Air Canada revises ticket policy after strike
Published Friday, March 23, 2012 3:01PM PDT
Air Canada says it has "revised" its ticketing policy for customers affected by Friday's labour dispute.
Hundreds of travellers across the country were stranded after a wildcat strike by some Air Canada employees in Toronto. Dozens of scheduled flights were cancelled or delayed and many customers reported lost baggage.
Spokesperson Angela Mah said customers booked on flights until Sunday are allowed to rebook free of charge until April 30 "in order to facilitate changes to travel plans."
The airline says that if your Air Canada flight is cancelled you can re-book yourself on another airline without fear of penalty.
Mah warned that call centres are experiencing lengthy wait times because of the strike and urged consumers to use its online booking services.
Food vouchers are available for prolonged flight delays, Mah said, and agents will consider handing them out after a wait of two hours. Water and snacks will also be brought in, she added.
Delayed travellers who aren't from the area will be put up in a hotel if they're not departing until the following day, Mah said.
Mah said operations at Vancouver's airport were running smoothly by Friday afternoon, with just four cancellations because of the illegal work stoppage.
Customers who arrived at their destination without their luggage are advised to speak to baggage agents and fill out a claim. Once the bags arrived they will be delivered, Mah said.
She said the airline does offer overnight kits containing toiletry basics, like toothbrushes, in some cases.
Air Canada recommends that people travelling on upcoming cruises give themselves at least an extra day to get to port to catch the ship.
Consumer Protection BC said that strikes aren't covered by the Travel Assurance Fund, which is a last resort for customers having problems with an airline.
"The ability for customers to secure a refund as a result of the strike is uncertain, but customers should take some time review the terms and conditions laid out by Air Canada when they experience a strike," spokesperson Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith told CTV's Steele on Your Side in an email.
Frustrated customers can also file a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA). The federal agency acts as a third-party mediator between consumers and airlines when the disputes cannot be resolved by the company.
If the customer has booked through a travel agency they can often contact the agent for rebooking options.
If the flight was booked on a credit card, the provider may also provide additional coverage, Chabeaux-Smith added.
Watch CTV for a report from Lynda Steele about your customer rights during airline work stoppages…