Yesterday it was announced that Canada would be be banning all Boeing 737 Max Jets from taking off, landing in, or even flying over the country. The decision has caused quite a bit of chaos for Canadian airlines that frequently used the plane models.
As of now, there have been pretty significant disruptions amongst the domestic airlines, who are now scrambling to rebook passengers who were scheduled on the now-cancelled flights. The nightmare definitely isn't over yet, as Air Canada continues to issue delays and cancellations after grounding the 24 Max 8 aircrafts on their fleet.
Needless to say, passengers across the country have gone into a frenzy.
TL;DR With Air Canada delaying and cancelling flights after grounding all Boeing 737 planes, customers have spoken out publicly with their concerns and frustrations. Details on the current issues being faced by both the airline and its customers are below.
Our #B737MAX flights are suspended following Transport Canada’s directive to close Canadian airspace to this aircraft. We’re working to get affected customers home and our flexible rebooking policy is in place. More: https://t.co/AFpZFGl1jj— Air Canada (@AirCanada) March 13, 2019
A spokesperson for Air Canada has announced that the airline was looking at putting their passengers on other airlines to avoid any severe delays. Widebody aircrafts were rescheduled to serve Hawaii, with other flights operating on Air Canada Rouge schedule.
Flights that are cancelled as of now include routes such as Halifax to London and St. John's to London. According to the CBC, passengers are being rerouted through Montreal and Toronto, which has undeniably caused a world of chaos.
To put things into perspective, the Boeing 737 Max planes carried on average around 10,000 customers per day. So, delays in rebooking flights or even reaching Air Canada call centres are staggering right now.
Angry and confused customers weren't shy about taking their frustrations over the issues to Twitter:
Air Canada are forewarning people there are mad delays getting into the US and to leave 3 FUCKING HOURS to clear the pre-check. Not even the border, the pre-check. Today is long already.— al corner (@blerhgh) March 14, 2019
So @aircanada, I just crossed the 24th hour of flight delays on AC in the last month. I feel like there should be a badge for that.— Geoff Morgan (@ixianmachine) March 14, 2019
actually this is a PR disaster and an example of how NOT to treat customers!!! zero transparency. zero leadership.— Berkeley Scott (@berkeleyscott) March 13, 2019
Shame on @AirCanada to delay flight from Windsor to Toronto and my client missed his mother's funeral. No Apology enough for this. No more booking with your airline.— Sainish Travel (@SainishT) March 14, 2019
Some customers are even demanding reimbursement for being flown in the Boeing 737 Max:
Are you also refunding the ticket of that poor lady that was too scared to fly a few days? That would restore some of my faith in your service— Elias (@r3n3tsiL) March 13, 2019
As if it weren't obvious, customers have had enough with the Air Canada delays and uncertainty on their flights.
@AirCanada 8 hours later and I still am unable to get through to your call centre nor have I had a DM reply.— Lindsay Chapman (@Lindsay52022936) March 14, 2019
@AirCanada Hey there, Air Canada - I have been trying to cancel a flight for days. The website says I have to call; when I do, I get a message that you’re not accepting calls due to volume and I am then disconnected. My flight is tomorrow - thoughts?— Rachel Geringer-Dunn (@rgdthatsme) March 14, 2019
Hey @AirCanada I’ve been on hold for 30 minutes with no help yet. Y’all at a curling competition or something?— theliberty_bell (@ThelibertyB) March 14, 2019
I'm kinda annoyed you didn't make this decision to ground these planes on your own. People were concerned or had loved ones flying on them.— caribb🇨🇦 (@caribb) March 13, 2019
I was deeply unimpressed with how your customer service team dealt with this for my experience. They did not at all try to ease the experience of my flight being delayed and possibly not being able to get a flight to Toronto.— Mercedes Leyh (@mercedesleyh) March 14, 2019
As of now, the challenge for airlines such as Air Canada is finding planes that can replace their lost fleet. It is extremely difficult to bring in planes from outside of the country, with aviation experts going as far as saying it's not as simple as retrieving an aircraft on reserve. Reassigning planes involes replanning months of scheduled flights. This is a tremendous amount of labour.
To be fair, Air Canada is faced with an impossible, unprecedented situation and its employees are doing their best to manage it. The 737 Max 8 ban is not the fault of Air Canada and customers are wrong to suggest that. We wish Air Canada luck.
Needless to say, if you were planning on flying with any Canadian airline over the next few weeks, expect delays, cancellations, and frustration. But please be patient with employees who are trying their best.
Stay tuned for more information on airline changes over the upcoming weeks.