Feedburner count

Air Canada

Star Half star Empty star Empty star Empty star
138 Reviews & Complaints

Most Popular | Newest | More Options >
More filter options:
From an Air Canada employee
Posted by Merlin111 on 09/28/2005
MONTREAL -- Foremost, I'd like to apologize to all Air Canada customers who had a negative/unfriendly/poor/bad experience with the airlines. And I know there are lots!

I, for myself, as an employee of Air Canada, realize and understand the frustration to be on a Air Canada flight and how for most part we care for you. Let say that from way up the corporation ladder starting with our president Robert Milton to the different departments(especially inflight service) under the corporate management, as employees we are being treated like s h i t...

I know some of you folks will be upset at the word but really you can ask Air Canada employees around and if they are just a tiny bit honest, they will tell you their true feelings for the company they work for. (and we are thousands..;)

For most part it is always a bad experiences for us also to deal with our employer like you customers when you get to board a flight with us. As customers, we know where you stand; you are just a notch higher than us employees. But really no one cares fo you that much!!!

We are all in the same boat here and as far as competetion (all our flights are full), We (Air Canada management) don't really care if you get service or not because money is rolling in the bank one way or the other and you don't have the choice anyway but to fly with us.

So it is a vicious cycle, and that as an employee sometimes we pass along to our customers. Most of our flights are short crewed compare to any other major airlines in the world with the exception to the United States.

When it comes to emergency procedures we are all fully trained and capapble however don't expect the same response as Air France evacuation at Pearson airport because there will be simply not enough staff to open all the doors for you to evacuate. And it is getting worst!

With goverment legislatons and lobbying by Air Canada to reduce crew complements on aircraft (more money in CEO pocket), service is certainly aiming to be less than today (you will be paying soon for pillows and blankets also) and safety reduce accordingly.

As for the environment, we are one of the biggest consumer of paper in today's world of paperless high technology (trees and trees are being cut just for the paper us at Air Canada that goes back every single day into waste bins). I was told by a pilot that we are the 2nd largest press in Canada. Headsets are not recyclable and are filling by millions our dumpsites, our land simply because Air Canada is not environmently friendly.

Every time we are sick (one day or 2 days or more..) we are required to have a doctor's note to show our employer and validate our sickness. Like when we were kids and prove to the principal that we were genuinely sick. As customers, do you know how much the health care system is taxed just by us at Air Canada. Someone ought to put a stop to this abuse.

As far as I am concern, I am just an employee here going to work doing the best I can working for one of the worst employer in Canada. So if you see me sometimes not smiling back at you, please don't take it personnaly because really it is not aimed at you.

I welcome any airlines in Canada (cabotage welcome) that will offer better service at better prices. I would be the first one to fly any other airlines than AC.

At AIR CANADA, we do not plan to make things better for you in the near future. I wish it would be otherwise but don't count on it!

Read 3 RepliesAdd reply

User Replies:Close comments

Posted by Ponie on 2005-10-01:
When did they fire you, merlin?
Posted by msflygirl on 2005-12-13:
I read the comments by merlin111 on 9/28/2005 (Montreal, and can confirm that this company (Air Canada) treats it's employees like dirt! I was a flight attendant, came down with Multiple Sclerosis and severe back pain, probably as a result of working under stressful conditions, and went on LTD. My benefit package included prescription coverage but AC had a "cap" on it which I exhausted. We are talking $1,000's of dollars a month for medication! AC suggested I take early retirement which would give me renewed coverage. I took that but then that plan which also had a cap became exhausted. Just after I took early retirement,AC gave regular employees a revised cap of $1,000,000 - 20 times what I had. They could have told me that when I considerd retiring as early retirement was only taken to secure prescription coverage - but they did not! They also did not tell me about an available disability retirement package but guided me into the regular early retirement package which has no cost of living clause - the disability package has! Again I was cheated! There is more - far more - but I do not wish to bore readers. The only other comment I wish to make is that I have been trying for 4 months to reach someone in AC about all this but they have chosen to ignore me! My union has helped but they too are getting nowhere with this unempathetic and callous ex-employer who treats employees like dirt and it's retirees like discarded baggage! (They created an Employee Service Center run by non-employees which intercepts ALL queries - none of which reach senior management - no tel no's or e-mail addresses are available from any source!) Try contacting them - see what I mean! If Air Canada treats their personnel like this then God help customers and travellers once they have paid their fare and stepped off the plande after a flight! You will be garbage too in the minds of these non-caring folks!! Maybe next time they should be allowed to continue into bankruptcy!! Yes I am bitter!
Posted by ZIGGY1234 on 2006-08-30:
msflygirl: Air Canada didnt care if I come into contact with SARS in 2003 and could die by not allowing me to change flight (ie not landing in hong kong during the SARS outbrerak) unless i paid a service charge of $150. I could see them treating you the way you described just to save a few dollars on their bottomline.
I wish you the best of health.
Close commentsAdd reply

