At 00:01 am on Jun.14.11, 4000 of Air Canada’s staff at call centers and airport customer service agents (check in, and gate agents) started a strike action. Over 1700 of Air Canada’s managers have been trained to fill in for the striking workers. Air Canada advises that they will maintain a full schedule of flights, and all existing bookings will be honoured, and all future bookings will be welcomed.
There are 9 affected airports – the 3 nearest us (Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto), as well as the ones Ottawa folks might travel to most (Vancouver, Halifax, St. Johns, as well as Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg). Air Canada is reporting that check ins at international and US airports will not be impacted, and all regional airlines (including Jazz) will be fully operational.
Before you go to the airport:
1. call your travel agent – here’s where the established relationship is important (but take the opportunity to build a new relationship too) – I am your advocate.
2. limit your checked luggage (carry on luggage if you can – ensure you know the checked baggage rules)
3. check your flight status online (should be available up to 3 days in advance)
4. check in online, and/or use your mobile blackberry and iphone apps (available up to 24 hrs in advance)
And – at the airport, please:
5. go EARLY ( the lines will be longer than usual)
6. use the self-service kiosks (there are >500 at the affected airports)
7. use available computers at some check in spots to self-check in
8. if you have to pay for luggage, etc., ensure you have your credit card (cash and debit not accepted)
9. use self-rebooking tools if you can (you or your travel agent can rebook in the event of cancellation. AC is advising about waiving of normal change fees.)
Air Canada wants to get everyone to their destination safely, obviously. Fingers crossed the strike action is resolved quickly and to the mutual benefit of AC management and the Canadian Auto Workers union representing the striking workers.
For clients, please establish/ strengthen your relationship with your travel agent. We’re here to help!
Frequently asked questions at AC: http://www.aircanada.com/en/news/trav_adv/labour_updates_faq.html#13–