Air Canada's COVID-19 actions


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Interesting take on pass travel Upperdeck, coming from a Lawyer.  Is there a Profession / Business that has more of a hierarchy than a Law Firm, however in the socialized world of the Big Airline - we are all equals.  

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55 minutes ago, Johnny said:

 however in the socialized world of the Big Airline - we are all equals.  

Except of course if you are working for an airline where shifts etc. are mostly bid by seniority, along with vacation slots, pay scale etc.  Or has that changed? 😀

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And one you realize that there are thousands of other employees outside of the pilot ranks that get the very same perk.

if you are a 25 year pilot you still get to compete with a 25 year CSA for that coveted last seat.

I have greatly enjoyed pass travel over the years.  A little planning and flexibility goes a long way towards a great trip.  Over the last several years it has become more difficult because ACs yield management has been excellent (not for pass travel) very few empty seats to be had on the popular flights.  All ya gotta do is reroute on unpopular flights.

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6 hours ago, Dave Buggie said:

Thanks for the kind words and the cooking lessons in Templepatrick many years  ago.

Thanks for being brave enough to eat my cooking! I only wish my golf game could have held a candle to my cooking skill. Some day I’ll tell you how my shoulder turned out after that summer! Maybe it helps explain that duck hook. 🤷🏼‍♂️

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Johnny...

 I am aware of " bestowed privileges".... sort of " super priority" afforded to certain lawyers but alas, alack...I am not of that privileged group.

Regarding employee pass travel, I am one of those that think that all employee cons should board front to back based upon seniority.

Just thinking about the concern regarding use of travel passes. I know in speaking to employees of other airlines they consider " up front" to be a privilege long gone so I think AC beneficiaries to be fortunate.

 

That said, my introduction to pass travel was at Canadian where, as I recall, retiree cons boarded after all active employees. It was somewhat of a shock to learn that at AC, a retiree travelled on service years so absent " special priority" such as  C1 Thank You pass or a Holiday pass ( earned), retirees travel ( in "Y") before most active employees.

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Many of the "perks" of pass travel were eliminated or removed due to abuse or "cheating the system"

For example I used to be able to book a C2 and wait until the last minute to check the load and if it looked bad I could swap in  a C1 to guarantee my seat essentially passing everyone else. This became a very regular occurrence and made planning a trip on tight flights near impossible.  Now we must book a C1 at least 24 hours ahead of time (if you are lucky enough to still have C1s).

Buddy passes used to be a give away where the employee didnt need to travel with the passenger.  Nice perk until people started selling them online and people EXPLODED when they got bumped.  

Upgrades were taken away because upgrades were not being given by seniority but by who you knew. this rightfully drew complaints so that went away.

Thank the idiots for what we have today.  it was much better 30 years ago.

 

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1 hour ago, boestar said:

Many of the "perks" of pass travel were eliminated or removed due to abuse or "cheating the system"

For example I used to be able to book a C2 and wait until the last minute to check the load and if it looked bad I could swap in  a C1 to guarantee my seat essentially passing everyone else. This became a very regular occurrence and made planning a trip on tight flights near impossible.  Now we must book a C1 at least 24 hours ahead of time (if you are lucky enough to still have C1s).

If only...The B1/C1 24 hr rule was removed years ago.

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15 hours ago, UpperDeck said:

Johnny...

 I am aware of " bestowed privileges".... sort of " super priority" afforded to certain lawyers but alas, alack...I am not of that privileged group.

Regarding employee pass travel, I am one of those that think that all employee cons should board front to back based upon seniority.

Just thinking about the concern regarding use of travel passes. I know in speaking to employees of other airlines they consider " up front" to be a privilege long gone so I think AC beneficiaries to be fortunate.

 

That said, my introduction to pass travel was at Canadian where, as I recall, retiree cons boarded after all active employees. It was somewhat of a shock to learn that at AC, a retiree travelled on service years so absent " special priority" such as  C1 Thank You pass or a Holiday pass ( earned), retirees travel ( in "Y") before most active employees.

Retired cons boarded based on their seniority at CP, just the same as active employees. No special category for retirees, except for those who were director level and above who had a higher priority. 

  

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The thing to remember is that when you retire, you lose the super seniority.

So like everyone else, when you want to use the benefit you worked all those years for, you will be forced into buying a ticket.

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24 minutes ago, deicer said:

The thing to remember is that when you retire, you lose the super seniority.

So like everyone else, when you want to use the benefit you worked all those years for, you will be forced into buying a ticket.

Never had any super seniority just 35 years of service.  No one forces me to buy a ticked but standby pass travel does not work when trying to connect with a ship etc. so 99% of the time I buy revenue tickets.  On occasion, if when I get to my destination is not critical, I will use a pass (but only when travelling alone as my wife is sight impaired).  When it is the 2 of us, I always purchase a ticket and I do appreciate the friend and family discount when on AC but of course no such discount on other carriers.

 

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7 hours ago, Marshall said:

Retired cons boarded based on their seniority at CP, just the same as active employees. No special category for retirees, except for those who were director level and above who had a higher priority. 