Flying Standby
Posted by Exports on 05/23/2006
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- On most airlines, American, United, Jet Blue etc. you are allowed to fly on earlier or later flights on a standby basis without extra charges particularly on the return flight. My son flew from Edmonton to New York this morning through Toronto on Air Canada and wanted to spend a few hours with his grandparents in Toronto before flying back to New York. The Air Canada reservation agents who were spoken to said it would not be a problem and that he could fly back on a standby basis on a later flight without charge. When he tried to arrange this upon check-in this morning in Edmonton and then again in Toronto, the gate agents told him he cannot do it and told him if he wanted to fly standby later today it would cost him another $538.00 despite the fact that many of their flights this afternoon were half-empty.

Way to go Air Canada.....no wonder you are always on the list as one of the worst service-oriented airlines in the world. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!! We just love when you rip us off!! Oh, talking about ripoffs, it is wonderful to see you and American Airlines charging $ 750.00 and more for a round trip ticket from New York to Toronto!!! Where are you Jet Blue?????
Read 1 RepliesAdd reply

User Replies:Close comments

Posted by travelman on 2006-05-23:
Right on! Air Canada did the same to me three times! Montreal-New York, Toronto-Vancouver, and Chicago to Toronto. I try to avoid them at all costs!! Their staff is absolutely the worst of any airline with the exception of the defunct Eastern Ailines. Let's try to put them out of our misery....Bring back CP and Nordair....we miss you!
Close commentsAdd reply

Air Canada Left Us Stranded in Australia
Posted by Rescue Buoy on 03/06/2006
My wife and I flew Air Canada to Australia this month. We were going to Australia to represent Canada at the World Life Saving Championships. Unknowing to us, and not written on our itinerary from Air Canada, we had to pass through the United States (Hawaii) for a re-fueling stop. My wife is traveling on an older Irish passport that is non-machine readable and this caused us a lot of problems when we had to pass through US Immigration. There is a new law in the US that denies entry of all holders of non-machine readable passports into the country! We almost weren't allowed to carry onto Australia because Air Canada hadn't bothered to inform us that we were stopping in the US! Luckily, my wife was granted a temporary 14 day visa in which she had to sign her life away (e.g. signed papers that acknowledged she was not entitled to a lawyer should anything happed while she was in the US!).

We spent the first two days of our trip to Australia fighting with Air Canada over the phone about how we were going to get back home! This was all going on while we were trying to prepare for our competition! Air Canada were telling us that we had to go and visit either the US or Irish embassies to arrange for either a visa or new passport - none of this was feasible given the fact that we were trying to get ready for an international competition and represent Canada! Finally, after several phone calls we convinced AC that they should re-route us back to Canada. They did and it turned the 33 hour flight into a 48 hour + flight that had us go through New Zealand and Japan!

After all of this occurred we were both angry and ashamed to be associated with an airline that has such poor customer service and carried the symbol of Canada around the world! I will use up my Air Canada points generated from this trip and will fly Air Canada one last time - I will then cut up my AeroGold CIBC card up and will be done with the airline for good.

No more Air Canada for me!!
Read 3 RepliesAdd reply

User Replies:Close comments

Posted by Hugh_Jorgen on 2006-03-06:
You knew before the trip there was a passport problem - have you at least fixed it by now?
Posted by Doe3001 on 2006-03-31:
If you plan to use an online travel agency like EXPEDIA, think again: These online travel agencies suck. I’m spreading my horrible experience I had with EXPEDIA. Pleas read my case to avoid being the next victim of EXPEDIA:


and http://www.my3cents.com/showReview.cgi?id=12466

Good luck travelers;
Posted by llodge on 2006-07-10:
It is really amazing that they are so callous in their care for you and your wife. Their actions stink of a poorly managed company that has a very short sighted view on potential corporate prosperity. And to think the Canadian government, with Canadian tax dollars, bailed them out when their poor management abilities almost grounded the airline.
Close commentsAdd reply

Not Allowed To Fly - I Am Disabled
Posted by Castlemeadow on 01/02/2006
VANCOUVER, BC -- AIR CANADA – to Los Angeles – NOT!

