Air Canada’s decision to cancel some 10,000 flights this summer is affecting the travel plans of many British Columbians.
News of the cancellations is causing headaches for the likes of Nicole Robb, who is trying to organize a trip for her Ringette women’s U-20 team.
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“It’s creating a lot of stress for our parents, volunteers trying to get these kids to go to a big tournament,” Robb, CEO of Ringette BC, told Global News.
Players, parents, and coaches had flights booked to Moncton, NB, for a big tournament. But on Wednesday, Air Canada canceled its flights back to Vancouver.
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The team is now holding their collective breath as they scramble to find an alternate game plan.
“If we can’t get there, we would have put up enough money to not even be able to go racing, and I think that would be real devastation,” he said.
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Air Canada normally operates around 1,000 flights per day. But over the next few months, it will reduce its flight schedule by eliminating more than 150 of those flights per day.
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“These tickets shouldn’t have been sold to begin with,” Gabor Lukacs, president of Air Passenger Rights, told Global News.
“It was irresponsible for Air Canada and other airlines to sell these tickets.”
WestJet has taken a more proactive approach, reducing its flight schedule by 25% compared to 2019 levels.
It’s an attempt to ease airport congestion and reduce the number of daily flight delays caused by an unprecedented surge in summer air travellers.
Air Canada cancels 154 flights for July and August
“The infrastructure wasn’t there to accommodate the surge in pent-up demand in travel, hence the reason everything went wrong regarding the domino effect,” said Martin Firestone, president of Travel Secure.
The federal Secretary of Transportation said it has never asked airlines or airports to cancel or reduce flights.
But the flight cancellations are a good start, according to some analysts.
“Yes, it will have an impact, things will get a little bit better,” said Duncan Dee, a former chief operating officer for Air Canada. “But I don’t think we’ll see anything materially better until after Labor Day.”
Meanwhile, some experts argue that travelers should be entitled to compensation.
They also warn those who have not yet purchased tickets to expect higher airfares as a result of a shorter ticket offer.
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