days until our Collective Agreement expires, we are preparing, we are united and we will make change.

Hotel Committee Update – July 2023

We would like to take a few moments to fill you in on some of the updates related to hotel and ground transportation issues in our worldwide network.

As many of you are aware, the world has once again re-opened its doors to travel. Most of our previous stations have now become operational. Not unlike the challenges many of us face on board, our hotels and ground transportation companies are also experiencing operational difficulties such as staffing and supply chain problems. We would like to ask everyone to remain respectful, patient, and courteous when interacting with hotel and transport employees.

Unfortunately, while away from home emergencies and accidents do happen. We would like to take this opportunity to point out a variety of ways you can protect yourself. Once you enter a hotel take a few moments to look around to notice fire exits, extinguishers, and the emergency evacuation plan that is placarded on the back of all guest room doors. A couple of minutes invested in precautions means you will be better equipped should the need arise.

Always ensure you use all locking mechanisms on the guest room door. Prior to opening your door, please make sure you know who is on the other side. Please know that if someone claims to be a hotel employee, you can call the front desk to verify before allowing someone to enter your room.

Many hotels have multiple entry points, at night please use precautions and always use the main entrance. Keep your hotel key close in and out of your room, the safest place is a pocket, wallet, purse or in your room always use the same location i.e., bedside table or desk.

The energy crisis and new greenhouse gas reduction targets have forced governments in some European countries to introduce new laws. For the move forward you may find that many of our partner hotels will limit both heating and air conditioning temperatures. Each country is adapting its own temperature guidelines.  In the event that you are unable to adjust the heating or cooling system in your room, please contact hotel staff for help to ensure your room is comfortable.

Many of you have written to us with concerns related to the hotel sign in sheet, with crew members being listed in alphabetical order and the Service Director and Galley Position being at the bottom. Previously, the list was forwarded by Crew Scheduling to our layover hotels. This task has now been outsourced to API resulting in the change from a seniority-based list to one done alphabetically. We are in ongoing conversations with the company to have the list changed back to the previous format that is published in Globe. The committee will continue to update you as more information becomes available.

To date we continue to see a high number of displacements, which may impact your crew rest. This is due to multiple reasons such as hotel blackout dates, special events in cities limiting access to and from the hotel, construction, renovation, repairs, and job action, just to name a few. We have in place a back-up list for all cities in our network, which includes both downtown and airport layovers. It is the company’s responsibility to notify you of any change to your schedule and or layover hotel.

We have worked together with the Crew Administration team to secure additional inventory at all high-volume hotels in our domestic network during the busy summer operation. As we continue to experience operational challenges, this measure was implemented to cover any unexpected last-minute changes to our crew members schedules.

The Hotel Committee is a joint committee and we work together with other team members which include Crew Administration, Strategic Purchasing, ACPA and CUPE. All hotels in our network are inspected by the Committee and are required to be compliant in all areas related to both guest safety and security as well as guest comfort.

As a crew member you should expect a clean, quiet and safe place to rest while away from home on layover.

Some of the things that we can expect are rooms appointed in the most quiet areas of the hotel away from maids’ working stations, elevators, and vending/ice machines. Connecting rooms are only permitted in the case that the adjoining room is occupied by another Air Canada crew member. Generally, we have the expectation that only King, Queen/Queen or Double/Double inventory is allocated to our staff. To date there is no language in the Collective Agreement that prohibits twin bed inventory being used. Most of our hotels try to avoid allocating these beds to our crew members, however, there are some hotels in our system that have high levels of twin beds especially in Japan. This summer several last-minute additional flights were added to the schedule by our Marketing Department. This has resulted in operational challenges to our hotels, where they could not accommodate the additional numbers or were limited to using twin bed inventory. In some cases, such as Rome, we were forced to use a second hotel in order to meet our room number requirements.

We do realize that costs have gone up significantly everywhere. There is a complicated formula used to determine the meal allowances. It uses a combination of published NJC rates, CPI for food and non-alcoholic beverages and of course exchange rates. The outcome of the formula has to be greater than 5% in either direction for the allowance to either increase or decrease. This formula was agreed to as a settlement to a grievance filed by the pilots.

We would like to remind you that the Union’s official channel of addressing any of your concerns related to either accommodation or ground transportation is CrewCare. This is a valuable tool and helps us to identify and allow for changes if and when required.

Please know that CrewCare can be found in Globe > CrewScheduling and Planning. Your Hotel Committee is copied on and reviews all feedback as well each member receives a response via your Air Canada e-mail account.

In closing, we wish you all happy and safe flying, wherever your schedule takes you.

