Canada’s Flair Airlines Disconnects Phone Lines For The Weekend

Canada’s Flair Airlines Disconnects Phone Lines For The Weekend

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There have been a lot of complaints lately about airlines having incredibly long phone hold times. Most airlines simply say “tough luck,” while one Canadian airline is shutting off its phones for the weekend.

Flair Airlines turns off phones, apologizes

Flair Airlines is a fast growing Canadian ultra low cost carrier. At the beginning of the year, the airline only had a few planes, while this year the Edmonton-based carrier is taking delivery of 13 Boeing 737 MAXs, so the growth rate we’re seeing is incredible.

It seems that Flair Airlines is struggling to respond to customer enquiries in a timely manner, so the company is taking an unconventional approach. Through Monday, July 19, 2021, Flair Airlines won’t answer phones, as the company instead focuses on the backlog of customer enquiries, and on tripling the size of its customer service staff.

As Flair Airlines Chief Commercial Officer, Garth Lund, describes this:

Demand for Flair flights has returned stronger than ever. We are thrilled that Canadians are choosing Flair and it is our privilege to make travel affordable for so many. As a result of this increased demand, we are currently experiencing extremely high call volumes.

In order to address all customer enquiries and catch up on the backlog, we have temporarily closed our phone lines until Monday. We are very sorry for this. Our current customer experience is not what you deserve, and not what we strive for. While our lines are temporarily closed please visit flyflair.com/contact-us and fill out the request form, this is the quickest way to reach us.

To address this, we are currently training new team members to triple the size of our customer care team and we are also working to provide more digital self-serve options. Through these efforts, we will be able to open our phones again on Monday.

Thank you for your patience during this difficult time, we will rise and meet this moment to provide you with the customer care that you deserve.

This is oddly refreshing…

On the one hand, it seems totally ridiculous for an airline to simply disconnect its phone lines for three days, especially as people are continuing to travel, and may need to rebook. At the same time, there’s something about this approach that I kind of appreciate:

  • The airline is acknowledging that customers aren’t getting the service that they deserve, and is apologizing
  • The company is focusing on responding to existing customer enquiries, rather than continuing to take new enquiries while others aren’t dealt with
  • Concrete steps are being taken to solve this issue, by additional support staff currently being trained

Many airlines have been struggling with staffing during the pandemic, whether it’s due to the need for people to constantly change tickets, or airlines laying off too many staff, and then seeing a sudden increase in demand. In the case of Flair Airlines, there’s the added challenge of the airline growing at a fast pace while all of this is happening.

Bottom line

Flair Airlines is struggling with phone hold times, and the company’s solution is to disconnect phones for the weekend. The airline will spend the next few days focused on responding to existing customer enquiries, and training new staff.

While this is no doubt an inconvenience for those traveling in the coming days, here’s to hoping that this proves beneficial in the long run.

What do you make of Flair Airlines’ approach to handling its customer service issues?

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  1. Lisa Barrett

    I have been trying for two days to reach someone at Flair. I have actually kept a log of my communication attempts. I have tried email, text, phone, Facebook messenger through their Facebook page, left several messages on their website. I have called their head office and even tried leaving messages on various extensions. I reached one employee who was rude and snarky and asked how I got her number. Even after explaining my dilemma,...

    I have been trying for two days to reach someone at Flair. I have actually kept a log of my communication attempts. I have tried email, text, phone, Facebook messenger through their Facebook page, left several messages on their website. I have called their head office and even tried leaving messages on various extensions. I reached one employee who was rude and snarky and asked how I got her number. Even after explaining my dilemma, her only response was to give me the same number I have been calling for two days. I have been on hold for a total of 12 hours and counting. My step-son will be travelling to Toronto from Thunder Bay on Saturday morning. His surname is incorrect. I want to have it changed before Saturday so he doesn't have any issued. This is not an option on their website/app. Does anyone have any ideas how I might be able to reach someone? I have been calling 855-936-5656. I am beyond frustrated at this point and vow to never book a flight through Flair again, regardless of the low cost.

