Tag: air canada

Sask. ‘working on options’ to address fallout of airline disruptions

NDP Leader Carla Beck demanded on Friday Premier Scott Moe address what she has called an “air travel fiasco.”

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Saskatchewan Trade Minister Jeremy Harrison says the provincial government has spoken with Ottawa to address airline disruptions after the Opposition NDP, travellers and business groups continue to press for a resolution.

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Harrison said in an interview on Friday the province is also “working on options” with airport authorities, though was unable to say when travellers can expect better flying schedules.

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He said airlines are federally regulated, making it challenging for the provincial

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Transport minister, airlines and airport managers to testify about holiday travel mess

From long hours waiting on hold to sleepless nights on airport floors and desperate scrambles to rebook flights and find missing bags, it was a holiday travel season that no one had on their wish list — but that thousands of people got.

Now, Canadians have a chance to hear top travel executives and the federal transport minister explain what went wrong, and what might be done to avoid a repeat.

Leaders from the country’s major airports and airlines are among witnesses set to appear today during an emergency meeting of the House of Commons transportation committee being convened well ahead of Parliament’s return later this month.

The meeting is expected to kick off with a panel of representatives from Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing Airlines.

Sunwing, a vacation-destination airline, has apologized for leaving hundreds stranded in Mexico after cancelling its flights due to a winter storm that swept across parts of Canada in the lead-up to Christmas Day, and then axing trips out of Saskatchewan until early February due to “extenuating circumstances.”

But it’s not Mother Nature MPs are taking issue with. Rather, it’s the communication — or lack thereof — that companies had with passengers whose plans were upended.

And while Sunwing Airlines president Len Corrado is scheduled to appear, neither Air Canada nor WestJet will be represented by a president or CEO, with the airlines instead sending vice-presidents to testify.

“Canadian travellers who were mistreated by airlines deserve an explanation. The very least that these rich CEOs can do is show up, explain what went wrong and show Canadians how they’re going to do better,” NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said in a statement to The Canadian Press.

Bloc Québécois transportation critic Julie Vignola echoed that sentiment,

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Airlines, airports, transport minister to testify on holiday travel mess at committee

From long hours waiting on hold to sleepless nights on airport floors and desperate scrambles to rebook flights and find missing bags, it was a holiday travel season that no one had on their wish list — but that thousands of people got.

Now, Canadians have a chance to hear top travel executives and the federal transport minister explain what went wrong, and what might be done to avoid a repeat.

Leaders from the country’s major airports and airlines are among witnesses set to appear today during an emergency meeting of the House of Commons transportation committee being convened well ahead of Parliament’s return later this month.

The meeting is expected to kick off with a panel of representatives from Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing Airlines.

Sunwing, a vacation-destination airline, has apologized for leaving hundreds stranded in Mexico after cancelling its flights due to a winter storm that swept across parts of Canada in the lead-up to Christmas Day, and then axing trips out of Saskatchewan until early February due to “extenuating circumstances.”

But it’s not Mother Nature MPs are taking issue with. Rather, it’s the communication — or lack thereof — that companies had with passengers whose plans were upended.

And while Sunwing Airlines president Len Corrado is scheduled to appear, neither Air Canada nor WestJet will be represented by a president or CEO, with the airlines instead sending vice-presidents to testify.

“Canadian travellers who were mistreated by airlines deserve an explanation. The very least that these rich CEOs can do is show up, explain what went wrong and show Canadians how they’re going to do better,” NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said in a statement to The Canadian Press.

Bloc Québécois transportation critic Julie Vignola echoed that sentiment, saying in a French statement that their absences demonstrate their limited

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Opinion: Canadian air travel hits another new low thanks to Sunwing mess

John Cairns’ News Watch – The outrageous Sunwing airline meltdown is the talk of Saskatchewan.

REGINA – Because the audience finds it so entertaining when they catch me in a bad mood, today I am going to talk about air travel in Canada.

The reason I am in a foul mood is because, you guessed it, I am coming off my latest annual ordeal of having to fly to and from Kelowna during the Christmas holidays to visit my family. 

Every year at this same time, it is a gong show. Weather delays. Missed connections. Last year, it was long security lines. And I should add it costs a fortune for the flights, as airlines take full advantage of travellers hoping to visit their families during the holidays. 

This Christmas, I flew to British Columbia at the same time that flights out of Vancouver were grounded due to bad winter weather. Fortunately, Kelowna wasn’t so hard hit and I was able to make it — only an hour delay at the airport for me.

Other Canadians were far less lucky, with cancelled flights and general mayhem. Airports across Canada became yet another massive paid political advertisement for Pierre Poilievre. “Canada is broken,” all right. 

What’s remarkable is that the nation’s media were harping on Poilievre for his “Canada is broken” line, when they should have been roasting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the optics of taking a vacation in, of all places, Jamaica. Meanwhile, Canadians were getting stranded in Mexico, Cuba, and other international places — not to mention those still at home who found out their own upcoming winter vacation plans were getting ruined.