In Solidarity,

Melinda Allen & Karen Pritchard
Co-Chairs, Component Hotel Committee

Reminder on Bed Bugs and Reporting Procedures

Your Hotel Committee has received a higher-than-normal volume of concerns around bed bugs. We have investigated all reports, along with the Company, and today received reports confirming no bed bug activity. We thought it was a good time to put out a reminder on bed bugs and reporting procedures.

When you get to your hotel room you must use caution with your belongings. Assume that all hotel rooms are potentially infested. Never place anything on the floor. Use the luggage rack, and do not leave your suitcase open against the wall. Do not keep your belongings on chairs or sofas. If you have both a bathtub and shower, place your bags in the bathtub. Bed bugs cannot climb up porcelain and glass. Putting suitcases in plastic bags may not help unless they have an airtight seal.

You may find bed bugs often in tight dark spaces, on night tables, baseboards, dressers, headboards, bedding, beds, electrical outlets, carpets, rugs, picture frames, switch plates, inside clocks, phones, televisions, and smoke detectors. Thus, they can be found anywhere in an infested area, but they do not like plastic, glass, or metal. In cases of severe infestation, bed bugs may crawl onto and be carried by clothing, this type of behavior is not typical, one can almost certainly see the bed bugs.  You may find blood spots on sheets or black / brown spots on mattresses, bed frames or walls. They are mainly active at night, and their bites are not always immediately detected.

We urge you to familiarize yourself with what actual bed Bugs look like. This will avoid unnecessary stress if you see bugs in your hotel room. They are light tan in colour but turn dark-reddish brown once they have fed on blood. They have no wings (i.e., they don’t fly or jump). They resemble an apple seed. Before feeding the adult bed bug is about ¼ inch long and flattened. Once engorged with blood, it swells in size. Their flattened shape allows them to squeeze into narrow places in bed frames, headboards, bedside furniture, behind pictures, switch plates, and electrical sockets. Nymphs have the same shape as adult bugs but are yellowish white in color. Eggs are 1 mm long and white (nearly impossible to see).

As per Health Canada, bed bugs do not pose any major health risks, they are not known to carry any blood-borne diseases, and do not indicate a lack of cleanliness. It is important to note that everyone reacts differently to bed bug bites, some have no reaction at all, while others may have a delayed allergic reaction causing redness, swelling and itchy welts to the affected area.

What to do if you find bed bugs on a layover?
1. Immediately request to change rooms, preferably to one on a different floor.
2. Fill out an ACF34-C stating the hotel name, date and room number. Give a copy of the ACF34-C to your CUPE Health and Safety Committee representatives.
3. Fill out a Crew Care report via the Aeronet portal, print and give a copy to your CUPE Health and Safety Committee representatives.
4. If you have been bitten, fill out an ACF32-8 Injury Report. Give a copy of the 32-8 to your CUPE Health and Safety Committee representatives.
5. Wash everything upon your return home in hot water and use the high dryer cycle for at least 20 minutes. Luggage should not be forgotten and can be treated by immersion in 50 degrees Celsius + water in the bathtub for 20 minutes if the freezer is too full! Bed bugs die in temperatures of 0 degrees or less over a 48-hour period, your freezer could be of use for un-washable items.
6. Call a pest control specialist if you know or think you have a problem at home. A good one will perform a thorough and free initial inspection and provide an estimate that is guaranteed. Many pest control specialists will guarantee no re-occurrence for as many as 3 to 6 months after the first treatment which can save you hundreds of dollars if further treatments are needed.

For more information, click HERE to view a Bed Bug Fact Sheet and visit the websites linked below.

Government of Canada:

If you think you have been exposed to bed Bugs, make sure you fill out a Crew Care form.

In Solidarity,

Melinda Allen
Co-Chair, Component Hotel Committee

Vaccine Passports on Layover

Over the past few weeks some destinations that we fly to have instituted a proof of vaccination process to enter certain venues, including but not limited to restaurants and fitness facilities. With a few Canadian provinces now implementing similar policies and/or vaccination “passports” we would encourage all our members who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to carry proof of vaccination with them while on duty in order to have full access to restaurants and other amenities on layover.

For example, the province of Quebec, as of today, requires that out-of-province visitors must show photo ID and proof issued by their country or Canadian province that they have had two doses of one of the following recognized vaccines to access a variety of non-essential services:

  • Pfizer
  • Moderna
  • AstraZeneca
  • Covishield
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (only one dose required)

Take-away meal service and room service remains available to those not fully-vaccinated at all destinations, as do essential services.

In Solidarity,

Melinda Allen & Alex Habib
Component Hotel Committee