Canadian Airlines Must Follow Air Canada’s Example and Pay Airline Workers for Time Worked: CUPE

May 20, 2022

VANCOUVER, British Columbia–(BUSINESS WIRE)–CUPE’s Airline Division, which represents 15,000 flight attendants at nine Canadian airlines, says other major carriers like WestJet, Air Transat and Sunwing must follow the example set by Air Canada earlier this week, and pay flight attendants for time spent on the ground during delays at Pearson Airport.

“Our members are working just as hard on the ground to keep passengers safe and comfortable as they are in the air, and deserve to be paid-in-full for every minute they’re at work in uniform”

“We were happy to get an agreement this week to ensure an hour worked is an hour paid for our members at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge,” said Wesley Lesosky, president of CUPE’s Airline Division and also president of CUPE’s Air Canada Component. “This is what can happen when the union and the employer come together: we can find solutions that benefit everybody.”

While policies differ from airline to airline, generally speaking, flight attendants are paid significantly less – or not at all – for their time on the ground. The issue has boiled over in recent months, as understaffing at Canadian airports has led to delays of two to three hours during the security screening and deplaning processes.

“Our members are working just as hard on the ground to keep passengers safe and comfortable as they are in the air, and deserve to be paid-in-full for every minute they’re at work in uniform,” said Rena Kisfalvi, secretary-treasurer of CUPE’s Airline Division and president of CUPE 4055, which represents flight attendants at Sunwing.

CUPE has been raising the issue of flight attendants essentially working for free even as they perform work duties in uniform on the ground.

“Air Canada has stepped up,” said Lesosky. “Now, it’s time for the other carriers to follow suit.”

CUPE rectifies pay injustice for members at Air Canada

May 19, 2022

Air Canada A220-300 C-GROV
Air Canada Airbus 220-300 C-GROV

CUPE’s Air Canada Component is pleased to see progress on an important pay issue for its members at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge. The union spoke out last week about how ground delays at Pearson Airport, have been resulting in members working for significantly reduced pay or for free, due to an outdated policy which paid flight attendants drastically less – or nothing at all – for their time on the ground. However, that has now changed.

Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge have just signed a memorandum of agreement with CUPE which will see ground duty pay related to “metering” – the process of managing air traffic in and out of terminals – at Pearson Airport escalated to 100 per cent.

“Making our members essentially work for free was simply unjust, and we’re happy to have the company come to the table, recognizing the issue and helping to rectify this injustice,” said Wesley Lesosky, President of CUPE’s Air Canada Component.

The memorandum also acknowledges the impact of the delays on flight attendants’ schedules, and establishes considerations for ensuring flight attendants are rested enough for their next scheduled duty after a lengthy unscheduled ground delay.

“This represents important progress for our members at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge, but we know we are not the only airline facing these issues,” Lesosky added. “We will continue fighting across our union to make sure all our members are paid fairly for their time.  No one should be working for free.”

CUPE’s Air Canada Component represents approximately 9,500 flight attendants at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge. CUPE’s Air Division represents approximately 15,000 flight attendants across nine different airlines in total.

Air Canada operates final cabin-loaded cargo flight, returning aircraft to passenger service

17 May 2022

Cargo loaded in the cabin of an Air Canada passenger aircraft that was temporarily converted for cargo use.

Air Canada has operated its final cabin-loaded cargo-only flight using its fleet of temporarily converted passenger aircraft. Flight AC7272, operated with an Airbus A330-300 aircraft, touched down in Toronto from Bogota on May 14 for what was the last cabin-loaded flight operated with a mix of Boeing 777s and A330s. The A330-300 aircraft will be reconverted back to passenger service to meet the return of global travel demand.

This final flight comes more than two years after Air Canada became the first passenger airline globally to go to market removing seats to double cargo capacity by utilizing the cabin to load additional cargo. That first flight, operated with a Boeing 777 that would normally carry more than 400 passengers, was on April 18, 2020, and its cabin was filled with critical PPE, including face masks, gloves, and gowns for healthcare workers.

In all, Air Canada would operate up to 11 temporarily reconfigured aircraft at the height of the pandemic.

The bold move to quickly reconfigure three Air Canada passenger aircraft initially was in response to the drastic drop in global passenger travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent dramatic reduction of the airline’s passenger schedule. While these curtailments were necessary, they also heavily impacted the urgent transport of goods that would normally be transported in the bellies of passenger aircraft.

With high demand for transporting critical medical and other vital supplies rapidly to Canada and then across the country in the initial phases of combatting the COVID-19 crisis, along with the ongoing requirement for reliable cargo space to ensure that cargo customers would have consistent access to international routes, Air Canada and Air Canada Cargo rapidly converted a mix of Boeing 777 and Airbus A330-300 aircraft that would otherwise be parked. Eleven aircraft were converted into temporary freighters by removing the passenger seats to enable transport of lightweight cargo in the cabins.

