Check before heading to Pearson this morning...

Discussion in 'Air Canada | Aeroplan' started by The Lev, Jan 7, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. The Lev
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    The Lev Silver Member

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    My 7:30 flight to YUL got cancelled so now I get to sit in the lounge until 1:00.

    Apparently they are cancelling everything requiring an inbound aircraft until at least noon.
     
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  2. mevlannen
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    mevlannen Silver Member

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    Wow, they really **don't** do winter there, do they? Apologies for that, of course. I'll blame the morning coffee being weak.

    Seriously, though, Canada gets winter weather, we always have had winter weather. It does seem to me, after 42 years of gallivanting around on aeroplanes, that we're collectively doing worse and worse and yet worse at keeping things going in the winter. Is it that minimum operating conditions are more conservative, now, or could it be a matter of destaffing or (even worse) 'just-in-time' staffing?

    Anyway, good luck on getting out to YUL! I suppose that, in the worst case, you could take the train instead?
     
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  3. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    FWIW, I try to not complain about flight delays due to weather or safety-related events. Whenever such occur, I recall all too well the Air Florida flight 90 collision with the 14th Street bridge in Washington D.C., upon takeoff from DCA on January 13, 1982. This disaster occurred due to poor plane de-icing procedures and the decision of the pilot to take off. It is well worth reading about this preventable disaster. See:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs...ida-flight-90/2012/01/11/gIQAEVH4tP_blog.html
     
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  4. slalom

    slalom Silver Member

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    I wholeheartedly agree that there should be no compromise for safety (and I have many bar/hotel bills from being stranded in NYC during thunderstorm season to show that rather than complain, I make the best of it!). Yesterday I had no problem with a 2.5 hour delay on my YYZ-EWR flight due to unacceptably high levels of carbon monoxide in the cabin, and a further 60 minutes for de-icing procedures.

    Having a plan to disembark arriving passengers and retrieve luggage in cold weather at YYZ should be a given though. As reported on CBC, the primary problem is a backlog in processing incoming flights.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/pearson-airport-delays-what-you-need-to-know-1.2486701
     
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  5. mevlannen
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    mevlannen Silver Member

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    What slalom said, yes, that would be my attitude, too. I've chosen Air Canada precisely because of their decent safety record. At the moment, though, I'm not so impressed with the failure to adequately provide for seasonally-predictable peak loads of incoming, often-stranded, passengers. Having myself occasionally slept on the cruel, hard, cold floor of YYZ I have little sympathy for the company's planners.
     
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  6. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    I remember the Air Florida tragedy in D.C. and how terrible it was to see those people freezing to death in the Potomac River. There were several errors that caused that one, one of which was, if I remember correctly, was waiting too long after deicing, and another was backing the aircraft out of the gate area using reverse thrust to back out (thrust reversers) on the B737 which sucked ice and slush into the engines.
    While I have sympathy for people whose flights and connections, vacations were messed up these past few days, still this was an extended period of bad weather, after a similar one the week before, and yes, the airlines might have prepared bettter for the mess. But there's no automatic or easy way to load or offload luggage from an aircraft, even with those large baggage bins that still have to be pushed onto the lifts then onto the plane, or marshal those aircraft in or out of gates in -50C windchills. Planes and equipment get frozen in this kind of cold, leading to delays on the ground aside from the obvious weather delays from cancelled flights, ground stops, delayed crews, and slow deicing aircraft for those flights that finally get out. Having spent an overnight at ORD on a seat in the terminal after a long series of thunderstorms one July messed up our connection to the last CP flight to YYZ, from a previously delayed UA flight LAS-ORD in which we spent four and a half hours on the ground in Omaha (captain said that we had circled there so long that we had to land to refuel, soon to be joined by dozens of other aircraft from many other carriers in the same situation) sweating in a DC-10 in 90+ degree heat where the one engine kept on to run the a/c did little to help, with our luggage lost at ORD for three days, and trying to shave at 4 AM by plugging my electric shaver into a socket at ORD where we sat while a planeload from JAL laughed at us sitting there forelornely. Yes, I know the feeling of being delayed as there were no rooms at the inns by the time we got to O'hare so we joined thousands in the packed terminal.

    At least, so far, YYZ hasn't run out of deicing fluid as happened several years ago. Safety is the most important part of this exercise. People will arrive delayed but hopefully safely at their destinations eventually.

    Weather is one thing that we obviously haven't as yet learned how to control. Just ask Al Gore. :rolleyes:
     
  7. slalom

    slalom Silver Member

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    Don't disagree, but the cold weather in Toronto should have been forseen, there should have been a plan, and there should have been better communications. That they had more Peel Regional Police in baggage claim to control unruly passengers than Service Representatives speaks volumes. Maybe there was a plan that hasn't been executed before.

    As with most service disruptions, PAX can be quite reasonable in unreasonable situations if they are given accurate and timely information as opposed to being left lying on the floor, or standing in a 4 hour line-up (or hold queue) wondering when something might happen to alleviate the situation.

