The newspaper was supposed to go to Rouyn-Noranda yesterday. Air Canada will send a text message in English two hours before departure. “Your flight has been cancelled. Reason: staff shortages. Then the obstacle course to find another flight began, a situation experienced by several passengers.
The same fate suffered yesterday for the airline’s customers who had to go to Moncton, Chicago, St. John’s or Toronto. Many jumped on their phones to speak to an Air Canada representative, to no avail.
Photo Olivier Bourque
The word “cancelled” (cancelled) was very present on the departures board at Montreal-Trudeau yesterday, especially with regard to Air Canada flights.
The lucky ones were already there and were able to contact an agent. The latter confirmed this protocol the situation is very difficult at the moment.
“A lot of people are missing. And not just at Air Canada,” he told us.
The airline therefore offered passengers to queue again to change the reservation, but they had to wait a few hours.
Met on the spot, Renaud Drouin and Claudia Couturier were to go to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territory to work at a day camp.
“It’s a mess, there are people who have been waiting for two days. We, Air Canada, canceled our Quebec-Montreal flight, we missed our other connections,” the two friends reported.
The other option was to try and speak to an airline representative on white phones located right next to Air Canada counters.
The phones there didn’t work.
“They all ran two weeks ago but too many travelers are angry and have damaged them,” said another Air Canada representative.
On site, a lady who was supposed to go to Moncton also saw that her flight was cancelled.
“I don’t know what to do, there is no help anywhere. Nobody is here to welcome us, allow us to do that transfer. I’m trying these white phones, but it doesn’t work,” Charlie Boudreau told us.
- Hear business journalist Olivier Bourque’s column with Yasmine Abdelfadel on QUB radio:
Another traveler scheduled to travel to Boston described the customer service as “terrible.”
Other passengers described the situation at the airport as chaotic due to long delays at the border and lost luggage.
Screenshot, TVA Nouvelles
“We missed our connecting flight and lost our suitcases. A suitcase was accidentally sent to Rome. It’s quite difficult and there is no communication,” said another traveler waiting for answers.
– With the agency QMI
It’s also annoying for the pilots.
The changed flight schedules, the canceled flights, the staffing problem… the airlines would like to resume their activities as if the pandemic had not happened, but the problems are piling up.
“I hope it will be over in six months because I have to admit it gets on our nerves too. It puts more pressure on it,” admitted an Air Canada pilot who spoke anonymously protocol.
According to him, airlines are struggling to get back to pre-pandemic levels and are facing multiple headwinds.
“Everyone is trying to get back to where we were before the pandemic as soon as possible,” he explains. But there are so many employees missing that it is impossible. They have the planes and the routes, but not the staff. »
This glaring labor shortage problem is the biggest obstacle to a sustained recovery in the aviation sector.
“Unfortunately, until the airlines have enough staff, this situation will continue,” he explains.
Air Canada admits it is experiencing a recovery “with its share of challenges” and faces a domino of issues that may affect flights and schedules.
“Human Resources […] have affected the operation of airports and airlines. Problems also with the baggage handling system at airports are forcing airlines to cancel flights or even deliver baggage with some delay,” the airline wrote protocol.
However, Air Canada says the hiring is continuing and that there are now 32,000 employees, “almost as many as in 2019, and we are cautiously securing 80% of our summer 2019 schedule.”