With passenger travel demand recovering and with cargo demand remaining high, Air Canada Cargo will now utilize a fleet of converted Boeing 767-300 freighters, two of which are now in service, with six more to come by the end of 2023. Additionally, Air Canada Cargo continues to utilize belly space on Air Canada’s globally scheduled passenger flights.

“Developing and sustaining this solution was an incredible group effort from many departments within Air Canada,” said Dotane Harel, Director, Regulatory and Operations Process Engineering. “These aircraft have considerably increased Air Canada’s cargo capacity in time of need. It is with mixed emotions that we see this chapter fold, and we’re looking forward to working with our new Boeing 767-300 freighters.”

Star Alliance celebrates 25th anniversary as the world’s first and leading airline alliance

  • The 26-airline alliance’s robust customer-centric vision is encapsulated by a new brand tagline “Together. Better. Connected.”
  • Continued focus on innovations in customer experience, loyalty, and technology.

SINGAPORE and FRANKFURT, Germany, May 16, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – Star Alliance and its 26-member carriers celebrated the 25th anniversary of the world’s first and leading global airline alliance on Saturday, May 14, 2022. This bold vision was established in 1997 based on a customer value proposition of global reach, worldwide recognition, and seamless service. It continues today by leveraging technology to foster a harmonious experience for customers.

Star Alliance celebrates 25th anniversary as the world’s first and leading airline alliance (CNW Group/Star Alliance)
Star Alliance celebrates 25th anniversary as the world’s first and leading airline alliance (CNW Group/Star Alliance)

“We reflect on the successes of Star Alliance in uniting the leading global airlines, with an eye firmly focused on a future where the customer continues to be at the heart of our work and our global network,” said Jeffrey Goh, CEO of Star Alliance.

“I am very excited for the innovations led by Star Alliance and our members carriers as we aim to be the most digitally advanced airline alliance offering seamless travel experiences with a unique loyalty proposition. This year, we look forward to further developments in seamless connectivity — such as new digital and mobile innovations — and exciting industry-first offers that loyal customers of our member carriers will welcome,” Goh added.

Together. Better. Connected. with Star Alliance

In conjunction with the anniversary milestone, Star Alliance and its member carriers will release exciting campaigns and customer innovations under the new brand tagline “Together. Better. Connected.” The new brand tagline captures the intent of fostering better human connections through the Star Alliance global network coupled with digital seamless connectivity.

“We have defined the way the Earth connects for years, and now more than ever, is the time to enable technology to provide seamless journeys and delight the loyal customers of our member carriers,” Mr. Goh said. “I am happy that “Together. Better. Connected.” — our new tagline — reflects that earnestly and is also future-facing. It will motivate us to do better.”

Among the key successes and future offerings upon which Star Alliance continues to innovate are:

  • To introduce a new partnership model that cements network leadership
  • To be announced an industry-first co-branded credit card in a regional market that will offer loyalty customers of member airlines the opportunity to earn miles and points with spends
  • Jointly adopted a sustainability statement with member carriers to commit to the industry goal of net-zero carbon emissions and consequent joint efforts on decarbonisation
  • Star Alliance Biometrics, launched in 2020, is now available across four major airports – Frankfurt, Munich and Vienna – with Hamburg added in April 2022
  • Expansion of the Digital Connection Service to augment the Star Alliance Connection Centres to aid connecting passengers at major airports and the airlines serving them. This service is currently available at London Heathrow and will expand to a key European hub soon.
  • Progressive ability to reserve seats and track baggage location on codeshare flights and multi-carrier journeys through the digital channels of member carriers
  • Award-winning Star Alliance lounge in Los Angeles and other premium lounges in Amsterdam, Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Paris, with new options for paid access being progressively rolled out.
  • Collection and online redemption of points and miles for award flights and upgrades across the twenty-six member carriers

Star Alliance innovations are underpinned by a robust and ever-evolving IT infrastructure that integrates the member carriers, coupled with more than 50 business practice standards and audit functions that place the customer at the center of the travel experience. On that basis, the Alliance has repeatedly won several “Best Airline Alliance” awards including the notable World Travel Awards, Skytrax World Airline Awards and Air Transport Awards which have recognised its positive contribution to the future of air travel.

