The newspaper He was supposed to go to Rouyn-Noranda yesterday. Two hours before departure, Air Canada sends a text message in English. “Your flight is cancelled. Reasons: Personnel limitations. Then the obstacle course began to find another flight, a situation that several passengers experienced.
Photo Olivier Bourque
The word “cancelled” was very present yesterday on the Montreal-Trudeau departure board, especially for Air Canada flights.
- Listen to the column of economic journalist Olivier Bourque at the microphone of Yasmine Abdelfadel on QUB radio:
Yesterday, the carrier’s customers who had to go to Moncton, Chicago, St. John’s or Toronto met the same fate. Many used their phones to speak to an Air Canada representative, to no avail.
The lucky ones were already there and were able to contact an agent. The latter confirmed Trunk the situation is very difficult at the moment.
“A lot of people are missing. And it’s not just Air Canada,” she told us.
Therefore, the airline offered passengers to queue again to make a reservation change, but they had to wait a few hours.
Gathered on the spot, Renaud Drouin and Claudia Couturier were going 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, missed our other connections,” the two friends reported.
The other option was to try to speak with an airline representative through white phones located right next to the Air Canada counters.
The phones there didn’t work.
“They were all walking two weeks ago, but too many travelers are angry and they hurt them,” another Air Canada representative said.
At the scene, a lady who was supposed to go to Moncton also had her flight cancelled.
“I don’t know what to do, there is no help anywhere. No one is here to welcome us, let us do the Change of reservation. I try these white phones, but it doesn’t work,” Charlie Boudreau told us.
Another traveler due to go to Boston called the customer service “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 bags. A suitcase was sent to Rome by mistake. It is quite difficult and there is no communication”, explained another traveler waiting for answers.
– With the QMI Agency
It’s also annoying for pilots.
The changed schedules, the canceled flights, the personnel problem… the airlines would like to relaunch their activities as if the pandemic had not existed, but the problems are piling up.
“I hope that in six months it will be over, because I must admit that it also gets on our nerves. It brings more pressure,” admitted an Air Canada pilot who spoke anonymously with the Trunk.
According to him, carriers are struggling to return to pre-pandemic levels and are facing several headwinds.
“Everyone is trying to get back to where we were before the pandemic as quickly as possible,” he explains. But it lacks so many employees that it is impossible. They have the planes and the routes, but not the staff. »
- Listen to Philippe-Vincent Foisy’s comment on QUB radio:
Lack of staff
This glaring labor shortage problem is the most serious obstacle to a lasting recovery in the air transport sector.
“Until the airlines have enough employees, unfortunately this situation will continue,” he explains.
Air Canada admits to experiencing a recovery “with its share of challenges” and facing a series of problems that may affect flights and schedules.
“Personnel issues […] have affected the operations 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 to Trunk.
Air Canada says, however, that recruitment continues and there are now 32,000 employees, “almost as many as in 2019, and we are cautiously securing 80% of our 2019 summer hours.”
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