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AC And The Crown Corporation Influence  
User currently offlinePsyops From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2204 times:

My wife had an interesting experience yesterday with AC that had me thinking about the carrier and the influence being a government supported/crown corporation has had on them.

First off, don't get me wrong, I fly AC all the time, I have over 30 flight segments this year so far. They are obviously improving their performance as a company, and I can't help but wonder how much a real change in the customer orientation from the typical "bored government worker who doesn't need to worry about competition or losing their job" to a more customer centric busniess model would further improve their performance.

Over the past couple of years I have seen AC's employees act less like the type outlined above, but in my experience it is still the norm. It seems as though true care and concern for customers and the ability to make decisions at the right level in the organization are still issues.

Yesterday my wife was on AC flight from YYC to YVR, an A320. The story from the flight deck was that one of the baggage handlers had damaged the cargo door seal and repairs would be required. Although the skill of the baggage handler is in question, the need to complete the repair is not.

The passengers ended up staying on the plane for 3 hours, with the offerring of a bag of sesame snacks and a bottle of water.

My wife had a connecting flight in YVR, so she informed the crew as they were going through looking for folks with connections. Unfortunately she would miss her connection, but not to worry we will have a hotel room for you in YVR.

After the delayed arrival into YVR, it turns out that in fact there are no hotel rooms available. My wife calls me, we get into action with our corporate travel agent who finds a room at a budget hotel right across from the airport. (Not sure why AC couldn't find this, possibly not on the list of "authorized hotels"). No worries my wife tells them, I found a room. So sorry says the AC staff, we can't put you up there. We have however found a room in Langley (I think this is an hour cab ride away) that we will put you in.

Now this is the interesting part. The room across the street is $150. The room in Langley is $150. The cab ride is going to be $150 or more to Langley and back. Most rational folks would see the simple economics in that, not to mention the customer service aspect. In this case, the passenger even did the job of the airline for them. Unfortunately there is no one in YVR on duty with AC with the level of decision authority to authorize doing the right thing. This is the where I still see AC acting like an autocratic, inflexible government entity.

In the end, she stays across the street on her own nickel. The cab and hotel voucher for Langley are given to a nice homeless person outside the terminal for a nice night's sleep, courtesy of Air Canada.

Again, I like AC, but think their leadership needs to have a good hard look at this aspect of their business.

Anyone else?

10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineYyz717 From Canada, joined Sep 2001, 16307 posts, RR: 56
Reply 1, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2190 times:

I've never been a fan of anecdotal evidence or examples to define an entire airline but if there is a trend, then maybe its valid.

I fly AC and WJ regularly. I have not had a bad experience on either carrier. The WJ counter staff and FA's are generally friendlier and seem happier at work, but that means little to me -- I'm not on board for personal attention. The odd AC FA (usually an older one) can be decidedly curt and probably should be fired, but I just kinda laugh at and ignore it.

My only advice is if you feel agrieved, then give your entire business to WJ for a while. AC is no longer the only game in town and you can send AC a message by not flying with them.

WJ is growing and getting bigger. Their current fleet of 58 737's will grow to 72 in the next 18 mos. WJ's growing market presence will ensure that AC will need to improve to stay in business.



Panam, TWA, Ansett, Eastern.......AC next? Might be good for Canada.
User currently offlineAirCop From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2165 times:

Quoting Psyops (Thread starter):
It seems as though true care and concern for customers and the ability to make decisions at the right level in the organization are still issues.

This is a problem everywhere in business, people at the bottom are afraid of making decisions that are not in accordance with the black and white company policies and not being backed up by the the higher ups.


User currently offline9252fly From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1396 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2143 times:

One of the problems with it's crown corp past,was a military style culture that evolved from it's inception and seems to have been very top-down. Too many of the lower level employees just follow orders and don't risk their jobs trying to do things outside of procedure and policy. It's not their fault,just the result of a very established airline culture.

User currently offlineMarkabcan From Canada, joined Dec 2005, 205 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2142 times:

Air Canada is lacking in one very important area, employee empowerment!

