NARITA, JAPAN -- OPEN LETTER TO AIR CANADA: On November 16, 2007 we were booked Business Class on AC4 leaving Narita at 5 pm to Vancouver, and held boarding passes with seat assignments printed in Bangkok before we left. We were connecting from Thai Airways flight TG676 from Bangkok scheduled to arrive at Narita at 4 pm. I still have the original boarding passes from the two flights for reference.
The Thai Air flight left Bangkok late and arrived at Narita late around 4:30 pm. However Thai Air assured us they had contacted Air Canada because they had about a dozen passengers connecting to the Vancouver flight. They had prepared a sign with all our names on and met us as we exited the plane. Within minutes all the connecting passengers had been found and we were hustled to the nearby Air Canada counter. It was now 4:40 pm so we still had 20 minutes.
We were then told that Air Canada had closed the gate and we would not be allowed to board. There was no Air Canada representative available to talk to. We were left stranded to deal with people acting as stand-in representatives for Air Canada, who obviously had no clue how to handle the situation.
For the next 4 hours we were left waiting in the airport with no help from Air Canada and only intermediaries acting on behalf of Thai Air. This was an incredibly frustrating experience, especially since we had chosen to travel Business Class with the expectation of better service along the way. Instead, we felt completely abandoned by Air Canada and had to do considerable negotiations to get rescheduled the next day, and arrangements made for someplace for us to stay overnight in Japan.
Thai Air eventually managed to find us Business Class seats on a Japan Air flight the following evening, since all the Air Canada flights were booked, and made arrangements to put us up overnight at an airport hotel. During this time we asked to be allowed to wait in the Star Alliance Business Class Lounge, but were refused entry, even though we were clearly holding Business Class boarding passes.
Even though Thai Airways was to blame for their late flight, I believe they did an extraordinary job of attempting to get us transferred to the connecting Air Canada flight, and did arrange for a new flight and accommodations. Air Canada on the other hand completely abandoned its responsibility to its passengers. After being told by Thai Air that the connecting passengers were all accounted for and on the way to the plane with time to spare, Air Canada chose to shut the plane and leave, without leaving a representative in place to clean up the mess.
This is not how I expect to be treated as a Business Class passenger with Air Canada. I believe you should compensate us for your incredible lack of service, and the inconvenience you put us through. How you choose to respond to this complaint will determine how we choose to use Air Canada in the future.
BANGKOK -- My 3 children and a friend traveled on 26 December 2006 from Toronto-Vancouver-Beijing-Bangkok and returned on 6 January (started) Bangkok-Beijing-Toronto (8 January). If it wasn't so pathetic it would be funny. Except for Beijing-Bangkok-Beijing (Thai Airways) all the flights were AIR Canada. Everything was fine to Beijing (outward) but they weren't issued boarding passes for PEK-BKK and it was their fault they didn't have them in PEK. Then their friend was originally denied boarding in Beijing because she "wasn't in the system". WHY WASN'T SHE IN THE SYSTEM WHEN AC CHECKED THEM IN AT TORONTO?
At the last minute she was allowed to board and they all arrived in Bangkok except the luggage for my children didn't make the connection but their friend's luggage (who barely was allowed to board) made the connection. Luggage arrived 2 days later. When we checked in (Bangkok-Beijing) again the friend wasn't "in the system" but they issued her a pass and everybody traveled to Beijing. Had about an 8 hour wait in PEK until the flight and then the flight was delayed (4 hours) then another delay (4 hours) then they went to a hotel (AC paid and they were allowed to eat in the restaurant).
Didn't get their luggage and spent most of their money in the airport for sweaters and food (AC didn't give any vouchers or anything). Back to airport the next day and again the flight was cancelled (no vouchers or anything again). Back to the hotel for another night (again no luggage). Finally (after 2 nights in the hotel in Beijing) plane took off for Toronto. During the entire trip no information was provided and no AC staff showed up. Only a driver who "didn't know anything". My written complaint to AC has been handled by a Ms. Wanda ** who basically said "sorry but we gave each of your kids a $500 voucher for the next flight they purchase with AC" so piss off.