  2. Amy peters

    I've been on hold since 8 am and it's now 4 30 this is ridiculous

  3. JANINE BAXTER

    I imagine a lot of these phone conversations centre around whether Flair will be travelling internationally out of YEG this winter season. If
    the Canadian government would set up rapid covid testing upon departure and arrival in Canadian hubs like almost every airport in the free world the economy can continue opening up and people can start travelling again.

  4. Val Nwakanma

    From what I am reading, coupled with my experience with this airline today, I blame myself for not digging a little bit more before booking to fly with this airline. Customer service is non existent. Can you imagine that this airline misplaced your carry-on luggage that was checked in, only for the staff to suggest that it was my fault not to have given my neighbour my spare house keys which is inside the misplaced...

    From what I am reading, coupled with my experience with this airline today, I blame myself for not digging a little bit more before booking to fly with this airline. Customer service is non existent. Can you imagine that this airline misplaced your carry-on luggage that was checked in, only for the staff to suggest that it was my fault not to have given my neighbour my spare house keys which is inside the misplaced luggage. As I write, I cannot access my house, cannot access my car and most frustrating, I cannot access my medication, all in my carry-on. Ama T. the airline Ottawa supervisor finally abandoned me and said to me " Too bad, I cannot help you, I have to go" That was when I realized I was in deep trouble. I tried to help myself, and asked my wife to drive to the Pearson Airport from Hamilton, where my flight originated. When she got there by 2:30 pm July 17.2021 after an hour/half drive from Hamilton Ontario, There was no single Flair airline staffer to talk to. As it stands, I have no idea how am going to get my luggage back, no body is taking my calls. Hard to believe that this can happen in Canada.

    If there is someone with similar experience, please advice.

  5. Willie Nayler

    Are they going to be outsourcing to a third party in India?

  6. Daniel

    Shut down the phone lines means people will show up at the airport and just stand in line for hours impeding the operation for flights that are scheduled to fly...just screwing themselves and the People over in different areas.

  7. Eskimo

    How does this broken logic even fly?
    When will businesses understand, we call because we have a problem we need you to solve for us. We don't call because we have nothing better to do. Reduce problem = Reduce calls.

    "In order to address all customer enquiries and catch up on the backlog, we have temporarily closed our phone lines"
    So if we shut off our phones, customers won't have problems added to...

    How does this broken logic even fly?
    When will businesses understand, we call because we have a problem we need you to solve for us. We don't call because we have nothing better to do. Reduce problem = Reduce calls.

    "In order to address all customer enquiries and catch up on the backlog, we have temporarily closed our phone lines"
    So if we shut off our phones, customers won't have problems added to backlog. True if you shut it off forever.
    If we don't test for Covid, nobody will get infected? Great logic.

    "To address this, we are currently training new team members to triple the size"
    You don't have to shutdown to train new team members.

  8. Jeff K

    As a business owner engaged in a fair bit of customer service & communication for a multi-team agency with a few hundred clients - if everybody learned proper written communication, write/log what they need with conciseness, and communicated everything over email rather than phone, things can actually get done 3x faster with very little mistakes. No more "you said" or "I thought I heard.." arguments or disputes. Everything crystal clear. I personally wish more companies...

    As a business owner engaged in a fair bit of customer service & communication for a multi-team agency with a few hundred clients - if everybody learned proper written communication, write/log what they need with conciseness, and communicated everything over email rather than phone, things can actually get done 3x faster with very little mistakes. No more "you said" or "I thought I heard.." arguments or disputes. Everything crystal clear. I personally wish more companies dealt with customer service inquiries ALL by email so I don't have to make a point to call during business hours, or have to explain the situation again when I get another agent on line. Written threads are easy to keep track, I can send it in at 10PM if I'm busy, and await an answer the next day.

