Flight Cancellations: Travel Agencies in Eastern Quebec “Tear Their Hair Out”

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Flight cancellations: travel agencies in Eastern Quebec “s’tear their hair out”

Travel agencies in Eastern Quebec have to juggle several flight cancellations and schedule changes this summer.

As elsewhere in Quebec, travel agencies in the 'Est-du-Québec are juggling flight cancellations and schedule changes this summer, due to the problems caused by the resumption of travel. Most agents have never had to deal with so much disruption in their entire career.

“It's truly remarkable. I have never seen that. »

— Lizanne Lanteigne, President and CEO of Vacances Inter in Sept-Îles

In recent months, many airports have been forced to reduce their service offer because the workforce #x27;work was not there.

Regional flights, which serve among other things as a connection to major centers, were the first to be affected by these reductions since they are less profitable for the airlines than international flights.

On the North Shore, 8 of 12 flights from Sept-Îles to Montreal have been canceled by Air Canada since June 25.

“Currently, the reliability is much lower than before because we have a lot of canceled flights for regional flights. »

— Lizanne Lanteigne, President and CEO of Vacances Inter in Sept-Îles

Lizanne Lanteigne has never experienced this in her entire career (archives).

When the customer comes to tell us that his flight is canceled, we must reprotect him (sic) on a different day or on a different company, but that's for sure than reprotecting him on a flight that we don't know if it will take place the next day, it becomes difficult, she adds.

At Club Voyages Inter-Monde in Rimouski, in addition to cancellations, staff have had to manage two or three flight schedule changes per day since last week. This kind of change was not impossible before, but rather rare.

“Travellers are tearing their hair out and so are we.

— Annick de Courval, owner of Club Voyages Inter-Monde in Rimouski

Annick de Courval believes that this is chaos for travel agencies.< /p>

It's a bit of chaos. Flights that are canceled a few hours before departure. Sometimes we have a few days, so we can turn around, but there we are no longer able to turn on a dime, explains the owner of the agency, Annick de Courval.

< p class="e-p">To make matters worse, travel agents also have to wait several hours on the phone before they can speak to a supplier since the call lines are very busy.

Airline wait times are very long because everyone is affected by flight cancellations or changes. Yesterday, we waited 5 hours 50 before we were answered by a supplier, says Ms. de Courval.

Travel agents are inundated with calls.

These delays are giving headaches to travel agents, who are going out of their way to accommodate their customers.

Club Voyages Bellaventure CEO in Maria, Julie Labrecque, estimates she spends 15-20% of her time managing all these changes, every day.

“It's an additional workload that we didn't have before.

—Julie Labrecque, President and CEO of Club Voyages Bellaventure in Maria

Julie Labrecque has to spend more time managing schedule changes than before.

< p class="e-p">We are able to manage well, to secure our customers and to reassure them about that, it's our job, but we would do without all these changes, she says.

The same goes for the owner of Club Voyages Bravo de Matane, who spends most of her time reassuring her customers.

Madone Guénette is currently the only full-time employee at the Club Voyages Bravo office in Matana. She has her hands full.

I can easily put in an extra 15 hours a week where I'm going to take care of my clients. I thought it was going to be a little lighter this summer, but no, says Madone Guénette.

Several travelers are also experiencing the direct consequences of these cancellations and these changes of schedule. ;schedule.

This is particularly the case of Réal Côté, a councilor at the City of Gaspé, who had booked a trip to Montreal between June 27 and July 3 .

His outward and return flights, however, were postponed for a day. This situation did not make him want to fly back anytime soon.

Real Côté took this plane on his return to Gaspé.

Réal Côté deplores a great lack of communication with the airline company Pal Airlines.

Most of the time, it was me or my wife who went to the counter to ask for explanations and they gave us news, but they never called us. We had to inform ourselves, he says.

“We were left to our own devices. »

— Réal Côté, traveler from Gaspé

Réal Côté was on a trip to Montreal.< /p>

Next time, we'll take the vehicle until it's sorted out because I can't trust the Gaspé air service anymore, he concludes.

The situation should return to normal in 2024, according to the director of the Aeronautics and Civil Aviation Observatory, Mehran Ebrahimi.

With information from Félix Lebel and Perrine Bullant

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