AC’s New Res System Is Up – Without Too Much Disruption
Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw
Air Canada stopped accepting bookings and changes to reservations for almost 18 hours through noon yesterday, as Canada's largest airline made the major transition from a 25-year-old legacy reservation system to the new Amadeus Altéa Suite Passenger Service System.
Such massive technology changes are never without pain, but so far the transition appears to have been implemented without too much passenger upset.
Shortly after noon yesterday, bookings were reopened using the new system, one familiar to many travel agents as it is already in use by many of AC’s Star Alliance and codeshare partners. Using the same system will make it easier for AC to view partner inventory and exchange pax information.
"We have now migrated to a new reservation system to improve your travel experience," the airline said in a statement on its website posted late Tuesday morning. "It is business as usual and reservation services including flight purchase and booking modification are available."
It wasn’t quite ‘business as usual’ for everyone. There are dozens of complaints on social media about glitches with the new system and the newly enhanced Air Canada mobile app. There are also reports of long waiting times on the phone for travellers who have been unable to make bookings or change reservations using the digital solutions.
Reflecting the growing role of social media in airline customer service, Air Canada is suggesting that pax should reach out via social platforms if they are experiencing problems: “If you can’t find what you need, please reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter. You can also call our Contact Centres at 1-888-247-2262, although customers are advised we expect higher than normal call volumes and longer wait times,” the website statement said.
The shift from the old ‘green screen’ res system was a necessary move, with countless hours of effort involved. Considering the record of major problems during major airline data transitions, it looks like this one has gone as well as could be expected.
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.