ARTA Canada Encourages Agencies to Keep Clients
Aware of Best Practices During AC CAW Work Stoppage
Air Canada Allows Agencies to Assist with AC Direct Bookings
and Updates Policies on Groups and Flight Firming
Toronto, 14 June 2011: Canada's Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA Canada) reached out to Air Canada last week to offer any and all assistance in the event a CAW work action went forward as it now has.
As of Tuesday, 14 June at 12:01AM EDT, some 3,800 AC call centre agents in Canada and customer service agents at 9 airports (Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montréal, Ottawa, St. John’s, Toronto Pearson, Winnipeg and Vancouver) have ceased work. AC is committed to operating a full schedule while engaging management and other personnel to fill various positions to handle ongoing operations and customer service functions.
"This is a tough time for any airline, but our members, as agents for carriers and our mutual customers, will do all that we can to keep passengers travelling smoothly, on time, and without interruption. We've offered AC whatever assistance we can provide, and we are ready to step up to the tasks where AC feels that we can be of service and value", said ARTA Canada President Bruce Bishins, CTC.
Best Practices Assure Smooth Travel - Know your ABC's
ARTA Canada is asking its members and all travel agencies in Canada to apprise their clients of some important best practices to mitigate the work stoppage on travel plans. Calling its initiative "Knowing the ABC's", ARTA Canada has put together a graphic for agencies to pass on three key elements to travellers which will facilitate smooth travel on AC during the labour action.
Key to this initiative is arriving at impacted airports early, minimizing or eliminating checked baggage, and using all automated tools possible including online check-in and self-service kiosks. To download a copy of the above graphic for use with client communications, itineraries, or other documentation, please click here.
"As a leader in airport automation, AC has outstanding self-service tools which will make travelling seamless and expeditious. Add that to online check-in, seat assignments where permitted, and other applicable traveller services, and customers can take more control over their airport experience", added Bishins.
Air Canada Authorizes Agents to Handle/Rebook Direct Bookings
Travel agencies will also be able to access all AC direct bookings, either booked via an AC call centre or via the AC consumer web site, by logging in to the AC travel agency portal (www.aircanada.com/agents), and then accessing the link "Manage ac2u Bookings" (requires same login credentials). Bookings may be retrieved from "View by Booking Reference" by entering the PNR record locator.
Agencies will not be able to make new group bookings. Assistance with name lists, sport/musical equipment lists or special services requests for existing group bookings will be provided by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All email requests must include:
- Locator and group name
- Flight number, departure date and routing
- Description of required action with corresponding group list
- Contact number to be reached
Please refer to the "Group Bookings Contingency" document in the Contingency section on the Agent Reference Tab for more information.
As a result of the work action, Air Canada has expanded its automated Flight Firming tool to all flights to ensure ticketed clients are accommodated.
All unticketed PNRs are subject to cancellation if no ticket number is provided by 72 hours prior to departure. If a file is created within 72 hours of departure, PNRs must be ticketed immediately. Air Canada will NOT send a message to the booking source. Please remember to action queues and provide ticket numbers to prevent PNR cancellation.
ARTA Canada Continues to Dialogue with Air Canada
ARTA Canada will continue to dialogue with AC on other ways agencies can help the travelling public. More information will be distributed as needed.
About ARTA Canada
ARTA Canada is the largest non-profit federally incorporated professional association of travel retailers in Canada, the members of which consist exclusively of travel agencies and travel agents. In addition to advocating fair and equitable treatment of travel consumers, ARTA Canada represents the commercial and strategic interests of its member travel agencies and travel agents in a variety of national and provincial domains including regulatory and legislative matters, automation, technology, sales and marketing, and distribution.
ARTA Canada is the strategic partner in Canada of the U.S.-based Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA). For complete details about ARTA Canada's new $99 membership campaign or to join ARTA Canada, including secure payment on our web site, please visit www.artacanada.ca/join.