Holiday travel nightmares… is this the new reality of air travel?
Thank you back on steel and Vance and boy this holiday season has been an utter nightmare what a debacle for so many whether it’s storms or computer systems going down or Staffing shortages it has been unbelievable watching the chaos unfold thankfully from home I would have been murderers I was out someone who was sleeping on an airport.
Floor and missing my trip to Hawaii or whatever it was because you can’t get any answers you can’t get them from the airline you can’t get them you know from the front desk nobody picks up the phone I feel so bad for those people that are on the front line of that with the angry passenger frustrated having slept God knows how long and and missed their.
Christmas and screaming at the person behind the desk and the person behind the desk was like right and how do I get compensated do I get my money back where’s my luggage there’s still a thousands of suitcases all over the place sun wing oh a big offender this holiday season and we want to bring in a guy who’s going to break this down for.
Us Duncan D used to be the Chief Operating Officer for Air Canada and he just wrote a brilliant piece in the Globe and Mail about the travel chaos over the holiday season Duncan D is joining us now uh Duncan let’s start with sun wing oh my goodness that was like a gigantic debacle yeah it was a very gigantic debacle and.
Very very sad for The Travelers who were impacted um you know they just really dropped the ball and hopefully they can get the things back on track although uh you know The Travelers in Saskatchewan seem to have taken the brunt of it they’ve now canceled all of their flights to Regina and Saskatoon until February so.
This is not something that’s going away anytime soon so in Linda referenced your Global Mail piece which I highly recommend for those who are frustrated by all of this and looking at what’s happened here with sun wing versus what happened with Southwest Airlines in the U.S and how those two things have been managed very differently and you.
Reference that in your piece as well lay out the groundwork here because there’s so there’s so much complexity and Nuance to some of the travel disruptions but certainly being told hey uh you know what we’re just not going to fly until February sometimes oops sorry the government should be stepping in here no.
Yeah look I think obviously the government needs to do a much better job of anticipating what happened not just this winter but last summer I mean it’s been an entire year of travel disruptions now so Canadians are unfortunately getting used to this in terms of the contrast the contrast couldn’t have been more Stark you had.
Southwest Airlines one of the largest U.S domestic Airlines have a complete meltdown on the same day as every airline in the continent had a meltdown their meltdown lasted about a week and as we talked about earlier Sun Wings meltdown is lasting until February so you know it’s a really difficult situation and Canada fortunately once.
Again this year sticks out as a really difficult place for air Travelers yeah and Duncan let’s compare the reaction politically you saw you know our Canadian transport Minister going and whoa this is unacceptable well what else what are you gonna do about it the American Transportation Minister was much harder saying Sunway uh you know.
Southwest you’re going to compensate passengers Canada we just kind of got this oh don’t do that again yeah and and that’s really the point of it all um you know our minister of Transport in Canada sees himself seemingly as an observer as a you know somebody on the outside looking in and uh the Secretary of Transport in the U.S.
Pete mudajig you know came out very strongly he was on in shows throughout the U.S networks basically saying he stood with The Travelers he wanted to ensure that Southwest did the right thing and you know ultimately to Southwest credit they did you know they established a web portal for travelers to upload receipts so that they could.
Get compensated for reasonable costs you know and and sun wing left Travelers sleeping on Airport floors and hotel lobbies throughout you know the Caribbean and Mexico so you know this is something which really needs a second look from the minister is he an observer or is he a player in this air transportation game exactly so you’ve.
Been on the inside of the operations as the CEO at Air Canada formerly in that position in what do you see from that inside POV that is happening within the industry in Canada and and should we get used to this here is this going to change anytime soon for us look you know one thing that uh Canadians are very understandable and.
Understandable about is whether they understand that the the weather impacts travel and they know it very very well the part that is so difficult to accept for an airline operator is the recovery you know everybody can can definitely cancel and delay flights during weather disruptions because it’s the safe thing to do and you know Travelers need to.
Remember that the reason why flights are delayed and canceled because of weather is for safety reasons but the recovery is really where the rubber hits the road and you know unfortunately we’ve done such a botched job of this on on so many ways in in Canada you know you take a look at the baggage Mountain the mountains of bags that you showed can’t.
Even at the start of this segment yeah and you know the the thing that viewers need to remember is that these are Christmas presents you know the the bags that are checked in at this time of year are filled with Christmas presents and very valuable mementos for many many Travelers and you know what what happened and why why did it get to that.
Point yes the weather was a huge issue but the baggage belt broke down on the Friday before Christmas at Pearson Airport you know it’s sort of like how could that even be happening um you know on the Friday before Christmas and so we need to really have a very serious look at the infrastructure that we’ve got are we.
Preparing the infrastructure well enough last summer we did not you know last summer Montreal Toronto and Vancouver were the worst airports on the planet for delays could you imagine you know and then this last Christmas we now see Travelers Canadian Travelers sleeping on the floors of airports throughout the Caribbean and Mexico and hotel lobbies.
Because they were let down once again we’ve got to seriously look at what’s going on here Duncan we got to get our act together before she goes on holiday please keep flying next month please Dr D thank you so much for joining us thanks so much Duncan former CEO of Air Canada oh please.
You know what I mean people are frustrated there’s no one to call you have a problem am I going to get a refund where’s my bag it was utter chaos and you can’t just blame the weather for that no not this time no and drawing the parallels last summer and this Christmas holiday season it’s time I want to hear from the federal government on this as.
As a voter as a Canadian as a taxpayer he tweeted Jody he said it’s unacceptable that’s that’s an acceptable exactly I still had on sale events check this out a ballsy art thief gets caught goes in there just steals a really expensive statue but oh The Vancouver Police recognized him and they were waiting for him at home.