The cancellation of hundreds of flights at Canada’s major airports is testing the patience of vacationers reconsidering their travel plans.
Posted yesterday at 7:00am
Stéphane Prud’homme was returning from a conference in New York when his Air Canada flight to Montreal, scheduled three hours later, was cancelled. “I received a text message saying the flight was cancelled. Nothing else, no information! he exclaims.
The traveler tried unsuccessfully to get more details. “I called Air Canada’s phone number. It took three hours, no answer. My colleague waited two hours and it hung up on its own. We stay in nothing. I’m an Air Canada fan, but I’m really disappointed here. »
The country’s largest airline announced Wednesday night that it would cut more than 15% of its flights in July and August as the country’s air network was swamped by an overwhelming surge in travel. More than 9,500 flights, mostly domestic or between Canada and the United States, will be cancelled.
If they cancel early and I’m home, I understand that they have problems. But canceling me two hours in advance when I’m in another country is a problem.
With no answer, the businessman had to quickly find a solution to return to Montreal. “I’ve been trying to find a train, bus and rental car to go back to Montreal – all full. And all the hotels in New York are full, so I slept at the airport,” he says.
Eventually, he booked a flight to Montreal with a stopover in Detroit with Delta. “I was lucky enough to get a flight on Thursday. My colleague doesn’t have a flight for two days,” he said.
Mr. Prud’homme finally arrived in Montreal on Thursday evening. “Of course I will file a complaint about the way they treated us. I want my money back,” he said. He’s not the only one. Consumer advocates on Thursday demanded compensation from Air Canada for hundreds of thousands of passengers whose summer flights were canceled.
Iconcern among travelers
Hélène Plumard and her family, who have a scheduled Air Canada flight to Paris in less than two weeks, are closely monitoring the situation. “Of course they say international travel is not affected at the moment, but I hear stories of endless waits and delays before flights,” she worries.
Several of his colleagues waited up to four hours to go through security and their flights were delayed. “Spending seven hours at the airport with two small children is unimaginable,” says the woman, who has not seen her relatives in France since March 2018.
The departure time of his flight has already been changed twice by the airline. “Why did you offer so many flights? Why not plan better? asks m.me Plum.
Inadequate baggage handling
At Montréal-Trudeau Airport, flight cancellations add to the chaos in baggage management. As of Thursday evening, there is still a pile of suitcases and bags on the airport floor. “We knew there were problems with the luggage, so we decided to only take hand luggage with us. Luggage is everywhere, everywhere, everywhere,” says Evelyne Nagot, who is picked up at the exit.
Chantale Marcoux and Claude Craighero opted for the same strategy. “We have hand luggage, we don’t take any risks. We roll up our clothes and we do the laundry,” says Mme Marcoux.
Bernadette Montpoint, who traveled from Geneva, Switzerland, was happy that she had no problems. “It went well, I got my luggage pretty quickly but there is a lot of luggage on the floor. It’s scattered here and there. I was really lucky. »