One thing that is still around from the time of the early days of Covid is wait times with airlines. While some airlines have improved, some are really bad – I mean, really bad! One of those is Air Canada’s Aeroplan. But, they could change all of that if they made one change.
Air Canada’s Hold Times Could Be Much Shorter
It is sadly necessary that people share hacks like calling different call centers in different countries to bypass hold times, etc. for airlines in North America. The hold times for these airlines have had problems for a while but Air Canada’s hold times for their Aeroplan program seems to have gotten much worse.
My simply little fix used to be to call right at 7AM ET and I would be connected with an agent in less than a minute, since that was the time they opened. However, I had called a few times over the last few weeks to make a change to an award and ended up having to hang up because the hold times were so bad – even that early.
But, I really needed to make this change (change of airports for arrival to a nearer one since United had just opened up award availability for the exact number of tickets I needed) before it was too late so I made sure I could be on hold and started calling in just before 7AM to try and be the first caller.
Honestly, it felt like trying to get in to buy Hyatt points during the Daily Getaways, like I was trying to get one of the few packages available. I had to keep hanging up and calling back because the system said they were still closed. So, I timed it perfectly and had input my number just before 7AM and was routed to the call queue right at 7AM. Perfect, right?
No – I was on hold for over 30 minutes as one of the first callers of the day. I mean, how many people were doing just like I was to have to wait that long? When I was finally connected, to a fantastic agent, by the way, we kept getting interrupted while speaking because Air Canada was running some drill with their fire alarms that kept sounding every 2 minutes at very, very loud volumes.
Finally, after 60 minutes, I made my little change with the agent and was done. By the way, she said that most of the calls she takes are for award changes.
But, this was a phone call that I should never have had to make! Air Canada could drastically reduce the hold time for these calls if they would just implement online changes into their system. The agent I spoke with said “it is coming” but I have heard that for a while so I am not holding my breath.
Honestly, this change was so simple and easy that I could have done it online with United in less than 5 minutes all on my own (with partner airlines). In fact, last year, I was making changes like this online quite frequently due to shifting dates with Covid issues. With Air Canada? Nope, you have to call in – and then wait.
And don’t suggest Twitter! I am still waiting for a response to some DMs I had sent their team ages ago about change requests!
I am not expecting much from Air Canada on this because they still can’t get their website functioning like it should without errors and downtime. But, if they really put their time and focus into it, they could improve these hold times and improve the overall customer experience quite easily if they would just make the CHANGE button online go from a placeholder to an actual button.
Hey, at least we finally got the ability to book the Multi-City/Stopover online so maybe the change button isn’t too far away! 🙂
I totally agree with your experience and suggestion. I think the problem with the long hold times right at 7AM is that they are short staffed. Regardless, being able to change your award booking online without an agent is long overdue.