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Air Canada lambasted online for lack of communication over flight cancellations, delays

Last Updated Dec 3, 2019 at 6:34 am MDT

Air Canada is facing a barrage of complaints online from frustrated travellers who say they’ve been unable to contact the airline over a slew of weather-related cancellations and flight schedule changes.

The airline recently migrated to a new reservation system, and Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick said the change has led to some delays, but cited weather as the main factor.

“Like other carriers, we had to cancel flights at the request of the airport due to de-icing requirements (some aircraft are waiting up to an hour or more to get through deicing),” Fitzpatrick told CityNews. “Additionally, there are continuing impacts from the weather in the US North East, where we operate a large number of daily flights.

Numerous delays on Air Canada flights in and out of Pearson airport. David Piedra/CityNews

“In some cases rebooking and issuing new tickets at the airport has been slowed a bit by the implementation of our new reservation system, which is only natural as it is a new process and there is a learning curve for agents,” he added. “The new reservation system is operating overall as expected and our regular check-in processes are working normally.”

A slew of angry Air Canada customers have taken to social media, complaining that the airline has not responded to inquiries about their flight changes.

“This is insane,” one person tweeted. “Been trying to reach you guys via phone and e-mail for 2 days with no luck! Need to cancel a booking with a normal credit because of an emergency situation…. Can’t get a hold of anyone! My birthday was yesterday. Most frustrating experience.”

Air Canada customer Kelly Todd told CityNews the airline texted her on Saturday saying her family’s flight scheduled for the next day was cancelled. But according to Todd, that’s where the communication ended.

“Since then we have received no information from Air Canada,” she said in an email.

“We were on hold yesterday for over two hours before the line was disconnected. We tried to call again today and again – the line was disconnected after two hours. My husband and I drove to Pearson today in the snow just to try and talk to a representative. There is apparently only two representatives (with two computers) in this entire airport. The line up is about 200 people deep …”

Numerous people took to Twitter to express their collective frustration, with many complaining about being put on hold for unreasonable amounts of time. Some claimed they’ve been trying to reach the company for days on end to alter travel arrangements with no response.

“I am trying to reach you over phone, online for last 4 days but no reply …” one angry customer wrote.

“115 minutes later have yet to have anyone answer your phone. Is this a sustainable business model for you?” Susan Shannon tweeted.

Fitzpatrick offered this advice to travellers.

“For now, customers with confirmed bookings are advised to check either our website or the airport website to see if their flight is on-time before going to the airport.”