Furthermore, this is part of what I actually received from her (copied directly from her email). "Our staff is expected to provide friendly and efficient service and we are very much aware of the inconvenience that can result when there is a breakdown in this service. (Please be assured our procedures will be reviewed with the employee involved and corrective measures will be taken.) OR (Please be assured your comments have been documented and will be included in reports generated for our (city) airport manager and our senior management.)
I asked for some compensation ($200) for the misplaced luggage (6 passenger nights in Bangkok and 8 passenger nights in Beijing) and they want receipts to send to their claim office. How do you expect 13 to 16 year olds to know enough to keep receipts and, besides, who in their claim office can decipher Mandarin and Thai language to verify the claims? I have asked numerous times "WHY" did these things happen but no answer.
Instead, what Wanda ** wrote was (again copied direct) "regret that I have no explanation as to why no information was provided to your family when they were denied boarding on their flight due to the flight being oversold." Note that the plane wasn't overbooked, it wasn't working!! She signed off on her last email with "I appreciate this final opportunity to review your concerns." Ha Ha, she thinks this is the last they have heard of me. They should change their motto to: "AIR CANADA WHERE WE'RE NOT HAPPY TIL YOU'RE NOT HAPPY"
PS. This review falls into too many categories to just list one so here goes: DELAYED FLIGHTS, CUSTOMER SERVICE, LOST LUGGAGE, IN FLIGHT TREATMENT, COMPANY POLICIES, RELIABILITY, AVAILABILITY, PRODUCT QUALITY, QUALITY OF SERVICE AND MANAGEMENT.
WINNIPEG -- On Nov. 23rd, 2006 my husband was scheduled to fly from Edmonton, Alberta to Winnipeg, Manitoba at 8:55 in the morning with Air Canada. I had booked his flight the day before, on the internet, and booked Tango fare, no luggage, no flight changes, and prepaid (15.00 charge) his seat selection as he likes a window seat. The total for this non-stop flight was 241.33. He arrived at the airport, and it was snowing, not a blizzard, but snowing. He checked in - got his boarding pass, boarded the flight and does what he always does, goes to sleep.
He woke up an hour and a half later- still on the ground. They had problems deicing, clearing the runway, deicing again, missed their slot in the take-off queue- finally departing almost two hours late. A little while into the flight the flight attendant starts moving everyone from the front of the flight, back, and when questioned, she informs the passengers that they must make an emergency landing in Saskatoon, as the computer is showing that the DOOR is ajar!!!
They get on the ground, amidst mass confusion, and are finally informed that there is no maintenance crew in Saskatoon, they think there is one in Calgary however they are not sure how long it will be before they can continue. Westjet, however has a flight to Winnipeg leaving shortly, and they are invited to purchase a ticket if there is room, and apply to A/C refund services in Winnipeg- for a refund of their ticket from Saskatoon to Winnipeg. My husband paid 124.00 for that leg of the flight, and arrived home approx. 3 hours later, without further incidence.
I called the number, and called the number, and never did talk to anyone, so I sent an email. I sent another email. I finally got an answer after the 3rd email telling me they would make a decision on my request and let me know in three to four weeks. After six weeks, I sent them another email and finally got frustrated enough to file a claim with The Canada Transport Agency.
The day after I did this, Air Canada sent us a letter, via snail-mail- "pleased to announce" that they were refunding 50.08. Take the 15.90 off for the prepaid seat selection, the 15.00 AIF, the 18.00 NAvCan charge, the 4.67 security fee- and they are still in the hole. They never explained how they came up with this amount, they never explained how they applied it to a credit card # they did not have. Just here it is, this is what you get. See you again-sucker.
My husband already hates flying Air Canada, and only does so when there is absolutely no other choice. No wonder. Now the CTA is handling this for me, but what an enormous waste of time and money to have a whole department dedicated to babysitting an airline.There should be something we can do, somewhere we can turn. If Westjet could get the same flight schedules allotted Air Canada, I would bet- A/C would not be in business. Judging from this complaint forum, and the one on the CTA website they do not have a lot of happy fliers, and it's a damned shame they are allowed to keep treating everyone the way they do.
