Air Canada urged to resolve system woes ahead of holiday travel: transport minister

OTTAWA/MONTREAL (Reuters) - Canada’s Transport Minister on Tuesday urged the country’s largest carrier to resolve problems with its new reservation system, which have sparked an outpouring of complaints on social media.

FILE PHOTO: Canada's Transport Minister Marc Garneau speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, May 16, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the regulator spoke with Air Canada AC.TO about complaints of service delays due to changes with the reservation system ahead of the busy Christmas travel season.

“They (Air Canada) are very aware we are getting a lot of calls about this,” Garneau told reporters in Ottawa.

“I hope Air Canada can resolve its problem.”

Customers took to Twitter to complain about changes to the carrier’s booking system that resulted in delays.

Montreal-based Air Canada said in a statement that it is undergoing “temporary issues” after replacing its aging booking system. The carrier said there have been some cases of customers encountering “technical issues and longer wait times” as the carrier’s agents adapt to the new reservation system.

“Call volumes and hold times are temporarily above normal and we have been working to address this,” it said.

The carrier added that “the number of customers affected is relatively small in terms of Air Canada’s regular, overall activity and the new system is functioning largely as expected.”

“Since Nov. 19 we have carried approximately 2.5 million customers, typical for this time of year,” Air Canada said.

Garneau said there was nothing the government could do to fix the situation, and said it was his understanding that in certain cases people had filed complaints with Transport Canada.

“Air Canada is aware that many Canadians, especially at this time of the year, are disappointed with the situation.”

Reporting By Kelsey Johnson in Ottawa and Allison Lampert in Montreal; editing by Jonathan Oatis