User currently offlineChrisA330 From Canada, joined Oct 1999, 634 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2130 times:

Quoting Markabcan (Reply 4):
employee empowerment

Bingo...I think that would go a long way to making things better. In my experience AC is pretty good when things are going fine. As soon as a problem comes up, they fall apart.


User currently offline9252fly From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1396 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2109 times:

Quoting Markabcan (Reply 4):
Air Canada is lacking in one very important area, employee empowerment!

 checkmark 


User currently offlinePsyops From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2035 times:

Quoting Yyz717 (Reply 1):
My only advice is if you feel agrieved

I'm not agrieved, just interested. I am bit of a orgainzational buff as much as I am airplanes. What makes organizations tick and how they work (or don't work) I find interesting.

Quoting Markabcan (Reply 4):
Air Canada is lacking in one very important area, employee empowerment


Now that is a very interesting point. Similar to the top down comment made, and the fear of employees to make decisions for fear of not being backed up. It is unfortunate, because there is so much more possibility in AC that it appears management is not getting, because of the way they lead the toops.


User currently offlineTimeair From Canada, joined May 2005, 436 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 1999 times:

[

Quoting Markabcan (Reply 4):
Air Canada is lacking in one very important area, employee empowerment!

Totally agree, why shud someone working late at nite, with minimal seniority and lack of leads or supervisors be fed to the dogs when it comes to making a simple decision, and then being the "example" the next day by someone senior or in a position of authority for making an incorrect decision. The agents should be there to provide "CUSTOMER SERVICE" not to say "Sorry I can't authorize that, here's a quarter, call someone who cares"



You can't get there from here.
User currently offlineACDC8 From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 7643 posts, RR: 35
Reply 9, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1962 times:

Quoting ChrisA330 (Reply 5):
Bingo...I think that would go a long way to making things better. In my experience AC is pretty good when things are going fine. As soon as a problem comes up, they fall apart.

I agree on this point as well. AC does a very good job, but when a problem does arise, most employees try to hide themselves or look busy.

Quoting Markabcan (Reply 4):
Air Canada is lacking in one very important area, employee empowerment!

Very true.

Quoting AirCop (Reply 2):
This is a problem everywhere in business, people at the bottom are afraid of making decisions that are not in accordance with the black and white company policies and not being backed up by the the higher ups.

I see this everyday in most customer service based businesses (not just airlines). If I have a question about a product or service or a complaint, most lower end employees just say that they have to talk to their managers/supervisors and they're not available at the moment.



A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
User currently offlineAY104 From Canada, joined Nov 2005, 505 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1932 times:

Quoting Markabcan (Reply 4):
Air Canada is lacking in one very important area, employee empowerment!

Have to agree with you there! I fly AC a lot, and really love the service, but do get the same sense as you that everything must be by the rules, and an employee is not ever to make a final decision, regardless how sensible it may be. I am an ex Delta Air Lines employee, having been let go in 1998 when Delta pulled out of YVR. Of course, I have some gripes about DL and the way they handled all of the West Coast/US operations after merging with Western, but that is another thing. One of the main praises I have had throughout the years for Delta, is the empowerment that we had, and I guess employees still have, for handling irregular situations like the one just described without even having to call for a supervisor. I remember doing some things for customers that I thought might be bending the rules, and thinking that I might hear about it later, and that I should not have been so generous etc, etc, etc. Never once in all my years with Delta, from 1986 to 1998 did I ever receive one single complaint from management about how I handled a situation, only encouragement. I have always been able to handle things on my own without supervision, but I have always been grateful how much empowerment Delta gave us. I will never forget that, and I still think that was one of the great aspects of Delta customer service, and although I have not flown them since 1998, I suspect and hope that it is still a priority for their customer service reps. Actually, I would appreciate any feedback on that, just out of curiosity. A good friend of mine who is now a supervisor in customer service with Delta in Seattle used to be my supervisor, and was a great advocate of that philosophy, and still is. I would be interested to hear from some customers if they also feel it is so.
Cheers,
Carl (AY104)



The only thing a customer should expect for his/her loyalty is good service
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