TORONTO -- We are becoming very frustrated, and disillusioned with Air Canada's handling of our lost luggage. It has been 6 weeks since our bags left Calgary with us for Bermuda, and they are still "delayed". I cannot understand how two large suitcases can be delayed, if not lost, for so long. I request that some positive action be taken to find these bags, as it appears to us that the Lost Luggage Department is unable or unwilling to assist us in this matter. We flew Executive class from Calgary to Toronto on AC 134 on November 11, 2006, arriving in Toronto about midnight.
Check-in staff in Calgary first said we would have to claim our bags in Toronto as we were not departing for Bermuda until the next morning, but after checking she assured us our two bags were checked through to Bermuda. On arrival in Toronto, a gate check staff checked details on her computer, issued boarding passes for the next leg of our flight and supposedly connected the numbers on our tags from Calgary to the boarding passes to Bermuda. She had to enter the numbers twice to get them right but she assured us the baggage would be checked through, although they would have to wait in Toronto until the morning flight.
We continued Executive class Toronto to Bermuda on AC942 on November 12, 2006. On arrival there it was obvious our bags had not arrived, so we filled-in tracing details with an Air Canada clerk there and were given File Reference number. The Bermudian clerk advised us we're entitled to $50 per person for essential items, but in spite of travelling Executive Class we would still have to wait 24 hours before we could even get that. After waiting the required 24 hours, we still had no luggage.
My wife phoned the 1-888-689-2247 number for your tracing office (just outside of Mumbai, India she ascertained from her conversation with the clerk) and again were told we were only entitled to $50 each, even though we travelled Executive class. We kept contacting the tracing office via internet. After finding the same message "TRACING CONTINUES. PLEASE CHECK BACK LATER" on their form for three days, it appeared that this method was going to be no help, so we again phoned the 1-888 number. As the call centre is located in India, the staff admitted they were only able to see the same information we had on the internet.
I am sure you can understand that at this point our frustration level rose. We were visiting our daughter in Bermuda for the birth of her baby and one of the cases was full of gifts for the baby and our other grandchildren, including handmade blankets and hand-knitted sweaters. Worse, there were snowsuits for the children who are all coming back to Canada for Christmas and will need the clothes immediately they arrive to our record low temperatures. With the cost of living in Bermuda, the $50 went nowhere near covering necessary clothes and toiletries for a 2 week stay.
We kept feeling that our 'delayed' bags would turn up soon, but every day the same message on the internet. The worst part of it is that we believe that our luggage was/is in the tally or luggage room in Toronto, because of our evening departure time from Calgary and morning departure from Toronto. And no one would look in the room. My wife asked the India call centre to send a message to Toronto to look in these rooms, but to our knowledge no message was sent as there was nothing on the file when we actually saw it when we were back in the Calgary airport luggage desk.
Our cases were very distinguishable and had ship-shaped fluorescent green luggage tags with the information engraved on them. But there was no way we could talk to someone LIVE in Toronto. We even phoned Bermuda luggage and they also never sent any messages. After 5 days, my wife again contacted the India call centre and was told to fill out a baggage declaration form (which we were not given at the airport) and as our bags "must have lost all their tags" would be in Montreal. (Loss of 1 tag on one case I can understand - all off both, I can't.)
And when she told them they had combination locks on them was told that they would slash the bags to get inside them. Not a great thought when they are needed to get the contents back to the destination. Before leaving Bermuda, the Air Canada check-in clerk again sent a message to Toronto and Calgary to search for the bags and to let them know that we were coming and would want to check while we were there. On our return through Toronto, again Executive Class, on AC947 on November 24, 2006 we checked with Lost & Found desk (no lost bags there), and were directed to the Luggage Department in Terminal 1.
