11 TPG staffers tried to call Aeroplan; Here’s what happened

Dec 6, 2019

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Air Canada switched to a new reservation system back in November. As we’ve been reporting, it hasn’t gone well. Unfortunately, while a technical update is complete, booking issues remain rife between Air Canada and Aeroplan, the operator that handles the airline’s award bookings.

Customers using Aeroplan who are trying to book award tickets, make seat changes or otherwise alter their reservations are still having trouble. Perhaps worse, Aeroplan’s phone systems appear to be completely overwhelmed.

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On Thursday, our attempts to get an agent failed. Ever the optimists, we had a bunch of TPG staffers try again at various times on Friday.

Sadly, we don’t have great news to share. 10 of us failed to get a human. One of us did manage to get through, but gave up after more than a half an hour on hold.

TPG global news editor Emily McNutt had trouble even getting to the recording, “At 10:22 a.m. ET, I tried but wasn’t able to verify the info associated with my account even though it was all correct.”  Travel and family director Summer Hull had the same issue: “Can’t get in. Says all my info is wrong. It isn’t.” Several others had problems getting Aeroplan to recognize their details too.

For those of us who finally got the phone line to ring, we got a prerecorded message from the ‘director of contact centers worldwide’ saying:

“Air Canada has recently adopted a new reservation system, and call volumes are higher than normal. Our agents are assisting other customers at present, and I apologize that we cannot place you on hold. If you are calling about travel in the next 72 hours, please try calling us later. We also invite you to consider booking online at Aeroplan.com. I apologize for the inconvenience, and thank you for your patience.”

The call then promptly disconnects.

Managing editor Alberto Riva had more success, but still wasn’t ultimately able to talk to anyone. “I tried the French call center, and got the same message — but unlike the English call center, it did not hang up on me automatically. I stayed online, and another message told me to press 4 to speak to an agent. I did. After 32 minutes of waiting (there is no callback option), I gave up. Bottom line: It is possible to get through to Aeroplan, in French. And then wait.”

That doesn’t sound like the best solution for most of us.

Unfortunately, the website is also not working particularly well either.

TPG’s own tests to book tickets failed several times. There appears to be a disconnect between Air Canada’s new back end system, Amadeus, and the processes that Aeroplan uses in order to ticket awards. From Aeroplan’s website, customers entering itineraries and searching for availability receive this message:

Today Air Canada apologized and told us in a statement:

We are working hard to reduce wait times as quickly as possible. Apart from anticipated call increases related to the new reservation system Air Canada cut over to at the end of November, we have also been experiencing higher than normal volumes due to earlier, unrelated initiatives that are making call activity hard to predict… we want to assure members we are working very hard to reduce hold times as quickly as we can, including through online options.

 

We will continue to follow this, and bring you more information as we get it. Meanwhile, we want to hear from you – especially if you’ve been luckier than we’ve been. Visit the TPG lounge to join the discussion.

Additional reporting from Carissa Rawson. 

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