Attempt to travel to Los Angeles from Vancouver on New Year’s EVE via AIR CANADA was ended when the pilot had me removed from the plane. It was his decision that I needed a medical certificate to fly after having a coughing reaction to perfume as we just started to back out after the plane loaded. I had fully recovered – was seen to by AIR CANADA STAFF and by ambulance paramedics who agreed that I was fine but the captain of AIR CANADA FLIGHT 554 on December 31, 2005, decided that I would not fly on his plane. That began another host of unfortunate events which saw not only that I did not have my vacation, but that I did not return home until almost midnight without having had any meals or beverages (except a coffee with Danielle, the only saving grace that AIR CANADA can claim), no access to my medications that were in my luggage, and not much empathy from a clearly overworked and very tired staff.

I booked my ticket through Air CANADA’S WEB SITE and since there is no avenue for identifying my special NEEDS, I SPOKE TO A TICKET AGENT by telephone AS I BOOKED IT SO I COULD MAKE SURE I COULD BE SEATED WITH MY ATTENDANT, LET THEM KNOW I USED A WHEELCHAIR FOR MOBILITY, AND THAT I WAS EXTREMELY ALLERGIC TO PERFUME. This information was, as far as I know recorded in my file. When we arrived at the first counter, I again let them know about my special needs and my allergies. I wear a double medical mask to protect myself as best I can from inhaling the particles. At Vancouver Airport all passengers are forced to go through the DUTY FREE store in order to go through Customs where there are many perfume molecules in the air, so this is the first place my lungs became agitated. At the counter at the gate I once again identified my problems and special needs to the agent at the desk who said to make sure to let the purser know. Since I use a wheelchair, I promised I would tell the staff when I was preboarded. I immediately let the staff know and they seemed accommodating. At every turn I was honest and informative with Air Canada staff letting them know what might happen and that I had medication to handle the situation should it arise - and that I may need Emergency Oxygen should the reaction be severe. I even explained a previous experience to one flight attendant. She nodded in understanding. It was not until one of last three passengers boarded that I experienced some respiratory distress, took out my ventolin, coughed (as I do when reacting) and chewed a Benadryl. The flight attendant asked if she could help and I said Oxygen would help (as it clears the chemical from my lungs, and is not the systemic and dangerous jolt that epinephrine –the epi-pen, would provide- which is really more medicine that I needed for that reaction). Within seconds I was fine… but the decision to end my flight was made. My holiday was ruined and the flight of the rest of the passengers was delayed while that poor decision was made.

Danielle, an Air Canada ground employee, decided to try valiantly to save my holiday, but was given wrong information by her own company all along the way. First she was told that my family physician could FAX in a medical clearance so we managed to get hold of the doctor, get her FAXED the necessary forms, which she prepared to FAX to the MEDICAL DESK at AIR CANADA. After wasting my doctor’s time and energy, it turned out she would be required to examine me again at that time to determine my fitness to travel, which was not feasible since I was at the airport and she was a 4 hour round trip away (and it was New Year’s EVE!) Meanwhile, the medical clinic at the airport which had been open when this fiasco began was now closed so that option disappeared while my poor doctor was attempting to get clearance for me. More phone calls were made. A promise was made to let my traveling partner know I would be coming to meet him the next morning – he did not receive any messages from Air Canada when he deplaned in Los Angeles – nor did he get any message on the flight before he deplaned. He had no idea they were working on saving the vacation for me.

By this time all the walk-in clinics in Richmond had closed and I had to go to Richmond Hospital Emergency Clinic to get clearance to fly. I arrived there at 4:30 and saw a doctor at 6:15 and had the needed note in my hand by 6:30. Danielle, from AIR CANADA, had arranged for me to stay for $82.00 plus tax at a nearby hotel so I could fly out in the morning. I agreed that it might be a worthy investment to save my holiday. AIR CANADA did not offer to pay this expense. The hotel was near the hospital but it was raining and cold and dark so I could not wheel myself to this hotel. Wheelchair taxis were averaging over an hour wait. The hotel said they would come and pick me up. I had a contact at the hotel named HAYMAN who kept promising they would pick me up shortly – I communicated several times with him by cell phone – which meant I had to exit the hospital into the cold night air as cell phones are not allowed at Richmond hospital. I also was now unable to get hold of anyone at the MEDA desk number DANIELLE had given me for AIR CANADA – I just got a recording every time I called. (My cell phone records will document all my outbound calls.) If I did fly out, I would have no way of connecting with my partner…I phoned the hotel again -I finally gave them my cell number – still no one came – at 8:30 I called again in tears and was given the hotel manager who said he knew nothing about it and would send someone – I asked them to bring my luggage to the hospital then phoned my son to come and get me and take me home to Anmore. I arrived home just after 11:30 PM.

