSE View Post


Same here and particulalry true out of YVR when I take AC 7.

Agree with @jsfrSE

Since a number of my routes require connections in YVR, I look forward to what I feel is a more relaxed and positive temperament from the crews who I fly with across the Pacific.

OP asked an interesting question, and while some may get defensive about whether east or west is better, or if there is a difference, or if AC employees who had previously worked for CP and Wardair are different, I will add my personal observations.

Over the last number of years, I've done a large number of AC HKG 15/16s, HND 5/6 along with HKG 7/8, NRT 3/4, TPE 11/12 - now TPE 17/18, BNE 35/36, plus AC 62 and some TATLs. The volume is large for me but nowhere near what others here may have flown.

There have been great crews on every single one of these routes.

There have been some horrid crews, or rather individual SDs and FAs.

I find the better experiences overall have been with YVR-based crews. Some of them are ex-CP and ex-Wardair. Some have been with AC forever. Quite a few are from Montreal. But IMO, often the distinguishing factor is the lovely west-coast temperament. Even "hardened" lifetime AC employees have been fun and great to fly with.

Of the recent half-dozen TPAC flights, 5 of the flights had great crews, one had cranky, borderline nasty crews. It was not a pleasant crossing of the Pacific.


As others here know, I observe the crew interaction when I board. I don't care if no one else does this. It is part of what I do for work and it is often an automatic reflex. Whether it's TPACs, TATLs or transcons, how the SD interacts with the team they lead, will set the tone for the flight and it will have a direct impact on passengers.

While most of you don't care about these things, I do. When I have to spend 15+ hours in that metal tube with crew who are unhappy or cranky or didn't get enough rest at destination, it makes for a miserable experience.

The ex-CP and ex-Wardair crews I've flown with have a service-oriented culture from way back. And yes, they are not young, but they have a vast amount of experience with the various airlines.


Like it or not, AC was known for a combative culture. I don't know it this was from its historical management, and/or being owned by the government (or taxpayers), or the location of the management office. I also feel the reduction in number of cabin crew on TPAC routes has impacted the mood and even the service. AC made that choice and while it may be adequate numbers for safety, I do not think it is adequate for the best possible service.

I don't need a cabin with balloons and fluffy stuffed animals and so on.

I need a crew who are happy about their jobs, like what they do, like interacting with their teams and the passengers who fill the seats.

In the past few months, I’ve been asked by a variety of AC employees at all levels, why I fly some of the flights I do, what my experiences are, etc. I think that’s very nice of them. It doesn’t matter to me why they are asking, but the fact that they are is interesting to me.


All companies have shining stars. IMHO, Air Canada certainly has a large number. I’ve met the most awesome pilots, cabin crew, concierges, check-in agents, gate agents and spoke with some excellent phone agents. Sure, there are a large number who are less than stellar and I move on if I can, but if coming from CP or Wardair has given AC some outstanding crews, then lucky me and lucky us. If, along with many of the young, new hires I’ve met (mainline), the overall enthusiasm for the job is on display, then I give AC credit for their great choices.


I find it interesting now that when the captains make their pre-departure announcements from the FD, most now include a line saying words like “We know you have many choices when you fly, and we thank you for choosing Air Canada”. U.S. airlines I’ve flown have been doing this forever, but I really like the fact that AC is doing this now. Because we ALL have choices.
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Old May 21, 18, 9:30 am
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A few years ago I occasionally played golf with a couple of retired AC pilots, both ex CP. Their take: ďAir Canada and 9/11 conspired to turn a really good job into a really crappy job.Ē

Iím surprised that no one has yet mentioned the lingering government employee attitude among AC people. Even though it was a generation ago, the remnants of the attitude persist. (ďI work at the airport. Youíre wrong!Ē)
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