Is Air Canada "short-staffed" at YUL?

Old Aug 30, 19, 4:00 pm
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Angry Is Air Canada "short-staffed" at YUL?

I was on AC834 yesterday from YYZ, it landed on time at YUL (7pm), then the captain went on the PA to say that there will be "five to ten minutes" before we get to the gate. 15 minutes later - another announcement: "They just told us it will be another 5 minutes". We finally got to our gate at 7:30 pm, 1/2 hr after landing.
This happened to me previously many times at my home airport - only this time I was sitting next to two AC Rouge FAs. Who were very talkative. I wasn't in any way eavesdropping - but it was impossible NOT to hear what they were talking about, for me and people in at least two rows both directions.
From their conversation, I gathered that they were assigned to a flight that was leaving shortly - at some point one of them said "the check-in is in 10 minutes, and we're not even at the gate". They called their helpdesk several times (I memorized the codes they used btw - so great job on protecting sensitive data) and were told to "just go to the gate" - meaning there was no backup for that flight. According to them, the airline was going to delay the flight because of them - and pay a penalty for that. "That just shows how short-staffed they are in Montreal" - finally said one of the FAs.
So, is Air Canada really experiencing shortage of human resources at their main hub? And if yes - that why would that be?
I just checked, and it seems that the company is doing relatively well from financial standpoint, even boasting "a record number of passengers" last year. So it definitely has funds to be invested - in order to improve customer experience, for example, reduce the time of unnecessary delays like the one I was in. Then why is it not doing it?
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Old Aug 30, 19, 4:12 pm
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Indeed, but not just YUL. I've sat on various inbound flights to YYZ for 45 minutes to over an hour with the captain giving updates that there is no gate for us, no crew to handle the gate, no gate agent to meet the aircraft, or someone is parked in our spot.

I think you might find this post interesting in the thread "AC now ranked "one of the worst performers" for OTP"

Perhaps others here can speak to the FA conversation (content and volume).
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Old Aug 30, 19, 4:14 pm
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Possibly, but it is the summer flying season and very late notice, as well as the fact that usually to my knowledge they don't have standby FAs sitting at the airport, just on call when they miss their check in time. At least this was the experience with another airline that someone I dated worked with. That said, my knowledge from this FA I know also leads me to believe that you shouldn't assume that FAs really know that much about ops as they tend not to be told much other than their own anecdotal information.
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Old Aug 30, 19, 5:14 pm
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It's not a shortage of staff, it's a shortage or compensation.
It's the last long weekend of the year, if the employer can't come up with enough compensation for people to work, people won't work.

I waited an hour for baggage at YVR a couple weeks ago.
Lack of manpower. It wasn't a long weekend.
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Old Aug 30, 19, 5:57 pm
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It I rare to find any employee anywhere that doesn't believe they are overworked. I wouldn't put too much weight on those stuck in the weeds whining about .... Anything

That said: yes, they are skeleton crew everywhere.
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Old Aug 30, 19, 7:44 pm
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Not as bad as some other posters in this thread but AC7631 LGA-YUL had to wait 10 to 15 mins for personnel to guide the aircraft to the gate at 8am
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Old Aug 31, 19, 12:49 am
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I work for a pretty decent company... I'm reasonably happy with my salary, have great benefits, lots of vacation time, yadda yadda yadda.

That said, when I'm with colleagues, we're not sitting around talking about how awesome everything is. We complain and %$#@! ...That's what colleagues do.

In this case AC likely had nothing to do with the delay. When was the company going to pull the pin and decide they'd better call in another crew? Would that crew have gotten dressed, commuted to the airport, parked and cleared security before the crew on your aircraft went the last 100 meters to the gate? Or were you envisioning a room full of FAs sitting in the airport on standby in case a crew mis-connected?

Last edited by WaytoomuchEurope; Aug 31, 19 at 8:41 am
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Old Aug 31, 19, 5:26 am
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My son flew into YQM and the aircraft was on the tarmac waiting for a ground crew for about half an hour. This is not a busy airport by any stretch of the imagination. It is not as if there were no gates or remote parking. Just no staff to meet the flight and handle it. This is Air Canada now.
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Old Aug 31, 19, 5:33 am
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Lean management strategy, it's everywhere in corporate Canada, working with less creates more efficiency.

Long wait times on phones, lines in stores etc etc.

I think its because we have a great economy, full employment, super leadership in government, unicorns and rainbows
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Old Aug 31, 19, 5:59 am
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They need to pay more but won't bother. Saw a job listing a few weeks ago for a YYZ concierge. $14/hr...
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Old Aug 31, 19, 7:34 am
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At one of the YYZ ground level D gates one of our pilots got tired of waiting and filled in for the missing to allow us to deplane.
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Old Aug 31, 19, 7:55 am
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Originally Posted by HerpaYvr View Post
Lean management strategy, it's everywhere in corporate Canada, working with less creates more efficiency.

Long wait times on phones, lines in stores etc etc.

I think its because we have a great economy, full employment, super leadership in government, unicorns and rainbows
Low unemployment rates, tighter immigration rules etc. is having an impact in many industries. I know some grocery stores that use to be 24H and automated checkout stands were counter to their service culture. Since they can't fund people, the 24h is gone, the automated checkouts are going in.
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Old Aug 31, 19, 9:05 am
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I'd say the other factor for rouge, is that with the 737 grounding, rouge has been picking up additional domestic routes and has their fleet (and crews) busier than ever picking up additional routes temporarily. The flight attendants get hired directly into rouge, and given that the mainline 737 routes weren't necessarily in the plans, I'd expect they may be running very tight on rouge FA's, as there's some lag time in hiring and training new crew.
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Old Aug 31, 19, 10:26 am
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Yes, AC has an employee shortage at YUL. This reflects the current "full" employment conditions in the Canadian economy. There are labour shortages everywhere, especially in the sectors where skills are required. A quick look at the open AC positions will reveal a gap in the personnel count. One of the (many) reasons for the Air Transat purchase was to gain access to qualified personnel with the hope that merging backroom and support operations will allow a greater efficiency of the combined workforce. As is mentioned up thread, a holiday weekend with most people trying to stretch the 3 days to 4 or 5 days. It's the last chance of a summer holiday, so a lack of available personnel on top of a short staffed locale, doesn't make for a fun time.
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Old Aug 31, 19, 4:08 pm
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.......and yet we still have so many unemployed. I remember in the early 80's in my microeconomics class Keynesian economics was 4% unemployment was considered full employment, but in Canada, because of some of our policy's and social programs we were pegged at 6%. So we are there now, despite the fact we as a nation have a lot of folks not working with skills not fully being utilized. We also have a lot that are underemployed.

I too have seen those AC ads for concierge at $14 an hour. I fell guilty asking for anything when calling in knowing what they make. But with the CEO at $56 Million last year, it must be the way!
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