Read 7 RepliesAdd reply

User Replies:Close comments

Posted by Ponie on 2006-01-03:
I've read this letter several times and hesitated to respond. I was afraid I'd come off as being insensitive to the disabled. I'm not. I go out of my way to assist anyone who is disabled. But, I think you're asking too much. Everyone involved did their best to accommodate you, yet you lodge a very detailed complaint. Why do you expect the rest of society to jump through hoops because you have a disability? I think you're selfish and have a 'poor me' attitude. Where can you go in this world without encountering someone who uses perfume, cologne, etc.? I have that blasted allergy to shellfish, so don't go into a seafood restaurant for dinner. I think it would be best if you stay within the confines of your own home and live in a bubble.
Posted by spiderman2 on 2006-01-03:
I don't think you are allowed to bring your own oxygen on airplanes. They will provide it for you (at a cost). Also, people that have certain medical conditions that make it hard to breathe, will be exacerbated in the air. I'm sure this is why they wanted this passenger to have medical clearance. I know it inconveniced this person, but if there would have been an in-air incident, can you imagine the lawsuit!
Posted by CrazyRedHead on 2006-01-04:
Also, why would you put you medication in your luggage? Why not keep it with you in a carry on bag?
Posted by llodge on 2006-07-10:
All I can say is what a disgrace. The management of Air Canada should be ashamed, not to mention the flight captain. I am very sorry for your pain and frustration.
Posted by judyblucky on 2010-02-07:
I am disabled with Cerebral Palsy and I feel for you but also at the same time the pilot was right to return you to the gate.Imagine what he may have faced if you didn't recover or if somebody around you decided to break out a fresh bottle of channel #5.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-02-07:
The pilot has every right to deny ANYONE they feel is either a danger to the passengers, the plane, or possibly in need of medical attention. Think about it. What if you are in the air, and someone sprays some perfume. You could literally DIE before they could land. Then imagine the lawsuits your family would file for the AIRLINE'S negligence.

And think about this for a moment. A few years ago people were flying with simple colds and coughs...which turned into a pandemic called SARS. I am sorry, OP, but when I am on a plane, I expect the pilot to care more about my life than your feelings.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-02-08:
What they say is true. If I were the captain, the minute you told teh attendants that you might require oxygen, I'd have sent you packing too. Knowing the problems that you may have, why wouldn't you have done all this beforehand?
Close commentsAdd reply

Air Canada's Bad Customer Service
Posted by Shongu on 03/20/2005
TORONTO -- I have found Air Canada to be quite distant from its customers especially if something goes wrong with their service. Basically, they do not have the infrastructure in place to connect you to a thinking, empowered, empathizing human being who can put you in the loop and sympathize a little concerning your plight. There are exceptions, but they are not available through "normal" channels.

First and foremost, their call center system is downright useless. As you repeatedly call for an update on your lost luggage, it begins to dawn on you that the call centre has been outsourced to someplace on the other side of the world (probably India), and is being manned by a roomful of people who sit in front of computers running WorldTracer (which you can access yourself in a limited way on the web), whose status reports are vague one-liners, ususally something like "tracing continues --please try again later". Of course all these people can do is quote the screen and politely ask you if there is anything else they can do for you in their fake american accents. Asking them to think the situation out is hopeless. They have no idea where your baggage could be. They are absolutely terrified of commiting to a hypothetical scenario lest it come back to them. They have no real thoughts outside of that WorldTracer screen. And they conveniently can not call their supervisor nor make any calls to other Air Canada departments. This is what I mean by no empowerment. You get the feeling that they are waiting for the bags to come back to them like a lost puppy. It begs the question: What tracing? Waiting on your rear end twiddling your thumbs until someone else corrects your mistake for you is not tracing. Because they are disconnected from the rest of the company, you feel REALLY disconnected.

In the end, the best thing you can do, though it is not much better, is to try calling the relevant airports. You can only hope that you speak their language or they speak yours. Anyways, it is something that the call center people are not allowed to do, so you might as well give it a try. Ask for the various lost and found departments. The most helpful person I talked to was the person I talked to at Toronto's Pearson International Airport (www.gtaa.com) who was a real live human being who was capable of sympathy, an overview of the situation with possible scenarios (just for reassurance -- not asking him to commit to it) and, in the end, a bit of optimism from past experience. He was even able to check the lost and found just in case the tag had come off the bag or something. It wasn't there but at least he tried. Though he should not be, he is the exception at Air Canada.