About Star Alliance

The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance, based on a customer value proposition of global reach, worldwide recognition and seamless service. Since inception, it has offered the largest and most comprehensive airline network, with a focus on improving customer experience across the Alliance journey. The member airlines are: Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Air Portugal, THAI, Turkish Airlines, and United. Overall, the Star Alliance network currently offers more than 10,000 daily flights to almost 1,200 airports in 184 countries. Further connecting flights are offered by Star Alliance Connecting Partners Juneyao Airlines and THAI Smile Airways.

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magical Walt Disney World Resort 50th Anniversary-themed kid’s room at Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge in Toronto

Air Canada is continuing to bring the magic of the Walt Disney World Resort 50th Anniversary celebration to Canadians.

Now open and running until March 2023, travelers visiting the Air Canada transborder Maple Leaf Lounge at Toronto Pearson International Airport will be able to visit our new Walt Disney World Resort 50th Anniversary-themed kid’s room to share in the magic (#ACToTheMagic/#ACVersLaMagie).  Travelers will be able to enjoy Disney-themed activities in the room, and a photo-op corner with oversize travel items and magical graphics that allow kids and parents alike to begin imagining Air Canada as their direct connection to the magic of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Air Canada is thrilled to celebrate this new space in close collaboration with the Walt Disney World Resort. And as we said before, the magic won’t stop here, and we’ll be announcing even more ways for our customers to experience the magic of a Walt Disney World vacation.

In addition, the photobooth will be brought back to select airports in Canada this summer 2022. As a reminder, Aeroplan Members can redeem their Aeroplan points for flights to Orlando with Air Canada, or toward an entire Walt Disney World vacation package with Air Canada Vacations. They can also earn Aeroplan points on their flights when booking with Air Canada or Air Canada Vacations. Aeroplan credit cardholders can earn Aeroplan points even faster and receive additional airline benefits.

And don’t forget, members can redeem Aeroplan points for Disney merchandise and Disney Gift Cards starting at $100 CAD on the Aeroplan eStore.

Air Canada Promotion to Secure your 2023 Status with your Aeroplan credit card

Building on the status qualification offers Air Canada launched back in February, Air Canada has another exciting new Aeroplan offer to help member’s secure status for 2023. (As a reminder, last year, we extended Aeroplan Elite Status for our members until the end of 2022 to provide certainty in challenging times).

Here’s a special offer to maintain your Aeroplan status:

Offer – Members who earn 30,000 points through an Aeroplan Co-brand credit card* by November 30, 2022, will have their Status extended through December 31, 2023.

Further details:

  • No registration is required.
  • Offer period is January 1 to November 30, 2022 (points earned since January 1st are eligible).
  • Applies to existing Aeroplan Elite members who are also the Primary Cardholder of an eligible cobrand credit card.
  • Non-cardholders can participate in this offer if they open an account and earn the required number of points.
  • Earn can be combined through multiple cards if members hold more than one Aeroplan co-brand credit card.
  • Eligible spend by secondary cardholders will also count towards the eligible minimum earn requirement of the Primary cardholder.
  • Eligible Earn includes base and category accelerator earn of Aeroplan points on your eligible Aeroplan Co-branded Credit Card.
  • Exclusions: Welcome bonuses, acquisition bonuses or conversion points are excluded from counting as earn for this offer.
  • *All Aeroplan cobrand cardholders are eligible for this offer.
  • Elite Status Extensions will begin in June 2022, for members who already met the offer requirement. Please note, it may take up to 8 weeks for the status extension to be processed after the earn requirement is met. While Air Canada strive to expedite the Elite Status Extensions for all eligible members, this may result in a temporary loss of status for some eligible members in January 2023 while their extension is being processed.

For example, with a Premium card such as the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card:

  • Spend $24,000 on any purchase for 30,000 points (all purchases earn a minimum of 1.25x)
  • Spend $5,000 with Air Canada (15,000 points at 3x), $5,000 with dining/food delivery (10,000 points at 2x), and $4,000 with any other purchase (5,000 points at 1.25x) for an equal total of 30,000 points
  • Both would extend an elite status up until December 31, 2023

Or, with a Core card such as the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card:

  • Spend $30,000 on any purchase for 30,000 points (all purchases earn a minimum of 1x)
  • Spend $5,000 with Air Canada (7,500 points at 1.5x), $10,000 with gas / grocery (15,000 points at 1.5x), and $7,500 with any other purchase (7,500 points at 1x) for an equal total of 30,000 points
  • Both would extend an elite status up until December 31, 2023

For more information on how to reach Aeroplan Elite Status by earning a combination of Status Qualifying Miles (SQM) or Status Qualifying Segments (SQS) and Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD), please visit: https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/aeroplan/status/qualification.html#/

For a full list of terms and conditions, please visit: https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/aeroplan/promotions/status-requalification-cc.html#/tc

Offer landing page – https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/aeroplan/promotions/status-requalification-cc.html