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Contacting AC - not accepting calls

Contacting AC - not accepting calls

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Old Mar 12, 19, 12:51 pm
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Contacting AC - not accepting calls

Trying to contact AC about an upcoming flight. I get a recording from the lovely Michael Trembley who proudly says he is responsible for AC call centres around the world saying they cannot answer my call nor even put me on hold for the next available agent and I should call back another time.

WTH? What kind of call centre can’t even put you on hold? So how is one supposed to get assistance for something that cannot be done online?
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Old Mar 12, 19, 12:55 pm
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Originally Posted by Finkface View Post
Trying to contact AC about an upcoming flight. I get a recording from the lovely Michael Trembley who proudly says he is responsible for AC call centres around the world saying they cannot answer my call nor even put me on hold for the next available agent and I should call back another time.

WTH? What kind of call centre canít even put you on hold? So how is one supposed to get assistance for something that cannot be done online?
All of them if the call volume is to high. I'm sure pax are calling AC about flights months in the future, even if they are not on the MAX.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 12:57 pm
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Originally Posted by 5mm View Post
All of them if the call volume is to high. I'm sure pax are calling AC about flights months in the future, even if they are not on the MAX.
Ok, I get high call volume. But put me on hold and give me the choice to wait, or offer me a callback. Don’t just tell me to go away. And if it is urgent? Not everyone is calling about something months in the future.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 1:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Finkface View Post
Ok, I get high call volume. But put me on hold or offer me a callback. Donít just tell me to go away. And if it is urgent? Not everyone is calling about something months in the future.
But that are how phone systems work. There are only so many lines. Once max is reach, you are lucky even to get a message. Usually the phone line will ring busy or drop.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 1:04 pm
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Originally Posted by 5mm View Post
But that are how phone systems work. There are only so many lines. Once max is reach, you are lucky even to get a message. Usually the phone line will ring busy or drop.
Not just AC. I don't think people understand that one can't just "put someone on hold." At some point, even large systems reach capacity. Besides, I am not certain that there is a value in expanding a system so that it can put callers on hold for 3+ hours.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 1:58 pm
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Originally Posted by 5mm View Post
But that are how phone systems work. There are only so many lines. Once max is reach, you are lucky even to get a message. Usually the phone line will ring busy or drop.
If "there are only so many lines", then they're using decades-old phone system technology.

I ran an Asterisk server in my home when my connection was 5Mbps, and I certainly had 5+ active calls simultaneously. And with 5Mbps, I'm sure I could have done 50 without any degradation in quality.

My connection is now closer to 500Mbps, and I'm sure I could handle 5000 (actually, that might start to hit CPU limits on my server). Someone who runs a call center as a core part of their business should be able to handle 50,000 active calls without much issue. The vast majority would be on hold forever, but that's not a system limitation.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 2:35 pm
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"Asterisk" - wow that came up in a conversation I had at lunch.

I was discussing ancient technology (PBX) with my head architect.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 2:44 pm
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I was discussing ancient technology (PBX) with my head architect.
Spent a large chunk of my investment banking IT consulting career getting Nortel PABX (one partner in merger) to play nice with our Cisco switches (other partner in merger) all over central and eastern europe. Nightmares but paid the bills!

Don't understand why the callback function would not work (worked very well during IRROPS a few weeks ago but used the french line which is vastly quicker overall), as said above, given AC IT prowess it is unsurprising that there phone system is a steaming pile.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 4:54 pm
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
If "there are only so many lines", then they're using decades-old phone system technology.

I ran an Asterisk server in my home when my connection was 5Mbps, and I certainly had 5+ active calls simultaneously. And with 5Mbps, I'm sure I could have done 50 without any degradation in quality.

My connection is now closer to 500Mbps, and I'm sure I could handle 5000 (actually, that might start to hit CPU limits on my server). Someone who runs a call center as a core part of their business should be able to handle 50,000 active calls without much issue. The vast majority would be on hold forever, but that's not a system limitation.
Don't forget that they have to pay every minute for every call to a toll-free number (usually under a penny a minute and a bit more from payphones but I'm sure it adds up) so it's not in their interest to take those calls. Of course they could implement a callback system.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 5:33 pm
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Originally Posted by Finkface View Post
Trying to contact AC about an upcoming flight. I get a recording from the lovely Michael Trembley who proudly says he is responsible for AC call centres around the world saying they cannot answer my call nor even put me on hold for the next available agent and I should call back another time.

WTH? What kind of call centre canít even put you on hold? So how is one supposed to get assistance for something that cannot be done online?
IT is really, really, really hard for AC, as is customer service. Maybe one day, they will figure it out, and base executive bonuses upon their ability to interact with customers.

Until then, well, you're on your own.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 6:35 pm
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
Someone who runs a call center as a core part of their business should be able to handle 50,000 active calls without much issue. The vast majority would be on hold forever, but that's not a system limitation.
Iím unsure how many call center agents AC has working at any one time, but Iím fairly confident itís <50,000.

Thereís no point to keeping an infinite number of callers on hold, with a finite number of agents to take those calls.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 6:40 pm
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The only time I had to call AC Reservations I got the same message as well. This was before this 737 Max 8 issue and I don't believe there was any travel alert going on that time, so just a random spike.

Gave up, dealt with an agent at the airport instead.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 6:50 pm
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Originally Posted by InTheAirGuy View Post
IT is really, really, really hard for AC, as is customer service. Maybe one day, they will figure it out, and base executive bonuses upon their ability to interact with customers.

Until then, well, you're on your own.
Yeah, I have come to that conclusion. Pretty pathetic. AS is my regular airline and their customer service is stellar. I would even settle for bad from AC. But this is beyond abysmal.

Originally Posted by secretalcoholic View Post
The only time I had to call AC Reservations I got the same message as well. This was before this 737 Max 8 issue and I don't believe there was any travel alert going on that time, so just a random spike.

Gave up, dealt with an agent at the airport instead.
Same here. I went out to the airport this afternoon and dealt with this. When I got home, I canceled all my upcoming AC bookings. It will mean a more expensive flight with a less desirable routing with AS but at least I get excellent service both on the ground and in the air. A failed experiment at switching to AC.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 7:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Admiral Ackbar View Post
Don't understand why the callback function would not work (worked very well during IRROPS a few weeks ago but used the french line which is vastly quicker overall)
Are you suggesting that anglophones use the "francais" option when calling AC?
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Old Mar 12, 19, 7:57 pm
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Originally Posted by Finkface View Post
Yeah, I have come to that conclusion. Pretty pathetic. AS is my regular airline and their customer service is stellar. I would even settle for bad from AC. But this is beyond abysmal.


Same here. I went out to the airport this afternoon and dealt with this. When I got home, I canceled all my upcoming AC bookings. It will mean a more expensive flight with a less desirable routing with AS but at least I get excellent service both on the ground and in the air. A failed experiment at switching to AC.
But AC is a 4 star skytrax airline...and AS is 3 star

Jokes aside, for me I feel like UA has better service than AC, and that's saying a lot given the state of US-based airlines right now.
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