Their polished exterior is like a fresh coat of paint that is meant to try and hide the rust holes in the company. Just the other day a friend's flight was delayed. Their website (www.aircanada.ca) could not keep up with the changes in arrival times even though the information was promptly available at the airport's webiste (www.gtaa.com), thank god. Sure their website LOOKS good...but does it DO anything useful for paying customers under the pressures of ever-changing schedules which are, admittedly, the norm in air travel.

Of course, I have flown Air Canada many times and the flights themselves are fine. I am under the impression that the front line staff of Air Canada are top notch. It is away from the front line that they lack competence and even a sense of what is happening on the front line. The disconnect leaves a bad taste in the mouths of customers and it does not honour the efforts of the people who are out there busting thier humps to make air travel possible.

One last comment...Has anyone else noticed that the ombudsperson's website for air canada is completely unlinked from their main website? There does not seem to be a way to navigate, via links, from www.aircanada.ca to http://www.ombudsman.aircanada.ca/ombudsman/welcome_e.html. , possibly the one department that can be helpful to customers.

Or is that the point?
Read 2 RepliesAdd reply

User Replies:Close comments

Posted by wonder on 2005-06-20:
probably they need to get into internet pharmacy business where no address or phone number or physical address is required. All they need is your money by credit card. Canada is really really in bad state of economy, how they can answer your calls, and how they can have more human being for your personal sympathy.
Posted by honkytonkstar on 2005-08-16:
Stumbled across this post since I was looking for people who had the same experience. I had EXACTLY the same thing happen to me. Lost luggage, no assistance, cust svc reps who did not give a damn, uneducated, unable/unwilling to assist etc etc.
Next step: write a letter to AC and complain. Let's see what happens...
Close commentsAdd reply

No customer service
Posted by Frequentflyer99 on 10/29/2010
I cannot believe Air Canada has no Customer Service person you can contact to resolve problems. After travelling with Air Canada for many years we have slowly switched air carriers through the years. The service on other airlines far surpasses Air Canada's we have always had great response with West Jet.. If they loose your luggage they give you no hassle will even give you a credit if you pick it up at the airport. Air Canada on the other hand is very good at saying no and we cannot help you. I have a complaint which I would like to resolve by speaking to someone as it involves supplying different types of information but am faced with people saying that there is no customer service person which I can talk to. I must first send in a complaint by fax which is kind of a last century thing. Who has a fax anymore? Then they may contact me. Good luck everyone if you have any complaints. I feel it is ignorant that you cannot have a telephone conversation with someone in this day and age with the economy the way it is. I am so glad there are other airlines.
Just thought I would share my dissatisfaction. Hopefully the better carriers Win in the end or they change their policy. I was told they took away there customer service phone line 20 years ago by a manager in MTL.
Read 1 RepliesAdd reply

User Replies:Close comments

Posted by Ytropious on 2010-10-29:
Wow 2 Air Canada reviews one right after another...

That's a little odd.
Close commentsAdd reply

Poor Customer Relations
Posted by Mike633 on 07/19/2010
My daughter flew out of Grande Prairie AB today via Air Canada & its local connector Jazz Air. When she went to check in the check in person, who wasn't wearing a name tag, told her her bag was a bit over weight. She made my daughter open her suitcase at the check in counter, with every one in line watching, and made her take out a light grey hoodie jacket. When my daughter asked her why she was making my daughter do this, the reply was, " I'm trying to save you some money damn it!" My daughter took the hoodie out and put it in her carry on. This removal of a 1 pound item made her baggage suitable to go on now. After my daughter got her boarding passes, she found that she only had 2instead of 3. She got back in line and when she finally ended up at the check in was told " You have to get that in San Fransisco", and then told my daughter to move on so she could help another customer. My daughter made her flights, with United in Edmonton getting her her pass that was missing. My wife phoned Air Canada and related what happened. The Air Canada representative told us to make a complaint, because this kind of customer service wasn't appropriate. The representative on the phone and the people at United in Edmonton were more helpful and explained what was happening better then was done here in Grande Prairie. I think the next time we fly to the US we'll drive to Edmonton, park the vehicle at the Park & Ride and fly from there rather then from here, or else fly Westjet.
Read 5 RepliesAdd reply