    But that of course depends on the public's capacity to write cohesive sentences with proper written communication skills and that remains the biggest challenge for my business as well.

    1. Canadian Platinum

      It also depends on the ability of the business to reply to emails within a specific time period. My experience with businesses is that email communication is at the bottom of the pile.
      In my business we guaranteed a reply within 24 hours.

    2. Eskimo

      Because business email replies are "copy paste".
      Because business email can take forever if you expect an answer in 15 minutes.

      I agree it's 3x faster if the proper reply is only YES/NO.

      How big is your business, as in how many complaints, feedback, support calls/mails/tickets per day?
      You do thing differently if you have 1000s per day.

      And the biggest irony Jeff K?, soon robots will be responding to email just like...

      Because business email replies are "copy paste".
      Because business email can take forever if you expect an answer in 15 minutes.

      I agree it's 3x faster if the proper reply is only YES/NO.

      How big is your business, as in how many complaints, feedback, support calls/mails/tickets per day?
      You do thing differently if you have 1000s per day.

      And the biggest irony Jeff K?, soon robots will be responding to email just like how chat is today.
      You waste more time dealing with robots.

      You wish proper written skills from the public.
      The public wishes to speak to someone 24/7 with little hold time and uses ENGLISH as a their first language with no accent. And that remains the biggest challenge for talking to customer service as well.

  9. Stephen Morrissey

    Canadian airlines know as much about customer service as a Fijian knows about icebergs.

  10. Tim

    I called every day for 7 days in a row and waited for 1.5 to 3.5 hours each day and never got service. I've sent 2 email and not received a response. All I want is to reschedule some flights I had to cancel because of provincial flight restrictions. Very disappointed.

  11. Nate nate

    Is there a substantial difference between this airline shutting down lines, and Iberia telling you to call back later after 5 minutes on hold (and also saying their US phone lines are 24/7, but they only pick up during Spanish business hours)? They also don't respond to emails or "contact us" website inquiries.

  12. iflyfar

    These aren't direct FTE hires. All contract through a 3rd party and thus the reason you don't see any Flair job postings.

    1. griffinpaul

      Ah, I didn't know they contracted out this role. Maybe that is part of the issue!

  13. Mustafa moosavi

    Flair Airlines should hire staff.Call centre's are all over world.
    Cheap and reliable.
    Waiting for my refund.
    No answer yet
    Cancelled within 24 hours.

  14. TeaSpill

    Have you read about the lawsuit against flair by one of their investment partners? ☕️

  15. Paul

    Funny how I never see Flair having any job posting for Telephone Customer Service Agents, so who exactly are they training if they aren't hiring??? Their website still has no job postings for this role right now and hasn't in months. Something fishy here for sure.

    1. Zip Silver

      Their call center is almost certainly subbed out to a company like Alorica. Lots and lots of companies don't have in house customer service.

Featured Comments Load all 19 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Jeff K

As a business owner engaged in a fair bit of customer service & communication for a multi-team agency with a few hundred clients - if everybody learned proper written communication, write/log what they need with conciseness, and communicated everything over email rather than phone, things can actually get done 3x faster with very little mistakes. No more "you said" or "I thought I heard.." arguments or disputes. Everything crystal clear. I personally wish more companies dealt with customer service inquiries ALL by email so I don't have to make a point to call during business hours, or have to explain the situation again when I get another agent on line. Written threads are easy to keep track, I can send it in at 10PM if I'm busy, and await an answer the next day. But that of course depends on the public's capacity to write cohesive sentences with proper written communication skills and that remains the biggest challenge for my business as well.

iflyfar

These aren't direct FTE hires. All contract through a 3rd party and thus the reason you don't see any Flair job postings.

Paul

Funny how I never see Flair having any job posting for Telephone Customer Service Agents, so who exactly are they training if they aren't hiring??? Their website still has no job postings for this role right now and hasn't in months. Something fishy here for sure.

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