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June 23: "Air Canada Comments on Aviation Industry Summit with Federal Minister"

June 23: "Air Canada Comments on Aviation Industry Summit with Federal Minister"

Old Jun 23, 22, 1:32 pm
  #1  
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June 23: "Air Canada Comments on Aviation Industry Summit with Federal Minister"

Just out:

https://media.aircanada.com/2022-06-...sport-Minister

Lots of digest here. Will it accomplish anything?Customer Initiatives:
  • New Self-Service Re-accommodation tools will allow customers who have schedule changes, delays, or cancellations to request a refund if eligible or rebook their itineraries in a few minutes through its mobile app or website. This includes getting up to 20 alternative flight options (based on availability), choosing to fly to nearby airports instead, and the ability to search for flights in a three-day window. It will be available for customers regardless of how and where they booked their tickets;
  • A goodwill policy has been implemented for passengers traveling via Toronto-Pearson to allow them to voluntarily increase their connection time at no cost for more flexibility when travelling. This policy can be applied within 48 hours of the original travel time;
  • A second new policy will allow customers free, same-day stand-by options for earlier flights within Canada/Transborder regardless of fare brand or booking class;
  • The airline maintains an updated travel readiness page on aircanada.com with the latest information and advice for those preparing to travel, including information about COVID-19 requirements. Customers are advised to consult this page before travelling.
In Airports:
  • In addition to the recall of virtually all available employees, more than 2,000 front-line airport employees (and 774 more people to work in call centres) have been hired and extensively trained over the last six months, with additional overtime and ongoing hiring, including drawing upon recently retired employees with special expertise;
  • Employees have been reassigned from other bases to augment specific airports, including the cross-utilization of cargo employees to assist with airport passenger operations;
  • The airline has redeployed aircraft from its Jetz charter fleet to move delayed baggage, which has increased in large part due to air transport processing and infrastructure issues outside its control;
  • The airline is working closely with airport authorities, government and third-party agencies to enhance and expedite the processing of customers throughout their journey;
  • Additional ground equipment has been acquired to improve airport operations.
Network/Schedule:
  • Minimum Connection Times for flights from international and transborder destinations connecting to domestic destinations have been increased by 30 minutes for new bookings in Toronto and Montreal, giving customers (and their baggage) additional time to connect;
  • The schedule has been refined to reduce peak times at the Toronto-Pearson and Montreal-Trudeau airports by retiming and cancelling certain flights, or reducing frequencies, where protection is available to customers the same day. This will conserve resources and reduce stress on third-party service providers by smoothing passenger flows and be more convenient for customers;
  • Aircraft gating at airports has been reconfigured. For example, widebody aircraft in Montreal travelling internationally and to the U.S. are being more conveniently located to achieve efficiencies during peak hours for added operational flexibility.
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Old Jun 23, 22, 2:43 pm
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Originally Posted by InTheAirGuy View Post
A second new policy will allow customers free, same-day stand-by options for earlier flights within Canada/Transborder regardless of fare brand or booking class;
Nice. Does this apply to connecting flights only or to all flights?
Originally Posted by InTheAirGuy View Post
Minimum Connection Times for flights from international and transborder destinations connecting to domestic destinations have been increased by 30 minutes for new bookings in Toronto and Montreal, giving customers (and their baggage) additional time to connect;
Ugh.
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Old Jun 23, 22, 3:03 pm
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Well at least they are working on solutions.
The simplest one would be to install a bank of phones that connect to the call centre in priority for rebooking in case of IRROPs. Nothing like the poor optics of 200+ people standing in line to talk to 2 AC agents. Its not even an original idea, United and others have it at their hubs.
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Old Jun 23, 22, 3:11 pm
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Originally Posted by vernonc View Post
Well at least they are working on solutions.
The simplest one would be to install a bank of phones that connect to the call centre in priority for rebooking in case of IRROPs. Nothing like the poor optics of 200+ people standing in line to talk to 2 AC agents. Its not even an original idea, United and others have it at their hubs.
The problem with that is they actually need a Contact Centre that can answer calls.
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Old Jun 23, 22, 3:33 pm
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Originally Posted by The Lev View Post
Nice. Does this apply to connecting flights only or to all flights?
I would also want to know what their plan is to increase capacity. If you look at same day availability on YYZ-YYC these days, it is often some small number of seats (less than 10) available during the entire day. So practically, the ability to standby for an earlier flight is non-existent. No matter what fare you have.

Edited to add: yes, I understand that increasing capacity will only further compound the manifold issues the main airports are currently facing. But I would guess that part of the reason that there are 200 people waiting for 2 agents is because what would be an obvious fix 3 years ago is now not obvious or possible because there are just no seats available and no easy alternatives on major domestic routes if somebody is delayed or misses their flight or whatever. It is a bad place to be for AC, and it isn't all their fault, but some of it surely is.