User Replies:Close comments

Posted by Anonymous on 2010-07-20:
So you are complaining third hand that Air Canada helped your daughter out which saved her some money? I guess your daughter got back in line for her boarding pass for her return trip and this was Air Canadas fault also?
Posted by Ben There on 2010-07-20:
Sometimes airlines can't issue all of partner airline boarding passes for some reason. As long as you have a seat assignment and bags checked all the way through there is no real downfall to getting boarding passes in another city except for waiting in line at the gate.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2010-07-20:
Seems like the agent did everything right and by the book (except language maybe) to help someone who is unaccustomed to flying. This should be a compliment.
Posted by Mike633 on 2010-08-31:
My daughter was flying from Grande Prairie (a very small airport with 2-3 gates...TOTAL) to Edmonton, to San Francisco, to San Diego...thus requiring 3 passes. Her return flights (San Diego-San Francisco-Calgary-Grande Prairie), were 8 days later. Nowhere in my statement did I say anything about it being "Air Canada's fault." So, chevyfan12345, you guess wrong?
My complaint, if you read it completely, isn't with Air Canada as a whole, but rather with the two agents that I saw and heard treat my daughter with a total lack of respect, and with misinformation in the Grande Prairie airport. Telling her that her bag was overweight, forcing her to remove one item in front of a line of people, not off to the side (commenting on what was inside the suitcase was rather disrespectful, too), and because of that, holding the line up, and letting everyone get a good look at what was in the suitcase). If the bag was so overweight, that a one pound hoodie being taken out made all the difference, I would have thought the suitcase would at least be labeled as heavy, since it was so close to the limit, but that didn't happen. Which makes me wonder if the agent thought that because it was within 15 pounds of the limit, that was "too close." Another person in line got angry as well, because the agent who embarrassed my daughter, also wanted to see what was in "the diaper bag" -something that security should ask, not a ticket/check in agent. We are accustomed to flying, so this treatment was both unexpected and frustrating. Flying is stressful enough, without cursing, and incompetence. The fact that my daughter was told that she would have to pick up her luggage in Edmonton and San Francisco had her scratching head as well, because Edmonton loads the luggage on international flights as a courtesy, and with the 2 passes, my daughter received her barcode stickers for her checked bag. Again, since we are not unaccustomed to flying, we know what these stickers are for, and when she asked in Edmonton if she had to get her suitcase in either or both Edmonton and/or San Francisco, if the stickers meant something new since the last time she flew a few months prior, the agent in Edmonton laughed and said no. And also apologized for the agent(s) in Grande Prairie. Perhaps it was their first or last day on the job, but when my daughter got to Edmonton, and relayed what occurred, Air Canada was apologetic and helpful. United, as always, was more than helpful. On her departure flight from San Diego, United somehow managed to give her the correct information, and ALL her boarding passes at once, despite not all her flights being with their airline.
And I'm sorry, in no way would I ever consider that language, attitude, disrespect, and ignorance a compliment.
Posted by shamia72 on 2012-11-28:
don't like air Canada customer service .i would never fly with them again
Close commentsAdd reply

StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Medical Emergency Surgery, and Not Able to Get a Refund or Credit With Air Canada.
Posted by Mbsondergaard1 on 06/29/2013
OUT OF FT MYERS, FLORIDA -- My husband and I purchased tickets to Copenhagen from Raleigh NC, flying on June 16th. We booked this flight way in advance to Coinside with my granddaughter's graduation in NC. He is Danish and we take this flight or one like it every summer. On the 12th of June I found out I had to have exploratory surgery for blockage of the common bile duct. This was scary but what happened next was actually worse.

We had originally tried to book our flight through Air Canada but because they had been located through Orbits we were referred by by Air Canada back to Orbitz. When I called Orbitz to get the refund I was on the phone to India for nine hours. We were in the car driving so I just let the phone sit beside me while they screwed around. Orbitz said Air Canada would not give me a credit even though I had a doctor's written excuse. Air Canada said it was Orbitz that would not give the credit. Orbitz could not call me back while they chatted with AirCanada because they said they could not call out. I had to wait on the phone with awful music playing. Air Canada was not reachable. My husband has repurchased his ticket through Air Berlin. Paying for it himself. I am still not able to fly but plan to go to Denmark Aug. 1st. My husband and I are out $2600 because I had to have surgery! I would think this was illegal. They might have refunded my money if I could choose a change of time right then, before the surgery before I knew if I had cancer, before any of this they wanted to have me commit to a date of travel. This is just silly. I have a written excuse from the referring Doctor and the surgeon, both were sent to Orbitz and to Air Canada. I will absolutely never use Orbitz again and I am pretty sure Air Canada is also off my list unless they manage to come up with a refund.

Amazing enough they called this customer service!

Read 3 RepliesAdd reply

User Replies:Close comments

Posted by Ben There on 2013-06-29:
Most airline tickets are nonrefundable regardless of how or where you buy your tickets, even if unexpected events like surgery arise... airlines will just remind you that they do offer refundable rates (even though they can be hundreds/thousands more more ticket).

