Now Reading
Air Canada Could Be in Hot Water Again Because a Flight Attendant Only Spoke English With a French-Speaking Passenger

Air Canada Could Be in Hot Water Again Because a Flight Attendant Only Spoke English With a French-Speaking Passenger

a large white airplane taking off

A French-speaking Quebec resident has filed an official complaint against Air Canada because the flight attendant serving the First Class cabin on a recent flight from Quebec City to Florida only spoke English… and Air Canada could be in hot water over the incident.

That’s because Air Canada is regulated by the Official Languages Act of 1969, and as such, it must provide service in both English and French at all touchpoints of a passenger’s journey.

But the airline is one of the most complained about organisations in Canada over alleged breaches of the language rules and the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages has even called for more powers Air Canada’s apparent inability to provide bilingual services.

In the latest incident, Jean-Pierre Beaudoin boarded Air Canada flight AC1688 to Fort Lauderdale with his wife and was addressed by the flight attendant in English.

Although Beaudoin is bilingual, he wanted to be addressed in French and expected this from Air Canada because it is covered by the Official Languages Act.

Beaudoin asked to be spoken to in French but the flight attendant allegedly fetched a bilingual colleague who explained that the crew members working in the First Class cabin only spoke English.

Then they offered Beaudoin a choice – either he could leave the plane or be served by a unilingual flight attendant.

“For me, it’s a matter of principle,” Beaudoin told TVA nouvelles after he reported Air Canada to Quebec’s language regulator.

Nowadays, Air Canada only hires bilingual flight attendants but the airline still has many unilingual flight attendants who joined when Air Canada acquired Canadian International Airlines in 2001.

The vast majority of complaints made against Air Canada are related to lack of service in French. The airline’s official policy is that a flight attendant must immediately seek assistance from a bilingual colleague if they can’t serve someone in their preferred choice of language.

In this case, Air Canada insists this is exactly what the flight attendant did.

“It is wrong to claim that the only solution was to ask him to leave the aircraft since the French-speaking staff members were able and available to serve Mr. Beaudoin in French,” a spokesperson for Air Canada has said of the complaint.

In 2021, more than 2,000 complaints were received by Canada’s languages watchdog after chief executive Michael Rousseau delivered a major speech in Quebec primarily in English.

Rousseau apologised for the gaff and promised to learn French.

In 2019, Air Canada was made to pay a French-speaking couple $21,000 in damages because its seatbelts don’t have the french equivalent of ‘LIFT’ printed on the buckle.

View Comments (29)
  • Ahh these pretentious, conceited, stuck up, prissy people demanding they only be spoken to in French when English is the official international language of aviation. Entitled jerks.

  • $21,000 for not having “soulever”? Score! But on principle, if you are a Canadian flying since 2001, it’s time you started learning our languages. Excuses for not learning are lame.
    Mais les Quebecois puet sucer mon cul aussi!

    • Maybe you should try and learn English, and put up signs in English in Quebec, since all of Canada has signs in both languages, Quebec is obe if the most racist places. You have an international airport in Montreal, and none if the signs have English in them, not until you reach the airport.

    • I have a learning disability making it extremely hard to learn other languages. I am being discriminated against due to my disability

  • Mr. Beaudoin and likes need to go beyond french language and accept the reality. Canada has completed a 54 year marathon. People of many languages & cultures lives in Canada where English evolved into language of choice for all. It would sily to change the 1969 act to add many other languages that Candians speak today.

  • Maybe there should be french only planes that only fly when the seats are full.This should put a stop to all of these stupid complaints.All of these idiots should be placed on a no fly list. Time for companies to show some backbone.

  • Its absolutely hilarious that some people feel the need to bash English. Especially when their ancestors are responsible for the language.. The English is a pigen language. It came to be because of the Norman Conquest (French) of England (who spoke German) and is the result of both languages mixing together (with a dash of church Latin).

  • Once again, The FRENCH prove beyond a SHADOW OF A DOUBT, That they are completely stuck up prissy-ass-wussies. This piece of dingleberry needs to be told to his face then I would do it if I would’ve been there. I would’ve leaned over and said this to him. “ listen Up Sport,
    English is the number one international language in the entire world. PERIOD. Furthermore, on all flights around the world, English is the number one language spoken among pilots on the entire planet. Furthermore, “ In 1951, the International Civil Aviation Organization recommended English as the exclusive language for radio communications in the airline industry.”. PERIOD!

    “ At the time in the mid-twentieth century when air travel was becoming more common, English-speaking countries dominated the design and manufacturing of aircraft, as well as much of their operations.

    “At a 1944 convention in Chicago aiming to resolve some of the problems of air travel at the time also established English as the language of aviation. The aim was to help avoid misunderstanding and confusion over the radio and between international crews.

    Although air travel is now much more widespread, with many non-English speaking countries participating in air transportation, English still persists as the language of the skies. Is English still a good choice? Well, there’s still a few arguments why English works in aviation.”

    “ For a start, English is a much-used language when it comes to international communications. It’s the official language of a number of major global institutions, it’s the accepted language of the scientific community, and it’s the most-learned language in the world.

    Of course, the most important thing is for all players in air traffic communications to be able to communicate clearly. It’s arguably unimportant whether that happens in English, French or Xhosa – the language itself is less important than its clarity.

    But in many parts of the world, anyone who wants to get ahead in life learns English. It’s not just the aviation industry that values English. Many people coming into the industry are likely to have found other reasons in life to learn the language.”

    (and for everybody that reads this online go to this link to read all of this, and a hell of a lot more pertaining to why “English is the number one required Language that all pilots language that all pilots have to learn and, all flight attendants, flight crews” , MUST LEARN!!),radio%20and%20between%20international%20crews.

  • When I drive into the province of Quebec the signs are in French only. But here in Ontario we are expected to post them in English and French. A bit hypocrisy there Quebec!

  • First world problem. As a Francophone, I find this petty behaviour ridiculous and pathetic. Both the passenger and an available flight attendant were bilingual. There is no issue. There are bigger problems out there…

  • This guy is an example of why French Canadians are universally hated everywhere. He could speak english and just decided to speak only in french “as a matter of principle”

  • Ce’est la vie….when I go to Quebec it’s hard to find anyone willing to speak English to me..let alone find an English sign to read. Cry me a river!!!!

  • I can’t agree more. Prissy people who think they are special and different. Why don’t Canadians just come off their high horse and stop insisting on special treatment, when we all know they are all just Americans? Who the phoque cares what the law or international treaties say? Why does a minority one tenth the size of the rest of the US population get to insist on separate symbols, currency, and border control? Why do they complain when too much content is “American” and force stations to not air American shows or music? When a Canadian lodges a dumbass complaint about too much American content, it is just so pompous and entitled. Who’s getting hurt? Tabernak!

  • Pompous and wasteful of people’s time and money. The audacity that he could communicate in English but is only interested in his entitlement. Shame on you Mr. Beaudion, for wasting everyone’s time on such entitled behavior. Stay in Quebec were you belong, so do not project your expectations on others.

  • Quebec French people are merde. They are the bottom of the barrel and their opinions don’t matter. Tu est merde, vous somme retarde. Liche ma boule est mon cul.

  • Dude wants to be addressed in French but going to Florida. Why not Paris?? Are there enough francophones in Florida to cater to his concocted principles?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2023 All Rights Reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to with appropriate and specific directions to the original content.