Last edited by ridefar; Jun 23, 22 at 3:40 pm
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Old Jun 23, 22, 4:15 pm
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With all these airport nightmare stories (not just in Canada, but also the US, UK, and across Europe), I've been looking for a good explanation for what exactly the causes are. To that end, I appreciated this breakdown in the AC press release (bolding mine):

Air Canada has been prudently restoring its schedule as it recovers from the effects of COVID-19 and this summer it plans to operate below its pre-pandemic capacity as the industry stabilizes. In support of this, the carrier has recalled employees laid off during the pandemic and continues to hire additional workers. It currently has 32,000 employees, versus approximately 33,000 prior to the pandemic while operating approximately 80 per cent of its June 2019 schedule.
So AC is at 97% of 2019 staffing levels while operating 80% of its 2019 schedule. I would love to see a similar figure for the airport staff vs. traffic comparison, because this only deepens the mystery for me. Whenever I've looked into why airports are such a mess, I've come across hand-wavy articles citing staff shortages as the main reason. But exactly how short are we at this point?
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Old Jun 23, 22, 4:28 pm
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Originally Posted by InTheAirGuy View Post
  • New Self-Service Re-accommodation tools will allow customers who have schedule changes, delays, or cancellations to request a refund if eligible or rebook their itineraries in a few minutes through its mobile app or website. This includes getting up to 20 alternative flight options (based on availability), choosing to fly to nearby airports instead, and the ability to search for flights in a three-day window. It will be available for customers regardless of how and where they booked their tickets;
I hope they role this out ASAP because it's not there yet. I am tired of having to call-in to fix idiotic schedule changes.
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Old Jun 23, 22, 4:36 pm
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Hopefully this app will allow passengers to rebook on any airline even on an Aeroplan ticket is it would get them there sooner.

If AC does not have the technology for this it could link to an outside site like Concur where the passenger enters a special code, pick the flights they want in their original cabin and then the bill goes directly to the airline.

That would be win-win for both sides as it takes pressure off CS staff.
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Old Jun 23, 22, 4:45 pm
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  • A goodwill policy has been implemented for passengers traveling via Toronto-Pearson to allow them to voluntarily increase their connection time at no cost for more flexibility when travelling. This policy can be applied within 48 hours of the original travel time;
Funny that AC calls it a “goodwill” policy. The language is interesting.

AC can’t ensure passengers making their connecting flight even if it’s above the published MCT. Hinting that passengers need to take a longer connection is sugar coated as “voluntarily”, “flexibility”, “at no cost”…
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Old Jun 23, 22, 5:17 pm
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Originally Posted by capedreamer View Post
So AC is at 97% of 2019 staffing levels while operating 80% of its 2019 schedule.
That may be headcount, not weekly hours or FTE or some useful metric. And they lean towards the inexperienced, if we make what is a safe bet of a lot of early retirements.

Who are facing their own tumultuous scheduling issues, while trying to address everyone else with the same.

​​​​​​​
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Old Jun 23, 22, 5:30 pm
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Originally Posted by RangerNS View Post
That may be headcount, not weekly hours or FTE or some useful metric. And they lean towards the inexperienced, if we make what is a safe bet of a lot of early retirements.
I think this is probably a key—lots of old and competent employees being replaced by new and not-yet-competent ones.
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Old Jun 23, 22, 5:52 pm
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Originally Posted by capedreamer View Post
So AC is at 97% of 2019 staffing levels while operating 80% of its 2019 schedule. I would love to see a similar figure for the airport staff vs. traffic comparison, because this only deepens the mystery for me. Whenever I've looked into why airports are such a mess, I've come across hand-wavy articles citing staff shortages as the main reason. But exactly how short are we at this point?
I think this came up in another thread, but here's an example.

A plane arrives in YYZ from FRA. A gate agent meets it. They unload passengers in 30 minutes, and then the GA goes to the podium to assist others before boarding.

A plane arrives in YYZ from FRA. A GA meets it. Due to metering, it takes 2 hours to unload all passengers. The next flight is delayed because of this metering, and so a lot more passengers need help rebooking their missed connections. But the GA is busy who would normally help deal with the 10 pax with issues, and now there are 100 pax with issues.

I'm definitely not saying AC has no blame here, but it's not hard to see how a 2 hour unloading delay (and I've been on one of those) could completely overwhelm customer service. Well, maybe not one of those, but if there are ten 2 hour unloading delays all at the same time, we now have 1000 pax with issues.
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Old Jun 23, 22, 6:00 pm
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Originally Posted by InTheAirGuy View Post
  • The airline has redeployed aircraft from its Jetz charter fleet to move delayed baggage, which has increased in large part due to air transport processing and infrastructure issues outside its control
So the main takeaway, then, is that our Jerz charter flight is too busy flying bags around all day?

Last edited by expert7700; Jun 23, 22 at 7:03 pm
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Old Jun 23, 22, 6:32 pm
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Originally Posted by expert7700 View Post
So the main takeaway, then, is that our Jazz charter flight is too busy flying bags around all day?
Jazz is not Jetz. Jetz is their all J charter airline. Which, I think used to rely prettily heavily on NHL teams to be profitable. So maybe in the NHL off season (it mostly is except for 2 teams) they have planes just sitting around.
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Old Jun 23, 22, 6:36 pm
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Originally Posted by capedreamer View Post
So AC is at 97% of 2019 staffing levels while operating 80% of its 2019 schedule. I would love to see a similar figure for the airport staff vs. traffic comparison, because this only deepens the mystery for me. Whenever I've looked into why airports are such a mess, I've come across hand-wavy articles citing staff shortages as the main reason. But exactly how short are we at this point?
I’d bet they are running with a higher than average sick rate, in addition to inexperienced staff etc.
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