Canada: Passengers swamp Air Canada with calls - PressFrom - Canada

CanadaPassengers swamp Air Canada with calls

19:26  14 march  2019
19:26  14 march  2019 Source:

Air Canada pilot orders 23 pizzas to Halifax-bound plane stranded on tarmac

Air Canada pilot orders 23 pizzas to Halifax-bound plane stranded on tarmac Passengers on a delayed Air Canada flight are praising their captain to the skies after he went out of his way to keep them informed - and even ordered pizza directly to their plane stuck on the tarmac. Air Canada Flight 608 left Toronto on Monday afternoon bound for Halifax. It circled the Halifax airport Monday evening but was unable to land due to poor weather. The airport temporarily shut down its runways after another plane slid while taxiing and couldn't make it to the gate.

MONTREAL - Canada's largest airline was overwhelmed with calls as travellers scrambled to rebook flights after Ottawa joined dozens of countries in grounding the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft Wednesday.

Calls to Air Canada's customer service line yesterday and today prompted a recording that said call volume has temporarily exceeded the company's capacity to answer or even place callers on hold.

The message cites "unforeseen circumstances," and directs callers to Air Canada's website.

Kimberly Yetman Dawson, visiting family in Ontario, says she booked a second return flight to Halifax this Saturday at double the cost due to confusion over whether her original trip — scheduled initially on a Max 8 — would go ahead.

Canadians swamp airlines with aircraft concerns

Canadians swamp airlines with aircraft concerns MONTREAL - Canada's major airlines are being inundated on social media with questions about the safety of their fleet in the wake of the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday. The accident, which killed all 157 aboard the Boeing 737 Max 8 — including 18 Canadians — raised concerns over parallels to a Lion Air crash of the same model of aircraft in Indonesia last October, killing 189 people. Angie Hung, scheduled for a WestJet flight June 5 from Calgary to Halifax en route to Scotland for a Spice Girls concert, was one of scores of Canadians asking airlines if they planned to ground the Max 8, the plane listed on her flight.

"I'm hoping that I'll be compensated or I'll be credited," she said. "It's a schlimazel. It’s up in the air."

Air Canada says it will waive cancellation charges and rebooking fees for Max 8 flights within three weeks of the original travel date.

The Montreal-based company has 24 Max 8s that carry between 9,000 and 12,000 passengers daily. The commuter jets fly popular routes including Vancouver-Calgary and Montreal-Los Angeles as well as to Mexico, the Caribbean and Hawaii, causing headaches for thousands of March break vacationers and travel agents.

Maninder Singh, the owner of InterSky travel agency in Montreal, says the Max 8 ban will cost him cash as he refunds passengers whose flights have been cancelled.

"Obviously we lose our markup," he said. "We have to call every single [Max 8] customer and check for alternate dates."

Air Canada cancels U.K. flights after 737 ban

Air Canada cancels U.K. flights after 737 ban HALIFAX - At least two Atlantic Canada flights to England aboard Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft were cancelled Tuesday amid the continuing fallout from Sunday's Ethiopian Airlines crash. 

Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the decision to ground the planes was a precautionary move made after a review of the available evidence in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines disaster Sunday that killed all 157 people on board, including 18 Canadians.

WestJet, which has 13 Max 8s that fly to sun destinations in Florida and elsewhere, said 11 domestic flights were cancelled Thursday, impacting 1,400 passengers.

Passengers swamp Air Canada with calls © Provided by An Air Canada Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft is shown next to a gate at Trudeau Airport in Montreal, Wednesday, March 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

The airline said more than three-quarters of those travellers would be rebooked on flights today, with the remainder departing Friday or Saturday.

The Calgary-based company has a no-fee cancellation policy for flights related to the Max 8, though rebooked flights may cost more.

Thousands of Canadian passengers delayed or stranded after Boeing 737-Max planes grounded

Thousands of Canadian passengers delayed or stranded after Boeing 737-Max planes grounded Aaron Oram, his wife, sister, a niece and a nephew had just landed from Florida when the news arrived on his phone. Their connecting flight from Toronto to St. John’s, N.L. — said the Air Canada text —  had been cancelled, a  casualty of the federal government’s decision to ground the nation’s Boeing 737-Max planes. Things got worse. After queuing for two hours, Oram’s family was finally scheduled on a new flight — one that wouldn’t leave until the same time Thursday. And the hotel rooms they had to book in the meantime would be at their expense, not Air Canada’s. “I’m 100 per cent for safety.

Andrea Carr-McNeill, director of marketing with The Travel Store in Charlottetown, said the travel agency has been inundated with customer calls over the past 24 hours.

"We've got six offices in the Maritimes and we've stopped counting; there's been that many," she said.

"Patience is a virtue that every one of us needs to have right now."

Mary Jane Hiebert, who chairs the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies, said the virtual blanket ban on the more than 375 Max 8s in service across the world will snarl up the global flight grid.

"There are connecting flights, there are alliance partners. So you take an Air Canada plane to a certain destination, you get on a Max 8 with United Airlines or another carrier — except you can't now."

Pilots, flight attendants and mechanics are trained to work on specific types of aircraft, which could make staffing and maintaining the replacement jetliners more difficult, Hiebert said.

-With files from Alison Auld in HalifaxCompanies in this story: (TSX:AC, TSX:WJA)

Norway airlifting 1,300 passengers off SOS cruise ship.
Emergency services said on Saturday they had begun airlifting 1,300 passengers from a cruise ship in trouble off the Norwegian coast. The cruise ship had been en route from Tromso to Stavanger. "It is dangerous to encounter engine problems in these waters which hide numerous reefs," Franck added. Coastguard and sea rescue boats had also been sent to the area and a reception centre set up on shore to accommodate the evacuees. Another vessel had been despatched to try to tow the Viking Sky into port, possibly removing the need for the airlift. "The boat is stable.

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