Again the staff checked the computer and found the same message - "TRACING CONTINUES. PLEASE CHECK BACK LATER". We asked to check the Tally Room, and were very helpfully shown the luggage there. Again no bags, and only the assurance that after 5 days all bags would be sent to Montreal for further tracing. However we weren't able to walk round the other room - the baggage room where we really suspect our bags were/are.
Arriving back in Calgary late November 24th, we again checked with Luggage Department and found the clerk there very sympathetic and helpful - though he could find no further information than "TRACING CONTINUES. PLEASE CHECK BACK LATER". He went so far as to phone Toronto and ask them to walk around the luggage room, but was told that no one had the time to do it. It would appear to us that very little effort has gone into actually looking for these bags. I see two problems here: either more care is needed by ground staff and luggage handlers to prevent loss and delay, or more staff is needed to look for the luggage lost or damaged by them.
The clerk did provide us with a copy of allowances for delayed luggage printed from your information and, it appears we were misinformed by several offices as to entitlements. Apparently we should have been entitled to $100 each, immediately we arrived in Bermuda without our luggage. When my wife phoned India again about this, they said they would add the extra so we would be able to claim the higher amount (which we did indeed have to spend) then said "Oops, have to take it back because you are home again"!!! What is going on? We were also told that it would be at least 3 months before we are compensated for this outlay.
And I was also told that our bags wouldn't be declared LOST only delayed so it will be impossible for us to even submit a claim to Visa on our Aero-gold card insurance. And no one from Air Canada will even advise what kind of compensation is going to be offered. Will it cover the total loss? We have always been firm supporters of Air Canada. We fly AC by choice, rather than necessity. We have always found the staff polite and helpful in spite of what I have heard the media and others saying. However, the lack of assistance in this instance has really shaken our faith.
We are currently booked to fly to New York in January for a cruise - we CHOSE Air Canada - but without compensation for expenses on the past trip, nor even bags to pack for this trip I am questioning my decision of that choice. I want to know what is actually being done to find these ‘delayed bags'. I want to know why it is taking so long? I want the bags returned in preference to a compensation for lost bags. I anxiously await such assurances.
We just received an email from Aeroplan stating that there has been some confusion about their recent changes to how long air miles can remain on a person's account and that they were writing to clear up any misunderstandings. (I don't recall ever receiving any initial notification of any changes, but that's another story.) The changes they described essentially mean that Air Miles can now remain unused on a person's account for a period of seven years, after which they will be cancelled. I believe that in the past such air miles would remain indefinitely so long as there was credited activity on the account within the last three years.
With the lowering of the Air Miles life span to seven years, they have also increased the required frequency of account activity to maintain the balance to once every year! Miss a year and, poof, they are all gone. In fairness it does not take a great deal of effort to create such activity. Purchasing gas at an Esso station apparently qualifies, as do other such activities. The challenge, then, is for each account holder to ensure they do not let more than one year pass between account activities.
Here's where it gets a little interesting. Each month, by automatic email, account holders are sent a statement of their Air Miles. However, there is no indication on that statement when the one year period for account activity is due to expire. Bear in mind that Air Miles have a significant monetary value to account holders and, I am sure, Air Canada would cry very few tears if many customers' accounts were allowed to inadvertently lapse! I noted that on the clarification email there was a separate email address headed "Reply-To" which, one would think, invites a reply. Wrong!
I sent a reply suggesting that expiry dates of holdings and, in particular, one year activity periods, be included on statements. My emailed reply bounced. I was told that you cannot reply to the email using the "Reply-To" or any other address on it. So, I went to their site and took the time to fill out all my concerns again on their contact form in the form of the offered web mail contact facility. I also added my displeasure about being invited to make a reply then immediately rebuffed electronically.
Within about an hour I received a further email acknowledging receipt of my web mail but, with apologies, stating that "Below is a summary of your request and our response." Then "We are experiencing temporary technical difficulties with the Submit a Question functionality. Please call the Aeroplan Centre at 1-800-361-5373." That was their response.
