Reservations: Air Canada still gives travelers headaches

Established more than three weeks ago, Air Canada’s new reservation system continues to give headaches to many travelers, who turn to social networks to express their frustration.
While federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said on Wednesday that he had discussed with the largest airline in the country, he conceded that Ottawa “could not do anything” on this issue.

“We let them know that a number of clients have expressed frustration,” he said to himself, “in the halls of Parliament. Air Canada is very conscious of that. The company has moved to a new system for bookings and is doing its best to remedy the situation. ”

On social networks, discontent travelers continued to complain about waiting hours to cancel a flight or change seats, which the new reservation system apparently did not allow in some cases.

In the meantime, customer service calls were directed directly to a voice message in which Air Canada Service Center Director Jean-Fran├žois Loignon apologized while asking customers who were not traveling in Next 24 hours to view their travel itinerary online.

“We’re sorry we can not put you on hold right now,” it said.

Erroneous travel information

Shortly after the new reservation system was deployed on November 18, Air Canada reported that “in a very limited number of cases” the booking numbers had been duplicated and that some customers had received erroneous travel information. although no personal financial or passport data has been shared.

Without providing a timetable, the airline indicated in an email Wednesday that it was working on correcting the situation as quickly as possible.

“This is a major information technology project that spanned two years and required 700,000 hours of development,” said Air Canada. In a project of such complexity, the problems are inevitable. “According to passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs, these customer service issues are” an example of the federal government’s inability to protect The travellers”.

The Canadian charter for travelers will apply in its entirety beginning Sunday, but Lukacs said he was “toothless” about the problems Air Canada customers have been facing in recent weeks.

In case of delay of more than three hours or cancellation of the flight attributable to the carrier, the injured passengers will be able to claim up to $ 1,000.

Agencies also affected

The wait does not spare the travel agencies, since at CAA-Quebec, which has 14 points of service, the spokesperson Philippe St-Pierre explained, during a telephone interview that the delays were also longer .

“When our representatives end up having the line, we will settle three, four or five files,” he said, adding that this situation does not come upset the normal course of business.

Christophe Serrano, from the Montreal travel agency Super Prix, echoed the same, recalling that the wait on the line, even for those who work in the field, was often very long in these days.

“We get there because we insist,” he said. But I find it incredible that a company like Air Canada did not show more anticipation. We do not do this in the middle of November, before the holidays. ”

Generally, late flight is solicited when travelers return home. But in recent days, the organization that helps injured travelers get compensation is seeing an increase in the volume of calls from Air Canada customers who have not yet left, said the president and CEO of the company, Jacob Charbonneau.

In a telephone interview, he was “very surprised” by what is happening at the largest airline in the country.

“It’s rare for a company of this size to migrate with a breakout,” said Charbonneau. Often, it is done by phase, with parallel systems. At Air Canada, we decided to stop accepting reservations one day to migrate to the new platform and there, there is a package of sores coming out. It was poorly planned. “

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