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Air Canada's free booze leaves staff with hangover

Guest Jiminy

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Air Canada's free booze leaves staff with hangover

Tuesday, November 9, 2004 - Page B2

Here's a cost-cutting plan that didn't wash down well. In an effort to slash costs during its early stages of bankruptcy protection, Air Canada forced economy-class passengers on overseas flights to dig into their pockets for hard liquor. A mini-bottle of rye or vodka? Five bucks, please. (Complimentary beer and wine continued to flow.) So, when Air Canada reinstated free hard liquor this summer in advance of the airline emerging from bankruptcy protection Sept. 30, unionized employees were miffed. That's because the airline's unionized workers took hefty wage cuts, and thousands of staff got pink slips during the restructuring process. Some flight attendants were less than thrilled at pouring a stiff drink for customers, since that added insult to injury. But tensions between the unions and management have subsided since Air Canada explained that beer and wine consumption surged during the ban on free hard liquor, wiping out planned savings. Seems Air Canada is keeping its overseas passengers well lubricated lest they jump to rivals with an open bar.


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