I called the captioned number, only to receive a recorded reply that their agents are busy, that there would be a significant wait to speak to anyone. I gave up. Who wouldn't? Strike this one up a win for Air Canada. They have successfully reinforced my resolve not to fly with them under any circumstances, unless there is absolutely no alternative. They should change the slogan "Buyer Beware" to "Flier Beware"!
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 Coincide 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 Orbitz we were referred 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 Air Canada 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!
As a frequent flyer member, this was a nightmare worth describing. Crossing the line from Toronto with flight to Newark, I noticed on the flight departure screen the flight was delayed two hours. So delayed, I grabbed the closest restaurant inside the terminal next to the assigned gate - 200 ft away.
Needless to say, I got caught up on some work related computer time, and had dinner. 45 minutes before the announced time for delayed departure, I walked over to the gate, and was asked my name, and advised that the plane loaded earlier than previously announced, that they had paged me - I told them I was in the restaurant across the way, and then they advised me that their PA system does not go into the restaurant.
At that point, they told me my luggage was being taken off the plane. It was a pretty easy question then, "Can you get me on the flight, and with my luggage?" They called the plane, then assured me that my luggage and I could fly together to Newark. Now here is the fun part. I was sitting seat 1 A, the pilot announced due to weather conditions in Newark, FAA delayed our departure. This went on for 2 hours, yes, no, OK to leave, NO. Finally we taxied to Tarmac for departure, and were ordered to return to the gate. 6 passengers departed this flight - 40 minutes later cleared for take off. What was supposed to be a 1 hr flight, turned into 5 hours.
As we approached Newark we did circles in the sky for 1 hour until we could land. Went to baggage area, everyone else got their bags, but mine were not there. Put claim in, major meeting next day in Newark. Became a desk day the next day, assured by baggage customer service that they would trace and bring once found to the hotel I was staying at.
Finally, got a call that they found 1 of the 2 bags that were checked, but not the bag with my clothes. Again told they would call. Went to Newark Intl AIR CANADA Luggage claims, found my bags marked PRIORITY delivery - just sitting there. If I didn't take the initiative, the bags would still be there. Thanks Air Canada for no amenity bag, no clothes, for missing my major meeting (yes there was a reason for flying to Newark) and your horrible customer service. Offering money to a customer for this nightmare doesn't cut it. I am not looking for money, just my bags which were checked. Your service is below the radar!
CALGARY -- Let me start off by saying that we are a working class family trying to make ends meet. I booked 2 tickets for my children to visit their grandparents in Saint John, New Brunswick (we are from Ontario). A week before they were to leave my father-in-law had to have emergency quadruple heart bypass surgery necessitating us to cancel the tickets. We had purchased the non-refundable, non-transferable tickets so we were aware that we would not get our money back.
We were told when we cancelled that we had a credit of so much per ticket. Although they offer a no cancellation fee they do however charge a re-booking fee of $75.00 per ticket per way plus applicable taxes. Thereby making the re-booking fee $300.00 plus taxes for both tickets. I have recently tried to rebook 2 one-way tickets for my children which cost less than the credit we have with Air Canada. So instead of applying the balance of our credit towards the re-booking fee they want us to pay the $300.00 plus tax on top of the price of the tickets and the balance of the unused portion of our credit we lose.
Even if they applied the balance of the unused portion we would still have to pay Air Canada money. So in essence Air Canada isn't losing any money they are still making money (not to mention the interest they have made on the original purchase) but we, as consumer are losing money. They have been collecting interest off our money since May 19, 2010 (the date I booked the original tickets) but won't do anything for us.
Air Canada forgets it's the taxpayers that have bailed them out and they should be working with us instead of against us. All my husband and I want is fairness. Unbeknown to us we had booked their flight during the G20 Summit and Air Canada knowing that there would be numerous delays due to the G20 never felt the necessity of advising us of this fact but they are more than happy to take the bookings, people's money and keeping it.
