Air Canada Complaint - Disturbingly shabby treatment of a customer
I was booked on an Air Canada flight home to Vancouver from Ottawa on October 2, 2011 at 6PM. My wife was also booked on the flight. I arrived with much the same luggage and carry on items that I have arrived at airports, for an average of 40 domestic flights per year, for the last 15 years: a suitcase to check in and a small backpack and guitar in a cloth case as carry on. As a point of fact: a cloth guitar case cannot be checked in as there is ample evidence that Air Canada baggage handlers mistreat instruments (I watched one handler stand my guitar, which was in a fiberglass flight case, on one end and drop it onto the conveyor belt and proceeded to do the same with my travel mates guitar – I will never trust a guitar in a cloth case to your baggage handlers, other than for a gate check). Another fact, on long haul flights my cloth guitar case easily fits into any overhead and leaves lot’s of room to put other baggage on top and around.
Today is the first time in the 12 years of domestic travel that I have been denied the right to carry my guitar on board with me. The agent told me that this is the policy of the airport, not Air Canada, and that I had to check the guitar. I know this is not true as I traveled from Ottawa airport twice in the last 30 days with my guitar in a cloth case on board both times. I told her this and she tried to tell me that was not possible. She would not even offer me a gate check tag, which I know is available to people with strollers much larger than my guitar so, I protected my personal property, canceled my Air Canada flight and booked with WestJet. When I came back to the Air Canada lineup my wife was still checking in and it was very clear to your agent, as I had Westjet ticket in hand and my guitar on my shoulder, that indeed I could carry on my guitar if I traveled with WestJet.
The fact that your agent and her supervisor insisted that I could not travel from Ottawa with my guitar as carry on is untruthful and the fact that they suggested I was not telling the truth is highly offensive. My wife and I travel for our separate businesses a great deal and were looking forward to sharing a flight together. Your uncivil staff caused us much stress, financial loss and hassle and forced us to travel separately.
I also must say that I travel a fair amount internationally and have never been denied the right to carry my guitar on board – even when carrying a guitar in a large flight case and quite prepared to check my guitar: in Madrid, Frankfurt, Havana, Puerto Vallarta, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Warsaw, Narita, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago….my guitar goes on board with me. No other airlines put people through what your agents did to me yesterday – and you are considered our national airline!
Air Canada just lost a customer and I am beginning to believe what people are saying about Air Canada’s unspoken but obvious mandate: “We’re not happy until you’re not happy”.