  

Marshall.....forgive me but I'm compelled by forces I cannot resist; are you sure? My wife and I share the belief that retirees at Cdn went after active employees. I have a memory that in addition and for only a short time, one could purchase a business class standby and if you did not, the aircraft could push back with open seats up front and cons still in the boarding lounge. Understandably, that policy generated a lot of resentment and was abandoned.

If you're certain....so be it; our memories grow increasingly frail. ( Well....mine does)

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13 hours ago, boestar said:

Many of the "perks" of pass travel were eliminated or removed due to abuse or "cheating the system"

For example I used to be able to book a C2 and wait until the last minute to check the load and if it looked bad I could swap in  a C1 to guarantee my seat essentially passing everyone else. This became a very regular occurrence and made planning a trip on tight flights near impossible.  Now we must book a C1 at least 24 hours ahead of time (if you are lucky enough to still have C1s).

 

Upgrades were taken away because upgrades were not being given by seniority but by who you knew. this rightfully drew complaints so that went away.

Thank the idiots for what we have today.  it was much better 30 years ago.

 

Speaking of idiots.....I particularly resent those who abuse a privilege; any privilege. The Sheraton at YYZ not only was perfectly located; it gave a very generous airline employee discount for rooms and included about 50% off on meals. That ended when cabin crew were found to be bunking multiples to a room with mattresses on the floor!!

Same thing with lounge access and crew teaming up to get one card with a number of secondary cards with the annual fees shared. You'd go into the Priority lounge in Terminal 1 US and the lounge was full of crew in uniform having their meals. They ended that by requiring a same day boarding pass.

And on the subject of positive space....a few months ago, we flew from CLT to MCO on American. Booked the flights a few days in advance. The tickets were $27. apiece. Honestly....$27!!

I have a credit card that reimburses me for incidental airline expenses. The computer must have assumed it HAD to be incidental....the ticket cost was reimbursed. Confirmed seats AND less money that pass travel!! Oh yes.....and our cocktails on the flight were paid for by that same card issuer. Gotta love 'em.

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Gee whiz! In all this moaning and groaning over perceived freebies, it strikes me as odd that people still don’t understand that freebies aren’t free. If airline employees were to forgo the “freebie” benefits accrued over the course of their career in favour of higher wages, there would be enough extra pay saved up to just buy the tickets on the desired flights instead of quarrelling over seniority “rights”, C2s, B1s, A+s, Z9s, AC/DCs, super seniority, super duper seniority, etc. Cash is King; “benefits”, not so much.

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8 minutes ago, Rich Pulman said:

If airline employees were to forgo the “freebie” benefits accrued over the course of their career in favour of higher wages, there would be enough extra pay saved up to just buy the tickets on the desired flights

That assumes that wage increases would be on offer in exchange for giving up pass privileges.  I'm not sure they would be.  Filling an empty seat with a pass traveller costs an airline almost nothing.  Wage increases would cause costs to rise.

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10 minutes ago, FA@AC said:

That assumes that wage increases would be on offer in exchange for giving up pass privileges.  I'm not sure they would be.  Filling an empty seat with a pass traveller costs an airline almost nothing.  Wage increases would cause costs to rise.

Everything is negotiable. Benefits are most certainly in lieu of wage increases. (Would you accept a new contract otherwise?) And of course employee “benefits“ benefit employers more since increased wages are 100% payable but increased benefits will never be completely used. And in the case of travel passes, as you have pointed out, cost the company virtually nothing.

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Pass benefits are the one thing that AC intentionally keeps out of Labour negotiations as it pertains to PERSONAL travel.  The reason being is that the benefit is the same no matter what level you are at in the company (for the most part)

It is a non monetary benefit meaning it is cost and revenue neutral to the company.  I know you could say that Cons cost fuel but the  actual cost to the company is negligible.

It Would NEVER be traded for higher wages or vice versa.

 

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16 hours ago, UpperDeck said:

Marshall.....forgive me but I'm compelled by forces I cannot resist; are you sure? My wife and I share the belief that retirees at Cdn went after active employees. I have a memory that in addition and for only a short time, one could purchase a business class standby and if you did not, the aircraft could push back with open seats up front and cons still in the boarding lounge. Understandably, that policy generated a lot of resentment and was abandoned.

If you're certain....so be it; our memories grow increasingly frail. ( Well....mine does)

As a retiree at CP, I never noticed if that was the case, however I never did, as a retiree, use any passes until after the merge with AC and things were indeed different.

At CP: Business Class upgrades (for all pass holders)did not cost but were handed out  by the gate agents in theory by seniority (rumour was that their friends benefited) . Sometimes the flights did leave people behind due to a lack of catering in business. Even in Y, you were quite often told that there could be a meal shortage and pass travellers would only be given a meal once it was determined that there were any left over after the revenue passengers were served.

  Of course we (active employees) did not get unlimted passes (either active or retirees).  Hell at one time we (active employees) could not use a pass on transcon (YVR-YYZ) because of our very limited rights (TCA ruled that market in the then regulated world)  but could use our pass YVR-MEX-YYZ.  

