Air Canada Complaint - Incredibly rude, minimalist rigid service
TORONTO, OHIO -- March 16th 2008
Toronto's Pearson Intl Airport at 5:30am - 7:30am
Arriving at the airport I immediately spoke to a Air Canada counter clerk to ask where to be directed for my flight to Chicago. With slight misdirection I clarified with AC Jazz and not United. Then I was referred to the right place for check-in. Arriving at check-in I waited in line to speak to a clerk at the beginning of the line-up and was told I needed to do a self check-in. Not knowing how to do it, I attempted several times. No luck. When the attendant freed up I asked for assistance. I was told to re-try some things to which I replied it didn't work. She then saw for herself that the machines could not read my barcode (the official web printout was too big) and I was told to go to another counter for regular check-in.
And then the problems began.
Arriving at the counter. As I waited for attendants that were chatting amongst themselves to finish up and notice me but before that could happen I noticed another attendant in the back and asked her for assistance. I felt relieved to be able to speak to someone whom I thought could help.
I explained that I had been running around from counter to counter and had no luck with the self check-in. When she asked for the flight number she stated that I was too late to check-in. It was now 7:02am. And this is where the problems began.
Though I think it was somewhat rude and irritating to be completely denied any help after being told I was too late (again by 2 minutes!!!). Air Canada being the national carrier I cannot understand that some employees are hard-line minimalists and seem to relish their hard stances with customers misfortunes.
She gave me no help asides suggesting I leave my luggage behind for my trip! Or perhaps having someone else fly with me. I then mentioned that it was important that she try something, anything to get me on that flight at 7 as I had a connecting flight (separately booked, yet with Star Alliance, ANA from Chicago to Narita NH011 leaving Chicago at 10:45am) She suggested I go to the ticketing counter for help on another flight to Chicago.
Feeling helpless that she was just a do-as-little-as-I-can worker I asked to speak to her boss. She went to fetch Elizabeth. Elizabeth re-iterated the same thing in even more of a hard-line fashion. I received even less help from her. Not only that but the tone of voice and manner with which she spoke to me was incredibly rude and NOT warranted in any scenario. I felt as if I was the one that had done something wrong. I explained that I had been given the run around and self-check did not work. To which she replied that 90minutes is ample time to check-in give that the first 30 minutes before the flight are to sort out people with troubles. Unfortunately she did not want to hear my side of the story and I only had one option which was to seek the ticketing office.
The next flight with United was too late for me to connect to my Chicago flight to Japan. I am completely taken aback by this treatment and extremely disappointed by the treatment I received.
I used to be proud to be a Canadian and using air Canada but if this is the face of things to come I cannot in good conscience recommend nor mention Air Canada to anyone wishing to travel by airplane.
In short, though I am now stuck in Toronto and out of TWO airplane tickets due to some inflexible and non-empathetic clerks and rules. It would have been at the very LEAST a decent thing for Elizabeth to be a little more courteous and the other staff members more willing and less anal to help.
On the up side at the ticketing booth, a certain Kim was very nice and helpful. But as for Elizabeth (who didn't give me anymore information than that when asked) I believe she requires more in depth customer skills training or a return back to BASIC customer service seminars.
Extremely disappointed and stuck in Toronto,
After I spoke to kim who offered me a direct flight to Japan One way 2400$CDN or return 1500$ I opted to not bother with Air Canada anymore. I chose to go with the cheapest airline I could find on such short notice. I flew Continental from Toronto-Newark-Tokyo for 940$tax in (return).
Better food, better service, better entertainment, better plane. It wasn't perfect but miles above Air Canada already.
I don't expect Air Canada to respond to my complaint which is pretty much the same as I wrote here minus names. I don't even expect them to read it, let alone offer any compensation! Nor do I expect the Toronto Star or Toronto Sun papers to pick this up either so I guess I'll try the Canadian Transportation Authorities.
I will NOT let this go! I lost a great opportunity in Japan, plus a days wages, plus stress caused, wasted tickets, PLUS the new ticket!
In the unlikely event that they should contact me an update will be posted.
UPDATE THURSDAY APRIL 10th 2008
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Rude Service at Check-in
Response (David Jones) - 04/10/2008 09:37 AM
Thank you for your email. We appreciate the time you have taken to write to us and are pleased to address your concerns.
At Air Canada, we make every effort to respect the scheduled departure time of all flights. A delay of even a few minutes can result in the loss of a take-off position. This, in turn can impact an entire day's operations and further inconvenience a greater number of customers.
The absolute deadline for check-in of all flights is as follows; within Canada - 30 minutes, to and from the United States - 60 minutes, and Internationally - 60 minutes. Our systems are programmed such that they will not accept passengers who do not meet these requirements.
Pre-assigned seats will be held only until the established check-in cut-off time. Failure to meet this deadline may result in the reassignment of any pre-assigned seats and the cancellation of the reservation. Passenger acceptance deadline information is provided with all airline tickets and is part of the conditions of carriage. Your Toronto to Chicago coupon is available for use for one year from the original date of issue subject to any fees that may apply. Regretfully, we are unable to assist with the other ticket you have booked as the journeys were separately ticketed.
We are truly sorry to learn of the circumstances that led to your not being able to board AC 501 on March 16 to Chicago and the resulting missed connection to ANA. We are aware that our operation is judged primarily by the image and service of our public contact personnel. All employees are expected to perform their duties in a courteous, friendly and efficient manner with a full appreciation of our customers' needs. Air Canada has a genuine desire to improve its service levels and your feedback is one of the most important means we have to achieve this goal. Clearly, in this case, we fell short and did not meet your expectations. Your concerns will be forwarded on to the Toronto Customer Service Manager for internal review.
Once again, we sincerely regret the inconveniences you have encountered and assure you we are working hard to earn your continued loyalty. We hope you will allow us a future opportunity to provide you with a more pleasant travel experience.
Though better than nothing this still just isn't enough and leaves everything hanging. This solves nothing. Air Canada I want more than the typical customized template response! I want action! This is for your good (and mine) in the end!