It’s already been a year of travel messes. This summer, it had to do with continued nonsensical COVID-19 mandates and the associated hassles with

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What’s behind the recent travel chaos, flight cancellations, lost luggage and dashed vacation getaways?

A worker drives pass an Air Canada aircraft parked at a gate at Vancouver International Airport after operations returned to normal after last week’s snowstorm, in Richmond, B.C., on Dec. 26, 2022.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

This holiday travel season will be remembered for cancelled flights, lost bags and stranded or abandoned passengers, people whose winter getaways were dashed by storms and the responses of the airlines they entrusted with their plans.

Canada’s aviation industry and flyers had hoped the December break would mark a recovery from nearly three years of the pandemic, and the summer of 2022, which featured airport chaos amid staff shortages.

Instead, the turmoil resurfaced with scores of cancelled flights condensed in the busiest travel days of the year. Sunwing Airlines’ collapse was the worst, with customers stranded for days in Mexico and other destinations complaining of poor communications from the carrier. WestJet Airlines, Air Canada and others cancelled flights as the storms grounded planes and halted crew transfers.

So why, in a country in which winter happens every year, were airlines and airports unable to operate as usual? And how did the airlines, which make much of their revenue selling tickets to people eager to escape cold weather, find themselves unable to operate?

The problems began with winter storms just before Christmas, in Western Canada and then in parts of Ontario and Quebec. But the safety problems were compounded by the fact that the airlines had few spare resources on which to rely. Their planes were largely full, and almost all were in use, making it hard to rebook passengers. And then there were the thinly stretched workforces, with many workers inexperienced, recent hires. The storms made it harder to move planes and crews where they were needed.

“They had so much demand [and]

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Family waits for compensation for 2 separate air travel headaches

Air travel has not been kind to one Ottawa woman who is struggling to get financial compensation for cancelled flights that happened not once, but twice in the past year.

“I can’t trust the airlines anymore,” said Tala Hamdan.

Hundreds of air passengers were stranded over the holiday season after airlines cancelled or delayed flights, largely due to a major storm that hit much of Canada around Christmas.

These new complaints add to the backlog of people seeking compensation for similar experiences, with the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) saying it has 33,000 complaints on its hands as of Jan. 4. 

Hamdan’s first complaint centres around when she and her brother were returning from a trip to Belgium in June 2022. Due to a delay, the two missed their connecting flight between Montreal and Ottawa.

They were told by Air Canada they could catch a flight the next morning but a bus may be faster, which they did six hours later out of pocket.

After trying to contact Air Canada several times, and speaking to a representative over the phone, she says all she has are unanswered emails to the company’s claims department.

“They gave me a discount code, which thank you, but I want my money back, right? Like I was out a flight, and I was out money for the bus tickets,” she said.

Sunwing flight delays

While she thought that was the end of her 2022 air travel ordeals, the holiday storm arrived to add another chapter.

A “nightmare” for her family began on Dec. 26, according to her father Mohammad Hamdan. 

Tala and Mohammad Hamdan pictured in a video interview on Jan. 9, 2023.
‘We were left in the dark. We were left in the cold,’ says Mohammad, left, pictured here with his daughter Tala. (CBC)

After their Sunwing flight home from Mexico was delayed several times, they arrived at

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Luggage piles join long airport lines in fresh woes for summer travel

Piles of luggage beside baggage belts in airports from Canada to Europe are driving further demand for ground handlers, and adding to summer travel chaos as airlines scramble to bring back workers lost during COVID-19.

Once a cost-cutting and outsourcing target for aviation, ground handlers are now being offered raises, as frazzled passengers take to social media to complain about missing baggage.

The hiring can’t come fast enough as a rebound in travel and badly-needed airline revenue this summer is being weighed by congestion, rising costs and labor strife, after a two-year pandemic vacuum.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), which represents ground handlers, including baggage and cargo handlers, for Air Canada among other carriers, said some Canadian workers are being offered raises and double pay to work beyond eight-hour shifts, a union official said.

“It’s created a bit of a bidding war,” said Dave Flowers, an IAMAW national president in Canada specializing in air transportation.

Flowers said there is no one explanation for the lost baggage, which is rather the result of staff shortages and flight delays that have created a “spiral effect,” resulting in cases of passengers waiting up to seven days to get their bags back.

It’s not clear when such problems would be resolved.

While Dublin airport has cut security delays at departure gates, some arriving passengers are complaining of lost bags and posting pictures online of piled-up luggage.

An Irish Independent journalist who posted a photo of luggage on Twitter, said some bags strewn on the ground had travel dates from weeks and months ago.

A spokesman for the Dublin Airport Authority said on Monday the problem was symptomatic of staff shortages running through the industry.

Fabio Gamba, director of the Airport Services Association, a trade group for the independent ground

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