Airlines, Tour Operators Wrestle With New COVID Screening Guidelines

The very first day of the new COVID-19 tests policies was a chaotic one for Canadian airways and tour operators.

WestJet reported it experienced to deny 10 passengers from boarding a flight from Cancun to Calgary due to the fact they didn’t have the correct examination success for the virus. They had equivalent troubles with four travellers hoping to fly to Calgary from Maui, and three travellers trying to get from Las Vegas to Calgary, a spokesperson informed TravelPulse Canada.


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Air Transat said it had 8 travellers trapped in Holguin, Cuba searching for accommodations for the night time.

“As I’m writing this, I’m educated of 8 stranded prospects on our initial northbound flight of the day (HOG-YYZ). We are supporting them come across accommodation, tests and are adaptable with rebooking at no price tag,” Christophe Hennebelle, Vice President, Human Assets and Company Affairs for Transat, said in an email to TravelPulse Canada.

“Luckily plenty of, one of Transat’s strengths is crisis management, so we’ve been undertaking just that,” Hennebelle said. “We have identified screening services in all of our destinations and communicated them to our shoppers (wherever we could – it was not constantly probable to arrive at some flight-only prospects).

“So, we expect to be ready to restrict the damages. But we’re nonetheless dealing with it one particular flight following the other, and there are however come concerns (overbooking, scarcity of swabs and the like).”

Hennebelle claimed he hopes the federal government “will now present as much effectiveness and resolve to adapt the policies to make travel protected (as opposed to blocking it) and aid the field as they have demonstrated in applying this measure.”

WestJet said on Thursday that it could not board the Cancun to Calgary passengers because they did not have suitable exams that met the new authorities of Canada requirements.

WestJet spokeswoman Morgan Bell told Reuters that the airline has rebooked the passengers denied boarding on the Thursday morning flight from Cancun to Calgary, but mentioned the “situation even further highlights the problems vacationers and our functions are facing” from the new prerequisites.

Air Canada said it is supporting some passengers get the assessments.

“As predicted, we are going through some challenges with shoppers who have not met the new government tests requirements,” explained Air Canada spokeswoman Pascale Dery.

“Overall, the procedure is managing very well but, as expected, we are experiencing some challenges with buyers who have not satisfied the new Federal government testing demands,” Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick told TravelPulse Canada. “Our brokers are performing diligently to support afflicted customers get the needed assessments to fulfill the new procedures and rebooking them so they can journey as soon as doable.

“With new bulletins about travel needs for all travellers moving into Canada by air, ACV desired to make sure a harmless and clean return household for travellers by getting ready them with the details they required,” Fitzpatrick reported. “As quickly as the announcement was produced on December 31st, we despatched e-mails immediately to our prospects and travel brokers, informing them of the new prerequisites for re-entry, and posted these on to our website at several critical user touchpoints.

“We furnished all floor handlers and hotel associates with the up to date government directives, and a in depth list of regional facilities featuring PCR testing, so that they could share the details with any prospects previously at place in preparation for their return property. We posted the entire list of in-vacation spot tests facilities to ACV’s Fb website page for the trade to be certain that journey agents had the applications needed to respond to their customers’ requirements.

“We have also sent record of FAQs to our trade associates and we will retain updating and reminding buyers of the new prerequisite.

“Although we have no handle of the directives imposed by the authorities, or how data linked to them is rolled out, we fully grasp the relevance of supporting our customers stay educated,” Fitzpatrick mentioned. “We urge all travellers to visit the Government of Canada web page for the most exact up-to-day information, as we go on to update our have channels as the situation evolves.”

Sunwing COO Andrew Dawson mentioned the organization is wanting at furnishing testing at some of their lodges.

“Our desired destination groups are doing work with the accredited PCR screening amenities in each region in order to supply as a great deal assistance and direction as possible to our shoppers,” he reported. “One of these initiatives is to test to prepare for a certified nearby screening corporation to supply on-web site PCR checks at some of our well-liked resorts these kinds of as Royalton and RIU. In truth, we a short while ago performed a demo at Royalton Punta Cana.

“More details will be designed readily available to buyers in place if or when this provider is accessible,” Dawson explained. “In the meantime, our area teams and Sunwing associates keep on being at their service to suggest accredited screening amenities and assist with transportation desires, if essential. They also suggest that buyers e-book their PCR tests as before long as feasible to assure appointment availability.”

A spokesman for G Adventures reported they at this time have five Canadian travellers in Costa Rica.

“Our CEOs (chief knowledge officers) are helping them in acquiring nearby tests centres ahead of they depart, and no just one is stranded,” the spokesman stated. “We have not gained any info from Ottawa other than what has been issued publicly.

“Going ahead, we are going to be offering travellers with their tests choices on day a single of their tour. Travellers will need to have to get tested throughout the previous two days of their journey if they are flying straight household,” the spokesman said.

“If they have publish-evenings in the close town, they will very likely opt to get their screening performed in the that town prior to they depart.

Location promoting officials also have been having difficulties to cope with the new guidelines.

“We keep on to watch the ongoing surge in cases globally, and we figure out that the extra procedures from the federal governments aims to lower neighborhood distribute,” stated Peter Mayers, Canada’s Director of Barbados Tourism. “Admittedly, it seems these new procedures will further more complicate the travel procedure.

“However, we are inspired by the proactive character of our partners who are operating diligently with us to determine the best way to handle these adjustments and to minimize any displacement.”

Jeff Aspect, President at the The Journey Company Canada, reported the new procedures “will surely insert a new obstacle to the determination making process and a further barrier to travelling. All this actually does is make men and women postpone any present journey designs they have.

“We will see one more layer of pressure for all those vacation providers that are hanging on by a thread, specially the organizations who are intensely involved in wintertime solar vacations. We, at The Travel Company (TTC), will not be impacted as considerably, seeing as our holidays do not concentrate on winter season sunlight but we do not want to see any of our journey sector companions suffer.

“The impacts on travellers may possibly contain forgoing much needed holidays which a lot of depend upon for their well-staying (psychological / mental well being). If men and women sense they will need to escape and only can do it later on this calendar year, there will be restricted preference with likely higher selling prices when they do get to vacation.”

David Environmentally friendly, Daivd Environmentally friendly, VP Industrial, G Adventures, said the new requirement for travellers to supply a unfavorable COVID examination taken in just 72 hrs before arriving in Canada “will likely harm the recovery of our vacation marketplace.”

“The tourism business has been greatly afflicted and this has the prospective to discourage people from travelling, which could effectively be the government’s intention,” he stated. “If which is the circumstance then more demands to be done to guidance our industry. We are all in favour of COVID tests going on on arrival in Canada, and individuals needing to quarantine at residence though they wait on their effects, but the new ruling is one more knock to the industry’s restoration programs.”