A credit is just that money to be used at a later date. Why can't we use ours towards the re-booking fees? I think it's time that Canadians banned together and flew other airlines and put a halt to Air Canada. All they are doing is using the Canadian name and how much is actually owned by Canadians? FLY WESTJET or if heading south cross into Buffalo and fly SOUTHWEST. You would be amazed by difference in personalities not to mention the price. You can usually fly out of Buffalo to Florida for a third of the price of Air Canada, and the drive from Hamilton to Buffalo is a quicker, easier drive than from Hamilton to Toronto.
I'm writing this while flying on one of your planes from London to Calgary in executive class. I'm on flight 2051, it was originally 851, but yesterday's flight was cancelled. Your planes are nice, but your staff and catering need much training and lag far behind other international airlines. I've written this before, and still haven't seen any changes over the past one year. You have once again made a mockery of my vegetarian meal, it was cold plane rice and veggies. Even the staff were making fun of it, warning me not to eat it, as it looked unappetizing. Well I took the meal, but I should have taken their advice. It was horrible. I did not eat it.
You should experience, travelling 10 hours on flight, paying lots of money, not being able to get a proper meal and continually experiencing bad service. I dare you to eat the meal that was offered to me. I am a super elite member and have been an either elite or super elite for the past decade. You know for the first time, I have made a conscious decision not to take Air Canada on business and personal travel. My most recent flights to Toronto, Orlando, DC and a couple of other destinations have been not been on Air Canada on purpose. I thought I would try AC once again my recent trip to Europe, but I was again disappointed.
Surprisingly enough, the service on BMI your STAR alliance partner was excellent and with good food options for vegetarians. I request you to make a sincere effort to make the meals for vegetarians (AVML and VGML) more enjoyable. I have personally talked to office staff in Calgary and have volunteered good caterers that you can use. I've written several times about this and still the food has not changed, even in executive class. I've tried many times to write and to improve service and vegetarian meals on your flights, over the past year.
You have tried to appease me with $100 coupons for future flight. But you still haven't realized that I am not looking for small financial appeasements I find it personally insulting that you have not attempted to make any changes. I've tried writing letters to you directly, but no action. Now you can be assured that I will go public and file formal complaints with consumer groups and the aviation industry. Consumers should be warned that you do not take customer service or feedback very seriously. A very disappointed customer!
MONTREAL CANADA -- On August 4th of last year, I was supposed to fly home to San Francisco, departing Quebec City with a transfer in Toronto. The flight out of Quebec was scheduled to depart for Toronto at 3:30 pm but at 3:20 a PA announcement informed that the flight had been cancelled. We were told to return to the ticket counter so after being forced to wait in line for another 40 minutes more (as a result of obvious understaffing), I was greeted by a frazzled and disheveled ticket agent who considered routing me to Montreal but finally booked me to Toronto later that night, departing at 6:30 pm.
I was told I would need to overnight in Toronto to catch my connection to San Francisco the next morning but this was “no problem” since all I had to do was speak to “any Air Canada Customer Service Agent” to get a hotel and meal vouchers for my overstay in Toronto. Unbeknownst to me (and apparently Air Canada's own ticket staff) Toronto was still experiencing serious delays and operational problems. My 6:30 departure out of Quebec, after numerous delays, finally pulled up to the gate at Pearson at 1:15 am. Exhausted, I cautiously went looking for “any Air Canada Customer Service” agent in a darkened and dim Air Canada Service area.
What I discovered were long lines of angry and frustrated customers, all hoping to get hotel vouchers, flights rebooked etc., from TWO overwhelmed customer service agents. It took one and a half hours waiting in this line to realize that I never was going to speak to anyone. Air Canada had so totally mishandled this situation that for the vast majority of the hundreds of people waiting in line (including myself) the only option was to find somewhere on the floor to sleep.
After trying to sleep on a ventilation grate for about 3 hours I finally got up and went to my gate for my departure to San Francisco a few hours later. As compensation for this incompetence, Air Canada has “graciously” offered me 25% off my next Air Canada flight! What a joke! I will NEVER fly Air Canada again and can only offer my condolences to Canadians stuck with this sad excuse of a national carrier in a monopoly market!