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Air Canada

Air Canada Strike Looms…Again

Photo by Michael Gil

Canadian travellers breathed a sigh of relief in September when representatives of Air Canada’s flight attendants union tentatively reached a deal with the airline, avoiding a near strike.


Not so fast.

After a 65 percent “nay” vote on Sunday, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) rejected said deal and threatened to strike. Air Canada flight attendants are now threatening to walk off the job when the clock strikes 12:01 am Thursday, a move that could leave up to 65,000 travellers in the lurch. The work stoppage may be short-lived, however, since Labour Minister Lisa Raitt has vowed to impose back-to-work legislation. (more…)

Rough Week for Air Canada: Told to Improve French Services

Photo by Micheal Gil

By Carissa Bluestone

Though Air Canada averted a strike yesterday, coming to a last-minute agreement with the flight attendants union, the airline didn’t fare as well with Canada’s languages watchdog. It received a slap on the wrist this week from Official Languages Commissioner Graham Fraser concerning its treatment of French-speaking passengers.

An audit of the airline’s bilingual services conducted from April 2010 to January 2011 was less than impressive: In airports where bilingual services are required (any airport with more than 1 million passengers annually) only one in four Air Canada agents spoke French. Only half of the agents assigned to designated bilingual flights were indeed bilingual. Additionally, the airline topped the list of complaints received by the commissioner’s office between 2005 and 2009. Air Canada is the only carrier that operates under the Official Languages Act.

The audit also revealed systemic confusion: a lack of clear directives from management and uncertainty among agents about their legal obligations to French-speaking flyers. As a result, recommendations put forth by the commission include the implementation of accountability frameworks and multiyear action plans addressing everything from staffing to airport signage. For Francophone customers this should eventually translate into greater availability of bilingual agents at the gate and in the air.

For more on what constitutes a bilingual flight, read the story at www.cbc.ca

Air Canada Adds Online Booking to Mobile App

Photo by Xraijs_

Canada’s largest airline has released a new version of its iPhone app that allows mobile booking and seat selection. With Air Canada’s mobile app v3.0 you can search for and book flights, select seats, and store information and payment details, allowing for faster and easier repeat bookings.

The app’s interactive shopping feature allows flights to be sorted by price and departure and arrival time and compares fares over a period of three days. As in v2.0 of the app, flight tracking and mobile check-in are available. The app is free at the iTunes App Store and is compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad running iOS 3.0 and higher.

Next moves we’d like to see from the Air Canada mobile app are allowing changes to already booked flights and the extension of the v3.0 services to non-iOS smartphone users.

For more about the app, visit Air Canada and www.msnbc.com.