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From Angus Reid Institute

Holiday Travel Chaos: Canadians blame airlines, weather, more than government.

Canadians unconvinced if fining airlines for failed service will help improve future outcomes

January 18, 2023 – The snowstorms that iced many Canadians out of their holiday travel plans, continue to leave airline and railway executives and politicians on the hot seat.

But new data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians as likely to blame the weather (70%) as the airlines and rail companies (68%) for the holiday travel chaos. One-in-three (33%) point the finger at the federal government.

A similar number (30%) blame the travellers for putting themselves in the situation. Those affected are most likely to blame the weather (54%) for dumping snow on their holiday plans, but they do so at a lower rate than those who avoided the travel snarls completely (71%).

The data also indicate strong desire from Canadians for more government regulation to protect consumers from cancellations (78% say this), but a mixed belief that the regulation already in place will have much effect. Two-in-five (44%) want the Canadian Transportation Agency to levy fines against the airlines who failed to uphold customer rights even if it means the companies raise airfares to cover them. One-third (34%) want the CTA to find other ways to hold airlines accountable for cancellations and delays.

Travel troubles have become an all-too-familiar phenomenon for Canadians. Last summer saw persistent delays and long lines at Canadian airports. To “learn lessons” from the summer, and prepare for the holiday travel season, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra held a summit with airlines and airports in November. Still, two-in-five (39%) believe Transport Canada failed to prepare for the holiday surge in travel. Two-in-five (43%) are more likely to absolve the government ministry and say the December travel mess was out of its control.

Who, or what, do you blame, if anyone, for these holiday travel issues? (All Respondents, n=1,611)

More Key Findings

Transport Canada

Those whose holiday plans were affected by the travel woes say Transport Canada failed to plan for the holiday surge in travel at higher rates (50%) than those who avoided the mess (36%).

Fines

Half (47%) of frequent travellers believe the CTA should levy fines against the airlines even if it means the companies raise ticket prices to cover the fines.

Customer Care

Three-in-five (61%) Canadians say major airlines and rail lines don’t care about their customers. Frequent travellers are more likely to disagree (37%) than others who travel less, but still three-in-five (58%) in that group believe the major travel operators are inconsiderate of their clientele.

More Travel

Two-in-five (43%) Canadians are planning to travel more this year as air passenger volumes have recovered, but still lag pre-pandemic numbers.

Survey Methodology

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from Jan. 6-10, 2023 among a representative randomized sample of 1,611 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.

For detailed results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.

For detailed results by frequency of travel and whether or not the respondent was affected by the holiday travel issues, click here.

To read the full report, including detailed tables and methodology, click here

To read the questionnaire in English and French, click here.

Image – Prashad, Unsplash

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From the Angus Reid Institute, Canada’s non-profit foundation committed to independent research.

For detailed breakdown of the results, visit angusreid.org

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