 

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Air Canada anticipates return of worldwide air travel by Christmas

News from CBC News – link to story

Airlines changing cleaning process and working to educate public about safety measures

Ashley Burke · CBC News · Posted: Apr 30, 2020

An Air Canada VP predicts Canada’s airline industry could reopen worldwide by the end of the year. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

An Air Canada vice president suggests that by the time winter holidays roll around again, Canadians will be able to board his company’s planes and fly almost anywhere in the world.

But Tim Strauss said he knows that one of the biggest tasks involved in bringing air travel back to life after pandemic restrictions lift will be convincing the public it’s safe to fly.

“I think by Christmas you will see a significant amount of flying again,” said Strauss, vice president of cargo at Air Canada. “We’ll be flying to most places around the world and certainly domestically.”

There may be fewer flights available and more connections than travellers are used to, he added.

The airline industry has been hammered by the pandemic. Some Canadian airlines have stopped flying entirely while others, including Air Canada, have scaled back more than 90 per cent due to the dramatic drop in demand. 

At a virtual Canadian Club Toronto event today, executives at several major airlines talked about what the North American airline industry could look like post-pandemic. Air Canada, Sunwing and American Airlines said corporate conversations about post-pandemic operations are focused on making sure planes are kept clean. Some airlines are changing how often they sanitize their planes and are even considering changes to how air is circulated in passenger cabins.

‘We are rolling out completely new procedures’

“That is the absolute centre focus of almost all of our product discussions at this point,” said Strauss, regarding cleanliness. “The whole industry will be working in tandem with one another to make sure it’s good no matter what airplane you’re on, anywhere in the world.”

American Airlines said that, as it learned more about COVID-19 over the past two months, it overhauled its cleaning process and now considers it a key part of ensuring a plane is safe to fly.

“We’re rolling out completely new procedures that are disinfecting all parts of the aircraft that a customer touches before every flight,” said Jim Butler, senior vice president of airport operations and cargo at American Airlines. “Before this, while that disinfection happened, it tended to happen more overnight.”

His airline is boosting its cleaning staff while looking for ways to make boarding more efficient, so that flights aren’t delayed by cleaning.

The airline also has been handing out personal protective equipment to all its customers and limiting the number of people onboard by blocking off the centre seats. Butler said the most difficult part will be educating the public about the measures being taken.

 

‘We’re modelling so many different scenarios right now’

“You have to make sure the customer is safe and … that they feel safe. Both of those are equally important,” he said. 

In Canada, Transport Canada has made it mandatory for all passengers to wear masks while onboard and in airports when they cannot physically distance two metres from others.

Sunwing’s president Mark Williams said the industry doesn’t know how soon the pandemic might end, or how quickly customers might come back.

“We’re modelling so many different scenarios right now because we don’t know what the future holds,” he said. 

Williams said that when the industry revives, it will have to convince  Canadians that all aspects of air travel are safe — including getting to the airport, checking in and going through security screening.

“People have to be aware of the safety,” said Williams. “I’m not sure that leaving an empty seat between two people on an airplane is really going to have a significant impact on how safe you are onboard a plane from getting a virus. 

“I think there’s other steps that we need to take. People need to understand what they are and what the risks are, to get them back to flying.”

No point in travelling unless countries are open for business

Air Canada also is looking at how air is circulated onboard its planes.

“That’s one of the things we need to adjust to make the flight safer,” said Strauss. 

The World Health Organization cites research showing there’s very little risk of communicable diseases being shared in-flight through a plane’s ventilation system. The plane’s cabins use filters which trap virus particles, according to the WHO’s website.

While Air Canada predicts better times for the industry by Christmas, Helen Becker, an airline analyst at Cowen and Company, points out that other countries will need to lift their pandemic restrictions and reopen their economies first, in order to convince people to travel.

“You can’t go to London and quarantine for 14 days,” said Becker. “If your vacation was going to be a long weekend and you go, it doesn’t work.

“We need to get all these governments on the same page to kind of open things up. Everyone wants it to be done safely because no one wants the recurrence of cases.”

Strauss said there are signs the economy is about to turn around. Manufacturers are moving parts around the world on Air Canada’s cargo flights, he said, and his company is getting ready to transport retail goods from clothing manufacturers to North America.

“These are companies that only make these moves when they think there’s an economy coming back,” she said. “That makes me very optimistic, that we are at the beginning steps of a rebound.”

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30 minutes ago, rudder said:

AC news was released internally this afternoon (accidentally?).

The release does seem to have been accidental as Calin's video message has been removed for now.

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22 minutes ago, CanadaEH said:

What is it?

Fleet plan mostly.  I won’t repeat here as it should not have been posted.  Look to united’s fleet reductions as a ball park.  It will be out tomorrow.

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Numbers are out this morning.

$433MM loss in the quarter.

Estimate capacity reduction for Q2 of 85-90% and 75% for Q3.

Accelerated retirement of 79 aircraft.

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