You normally can change your travel dates - as long as you stay on the same airline and travel within the year. The fees start at $200 to $300 plus any increase in fare... this option does not do much good if you are not ready to pick new travel dates.

I know this does not help in this instance, but you might want to purchase travel insurance, as it is intended for issues like this when airlines and travel companies will not bend the rules because of medical issues. I recently had to cancel a trip because of a traveling companions emergency surgery... It was not hassle free - we had to fill out lots of paper work, get doctors statements, send copies of credit card bills, etc... However, we did get a check for the cost of the trip when all was said and done so it was worth all the hassle.
Posted by bee on 2013-06-30:
This is what happens when you buy a non-refundable ticket. Unless you purchased travel cancellation and interruption insurance, non-refundable means just that. You can change the dates at a cost (usually anywhere between $150-$300 per leg of trip plus the difference in cost if the dates chosen are a significantly higher cost for the flight)

This isn't Air Canada or Orbitz fault.
Posted by custrelguy on 2013-06-30:

My name is Shalon, and I am part of the Orbitz Customer Relations Team. We want to learn more about your experience so that we can address the issue. Please email us at socialnetwork@orbitz.com and enter my name in the subject line, so that I can investigate further.

Thank you for your patience, and I look forward to hearing back from you.


Orbitz Customer Relations
Chicago, IL
Close commentsAdd reply

StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Posted by Cait55 on 06/12/2013
Called NUMEROUS times and NOBODY picks up ANY of the phones ever. I don't understand this at all. They are making major cuts through out the company so I am certain this is due to that, but are there no emplopyees to answer the phone?
Read 1 RepliesAdd reply

User Replies:Close comments

Posted by ADRIANA ECKERT on 2013-07-10:
Close commentsAdd reply

StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Deplorable Treatment
Posted by Skgkcraw on 02/27/2013
CALGARY ALBERTA, ARIZONA -- We booked our flights only a few weeks before flying. We were never informed of any policy regarding medical clearance. I clearly told every person I spoke to, the booking agent, and the subsequent 2 phone calls I made about my allergy. No mention of the fact that I need to take some action prior to flying was ever passed along. I was made to feel as if we were a huge inconvenience. A stressful situation was made extremely horrible because of the complete failure of the staff. I felt like I needed to pass this information along, although judging from other posts regarding Air Canada's customer service, I doubt it will be given any consideration. I am sure you have heard this before, but I will never give you my money again!

Just a note: Any allergy can become life threatening at any time without prior notice. Any person who has even had a mild allergic reaction to nuts, milk, eggs etc. can go into fatal anaphylactic shock the next time they are exposed. New allergies can occur at any time as well. On your site, when you say people with "severe allergies", you are misinformed about allergies. If you have qualified medical doctors reviewing the information, then they are misinformed. Ask an allergist or allergy specialist. Although I have never had anaphylactic reactions to nuts on a plane, it does not mean that I can be complacent. The only thing I realized after this atrocious situation was that Air Canada is protecting it's own hide and has no interest in customer service or basic human compassion.

Allergies are already a disability someone has to deal with daily. You can surely understand why someone would not want a reaction to food (that could have easily been replaced with something else), when they have no access to medical attention. And to address the response that it is an infringement to others' rights, it is an infringement to my rights not to be allowed to fly in a safe environment. Like I mention in the blog, I have never asked for any extraordinary measures to be made. And to address the response that other people are free to bring their own bags of nuts on the plane, I say yes they are. And I am free to ask them to refrain from eating them. If they refuse to comply, I should have the opportunity to move seats, or they can be relocated. It is a matter of health, and I have to be able to advocate on my own behalf. The only concession I require is that nuts not be served near me. I usually bring along enough snacks for everyone in the adjacent rows as well. I have no problem letting people know that their very small sacrifice of going nut free on the plane is greatly appreciated. There are some excellent nut-free trail mixes, cookies, crackers and granola bars available. There is no reason the airlines could not use these products.

Posted by Krista [snip]at 18:08 No comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook
Air Canada has turned me off flying for good. Unfortunately, I am overseas and terrified to board a plane again after the horrible treatment of the Air Canada staff.

I have a peanut allergy and have flown many times on many different airlines without incident. Sometimes flight staff are helpful, sometimes not. I was appalled at the atrocious treatment we received on our flight from Calgary to Los Angeles.