    I just hope GTAA/AC take this as a learning experience and do better next time.
     
  8. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    Sure there could have been better planning, just as JetBlue should have had this time after their previous fiasco at JFK, and most other airlines and airports like ORD, EWR, and anywhere in NA that was affected by this storm. Groundstops miles away from affected airports added to the mess with aircraft out of postion and crews timing out, which pushed airlines to their limits of capability. Not trying to make excuses for the mess, but there are valid reasons for what happened, and another learning opportunity for next time, as this promises to be a long hard winter.

    Here's a link to an article from Skift.com about other airport's problems from the storm:
    http://skift.com/2014/01/08/adding-up-the-airline-cancellations-caused-by-the-polar-vortex/
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
  9. The Lev
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    The Lev Silver Member

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    I suspect what really happened at Pearson is the following:
    1. Unlike "cold climate" airports like YEG, YWG, etc. the rampies are not provided with extreme cold weather clothing
    2. A lot of employees who are supposed to work outside at YYZ booked off sick to avoid doing so
    3. Based on 1., someone put in a work refusal to the Ministry of Labour on health and safety grounds
    They will never admit it, but In the end, this was almost certainly largely a "human" rather than "equipment" failure
     
  10. YEGman

    YEGman Silver Member

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    What's "cold climate" and "extreme cold weather clothing?":D
     
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  11. 2by4

    2by4 Silver Member

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    Employees are not provided with special outdoor clothing but are expected to get their own.

    The root cause of the YYZ problems is that the people who live there are not prepared for this level of cold weather because they rarely see this cold weather.
    People who live elsewhere in Canada are prepared because they experience colder weather all of the time.

    Thus staff from all airlines, stores, GTAA, restaurants did not show for work and YYZ airport shut down.
     
  12. slalom

    slalom Silver Member

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    It's easy to be a "Monday morning quarterback" on this, but it seems that extreme cold might be something the GTAA should have a contingency plan for.

    At the very least, there should be a plan for communications around unanticipated disruptions. Having Peel Regional come in to enforce good behaviour among passengers who have become unruly due to extreme and understandable frustration isn't exactly the best way to deal with a crisis. Having "all hands on deck" from the airlines and the GTAA makes more sense. Many years ago I worked a part-time job at The Bay (well, Simpson's, actually), and there were times in the day at Christmas when even all management had to be on the selling floor. Seems this should have been the case for AC.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
  13. 2by4

    2by4 Silver Member

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    So what do you know about the efforts that the airlines made to bring in all of the staff that they could?
    Do you know for a fact that there were not management and office staff working in the terminal to try and help out?
     
  14. slalom

    slalom Silver Member

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    No, I don't have a survey, but I have read here that in arrivals, AC staff were few and far between. I've read in the news that Peel Regional Police were needed to "calm" unruly arriving passengers. I've also read here that there were an abundance of staff on arrivals level. Perhaps I've made an illogical leap of faith.

    In any event, perhaps you'll agree that whatever the airline did was inadequate in the circumstances.
     
  15. 2by4

    2by4 Silver Member

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    So in your experience from a part-time job at Hudsons Bay, how difficult would it have been to call in 100;s more people.
     
  16. slalom

    slalom Silver Member

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    From my experience many years ago as a student, it wasn't tough to supplement the staff on the floor by 20% at peak hours by bringing back-room people onto the sales for. Thanks for asking.
     
  17. tomh009
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    tomh009 Gold Member

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    The root cause was not AC (or any other airline), though, it was GTAA.
     
  18. slalom

    slalom Silver Member

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    Yes....but in my mind, passengers have a relationship with the airline, not the GTAA - AC owed it to its customers to communicate much better, regardless of anything else they could have done.
     
  19. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    Yesterday the head of the GTAA apologized on TV to pax for mishandling the weather mess at YYZ.
    Today someone on FT is reporting this morning that all computer systems are down at YYZ and flooding from the roof of T-3.

    Not a good couple of weeks for YYZ.
     
  20. slalom

    slalom Silver Member

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  21. pointshogger

    pointshogger Silver Member

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  22. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    And an airport with one of the highest landing fees in the world. Spend some of those fees to better prepare for the inevitable bad weather of a Canadian winter. And don't run out of deicing fluid again, as they did several years ago!
     
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  23. mevlannen
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    mevlannen Silver Member

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    Given that GTAA did receive quite a black eye in the press reports, I daresay that they will indeed try harder to be prepared for cold weather by the time next winter rolls in.
     
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  24. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    They'd better be prepared well before next winter's fury arrives. Snow up north today near Wawa, Sudbury and east of there, and temperatures dipping near freezing the past few nights in the GTA, so Spring, regardless of the date, has not as yet completely Sprung!
     
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  25. mevlannen
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    mevlannen Silver Member

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    Point well taken.

    Snow has an awesome way of leading to delays, if not outright cancellations. Here on Vancouver Island, the mere **forecast** of snow will tend to induce IRROPS.
     
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