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Some travellers on edge after Air Transat flight attendants reject latest contract deal

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Leaving the Montreal-Trudeau airport for a sunny getaway with her three kids in the Dominican Republic, Andrée-Anne Fisette is trying not to think of her dream vacation being ruined.

Air Transat flight attendants are negotiating a new contract and the latest offer was just rejected by more than 98 per cent of members on Tuesday. 

"It’s certainly a negative … but we’re trying to stay positive," she told CTV News.

In November, the union received a mandate from its members to strike.

The union representing air transat flight attendants says 98 per cent voted against a tentative agreement.

About 2,100 Air Transat flight attendants have been without a collective agreement for more than a year and the union says salaries are the main issue.

"We’re not seeing a lot of panic yet, but there is concern," said Christine Latremoille, a travel agent with Uniglobe Dorval.

Latremoille said there has been an increase in concerned travellers since Wednesday morning.

The union representing flight attendants says in November, its members voted for a strike mandate that is valid until January 23.

"It is a concern. We don’t have a lot of carriers here in Canada and when one threatens strikes it has a big impact," said Latremoille.

Air Transat said so far, there are no strikes or lock out notices from either side, and that it wants an agreement in place.

"Someone has to be the first at bat in negotiations for flight attendants and, in this case, the first at bat is going to be Air Transat. They’re going to set the standard, they’re going to set the pace," said John Gradek, a former Air Canada executive and lecturer at McGill University's aviation management program.

The aviation analyst said the airline could train other staff if flight attendants decide to strike.

"But they don’t have a lot of cash to work with. Airlines are still pretty fragile. I think the airline would like to see a settlement rather than start to prepare for a strike," Gradek.

In the meantime, Fisette said she hopes once her 13-day trip wraps up, there won't be any issues flying home.

"I hope they'll be able to find a solution for us," she said.

Both Air Transat and the union resumed negotiations on Wednesday.

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