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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

TripAdvisor Ditches “Reviews You Can Trust” Slogan

Photo by chrisinplymouth

Travel giant TripAdvisor has removed the well-known “reviews you can trust” tagline from its website, following an investigation by the independent UK advertising regulatory firm, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA). The investigation was prompted by allegations by online brand watchdog KwikChex that up to 10 million hotel and restaurant reviews on the site were fake. Hotel and restaurant owners approached KwikChex amid a brouhaha worldwide claiming defamatory and paid positive reviews appear on the website. KwikChex has also lodged a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The UK’s Daily Mail reported that the slogan was replaced with “reviews from your community”, but our visit today to TripAdvisor’s US and UK sites, www.tripadvisor.com and www.tripadvisor.co.uk, found no slogan at all. On the other hand, slogans on TripAdvisor.ca and TripAdvisor.au read, respectively, “World’s most trusted travel advice” and “Get the truth. Then go.” TripAdvisor claims that changes to its slogans are unrelated to the investigation and are rather part of ongoing evolution at the company.

For more, go to www.telegraph.co.uk and www.dailymail.co.uk.