I was flying from Calgary to Brisbane, with a plane/airline change in Los Angeles. I had my husband and 2 children with me as we were moving overseas. I had made all necessary precautions. I had called the airline twice prior to leaving to ensure a note was on my ticket about the allergy. I never ask for unreasonable actions to be taken, like making the entire flight nut free. I know that is not reasonable or possible. I don't even care if they make an announcement, I can inform people near me if I need to. All I need them to know is I have an allergy, where I am seated, and that I require they don't serve nuts near me. I will worry about the rest myself. I always have.
Upon entering the plane, I informed the first flight staff about the allergy and my seat number. She looked annoyed and asked me if I had an epipen with me. I always bring 2 on long flights, just in case. That is when things went sideways.

Next thing I know the plane is completely full, and a very abrasive woman comes with a large manual to point very aggressively at a statement about their policies. She informs me and my family that we are to disembark the plane immediately as I never received medical clearance to fly. I was stunned. This had never happened before. We gathered our things and left the plane. I was visibly upset. I was trying to ask her questions as we proceeded back to the terminal. She informed my husband that he needed to "calm me down" or we would be escorted from the airport.

I was never told that I needed medical clearance to fly.
I was trying to hold it together. My kids were getting upset as well. We explained that we had a connecting flight to Brisbane, and had just travelled from Halifax, and had nowhere to go. They were going to "try" and get me the medical clearance.

They let us on the plane again, but then shortly after, we were told to leave again. Then, they let us back on the plane again. I signed a waiver that if I died it was not Air Canada's fault. Then they said we had to get off the plane again. They kept asking if I had ever had a reaction on a flight before. I kept repeating that I had not. Three times! Everyone on the small flight is looking at us. Everyone is angry. The plane is very late already. They tell us WE are delaying the plane too long and people will miss their connecting flights. I KNOW, we are about to miss ours!

We are standing in the terminal in disbelief. By this time my kids and I are all very unhappy. My husband is very angry. They have removed our luggage from the plane for the third time. When someone yells that I have clearance and can board.
We are rushed on the plane, but not before we are inadvertently told that the note on my file that stated I had a nut allergy was in fact CLEARLY written on my ticket. There should have been no confusion. If they required medical clearance, they did not tell me.

Here is the final kicker. As we are walking down to board the plane for the fourth time, my husband said something along the lines of "this is bulls**t". Not appropriate, but I think that was rather restrained considering. All of a sudden we are surrounded by security staff that insist we apologize to the Air Canada staff or we won't be allowed to fly. The flight attendant is bawling, like we have done her a great injustice. We are forced to apologize. She won't even look at me the entire flight.

When we finally get seated again. I can't even speak because I am so upset. I sit and stare straight ahead for 3 hours. I am appalled at the treatment we received. The announcement made by the pilot was equally disturbing. He said it was not Air Canada's fault, it was a policy they had to follow. If it is not their fault, who's fault could it possibly be? And of course there is always some ignorant person on the plane who very loudly states, "all this for a stupid nut allergy, just kick them off." As if I have any control over having an allergy. If I had the choice I would obviously get rid of it. I was born with it, and will die with it, hopefully not on a plane though.
Read 2 RepliesAdd reply

User Replies:Close comments

Posted by JR in Orlando on 2013-02-27:
That the OP needed prior medical approval is right on the Air Canada Website. Under medical conditions, one condition is:

"You have a severe allergy to peanuts or nuts, or are severely allergic to cats, and would like to request a buffer zone in order to help avoid the risk of exposure. The buffer zone option is available only to passengers who are severely allergic to cats, peanuts or nuts."

The Website sets forth expressly what the passenger must do prior to the flight:

"If any of the medical conditions listed in the question above apply to you, you will need to request medical approval, as follows:
1.Book your flight at aircanada.com, with Air Canada Reservations, or with a travel agent.
2.Print a copy of the Air Canada Fitness for Travel form and:
1.Complete Section A by entering your name, contact information and flight details;
2.Have your attending physician complete all other sections that apply to your medical condition.
3.Email* your completed Fitness for Travel form to us at: acmedical@aircanada.ca
1.Make sure the subject line of your email contains your date of travel (day, month and year), family and first name, and Booking Reference. E.g.: 26/SEPT/2012, Jones, Mary, N3EI4E
2.We will need to receive your completed form at least 48 hours before your departure (72 hours before for certain destinations).
3.The Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk will review your request and confirm if you are deemed fit for travel, with or without conditions.
*If you prefer, you can also fax your completed form to us at:
1-888-334-7717 or 514-205-7567"

Thus, the OP did not do what was required prior to getting to the airport. The other passengers had a right to be upset, when someone wants special consideration, but does not take the steps required of them, so that everyone has to wait.
Posted by JAKFK on 2013-02-28:
Great comment and research JR! In addition, flying on a plane is a privilege, and not necessarily a right.
Close commentsAdd reply

Top of Page | Next Page >