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Apr 27, 2022

Customer service problems continue to plague Transat - and entire sector - CEO says

Airline stocks are discounting lots of bad news, things should start improving soon: Cowen Research

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Transat A.T. chief executive Annick Guérard says the tour operator is working to improve the long phone-wait times and customer service frustrations plaguing the airline sector throughout the pandemic.

Following its annual shareholder meeting Wednesday, the CEO said she hopes the hours passengers spend on hold to get through to a service agent will be a thing of the past by summer.

Guérard acknowledged that customer service has not lived up to the "outstanding" standards the company tries to meet.

A source of frustration to thousands of Canadians over the past two years, the wait-time problem ranges across the industry as carriers cut staff and tried to respond to a flood of calls about cancelled flights and constant changes in COVID-19 restrictions.

Guérard, who took over as CEO in May 2021 — during the airline's six-month shutdown — also says customers should steel themselves for higher fares due to soaring jet fuel prices, which spiked after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Montreal-based company is trying to streamline operations and shore up its domestic network along with routes to sun spots and European cities as competition with Canadian and overseas rivals heats up amid resurgent travel demand.