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.
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.
Then 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 **." 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, whose 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.
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 travelmate's 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 lots 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 travelled 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, cancelled 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 travelled 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”.
MONTREAL -- I flew on Air Canada (AC) from New York to Geneva, Switzerland with a connection in Montreal. This was not a pleasure trip but was due to my 89-year old mother falling and breaking her foot.
I chose Air Canada because: 1. They don't charge for a second suitcase. British Airways charge as high as $75 I believe. 2. They were $100 cheaper than Swiss; however Swiss fly non-stop. 3. I get full mileage credit on my United mileage plus account. 4. The ticket is valid 3 months with a change of date fee of $150. This compares to as high as $250 on Lufthansa.
Newark to Montreal: Check-in was quick and efficient at Newark. AC use smaller Canadair and Embraer commuter aircraft between New York and Montreal/Toronto. These planes have less room and are somewhat noisy. All that is served on this sector are nuts and a drink. As I checked in I was calm and relaxed knowing that I had 3 hours connection time in Montreal. I noticed that the flight to Toronto was delayed for 1 hour due to bad weather between the US and Canada.
Our flight was delayed by 2 1/2 hours. And even though it was clear we would miss our connection no effort was made to put us on another flight to Europe from Newark; for example Lufthansa had a flight to Munich. I was upgraded to Business Class; 3 seats instead of 4. We were served nuts and a drink on a 1 hour 15 minute flight. When we arrived a wagon was waiting to rush us to the gate. We had to pass Canadian Customs which was quick. However the door to the gates was shut and by looking at the board, I realized that my flight to Geneva had just left 5 minutes ago.
I had to wait in line about 30 minutes to pass passport control and then pick up my luggage. It was already 10 PM by now. I was offered a hotel room and $30 in vouchers for dinner, breakfast and lunch. I was put on an 8 pm flight to Frankfurt resulting in a 2 PM arrival in Geneva; 28 hours late. I asked the agent "What about routing me through Zurich?", as I knew AC are partners with Swiss Airlines. She looked at me as if I was an idiot. "Why would you want to go through Zurich?"
Later I found out that had she routed me on Swiss Airlines I would have gotten to Geneva at 8AM instead of 2 PM and avoided Frankfurt Airport which is a terrible airport. Long walks, confusing signage and slow, slow, slow security personnel who work in "slow motion" with insufficient staff. Gripe 1: No effort was made in Newark to get us to Europe the next day. Gripe 2: No effort was made in Montreal to get me to Geneva as quickly as possible.
Air Canada are in the same alliance as Lufthansa and Swiss and in fact codeshare with Swiss from Montreal. So they should have transferred us to Lufthansa at Newark or at least put me on Swiss from Montreal. Their aim is to keep you on Air Canada no matter what. I was put up at the Hilton Gardens near the airport. It was a nice hotel and I was lucky. Others were put up at the Travelodge, a 40-year old hotel which did not look all that nice.
Montreal to Frankfurt: The plane was a 777. The seats were comfortable, good legroom, good entertainment system which was easy to use. The crew were well-groomed and very friendly. They also gave us a newspaper.
Mood lighting: this is the "new thing." Low lighting which in our case was bluish. Interesting but what I did not like was that they put it on the moment you board. I want to full lighting till after dinner. I find a dark cabin depressing unless it's sleep time.
Meal: Mediocre. Beginning salad and main dish were acceptable. But the desert was a cheap chocolate brownie which tasted disgusting. Also no cheese with the meal which I always like as it fills me up with the bread. I would have thought that a flight operating from "French Quebec" would have some cheese. Breakfast was very good. A large banana muffin with delicious coffee from a company called "Second Cup." In fact it was so good I had a "second cup."
The return trip: Geneva to Montreal: The plane was a 767. I had changed my return date twice for a fee of $150 for each change. Even though AC only operate 4 times a week I was impressed that they accepted to change the return dates without paying even more. The seating was comfortable. However the seat pocket in front of me had not been cleaned. I found a dirty napkin, plastic and in the seat pocket next to me a dirty stirrer. Though my flight was in mid-November the in-flight magazine was from October. Three seats away I found a November issue.
The meal was again mediocre: edible salad and main dish. The desert was disgusting. A milky creamy white liquid with a peach. The peach was edible. Again no cheese. I was not very satisfied. The snack was insufficient for an 8-hour flight. A small spinach thingy-mig-gig with not much spinach in it.
Montreal to New York: I had to pass US Customs in Montreal which I don't like. I prefer to do that in New York. We had to wait a lot. You don't get to see the suitcases. They take a picture of the suitcases. The flight was in a small Embraer commuter plane; noisy and bumpy. Somewhat narrow seats. Lost suitcase: I arrived in New York and to my lovely surprise one suitcase was missing. After 2 months Air Canada informed me that the suitcase is now officially lost. At the beginning I had to communicate with agents in India who had no clue what was going on. I gave up bothering calling them.
I am convinced that the suitcase was stolen. I had a permanent leather address tag on the top handle and 2 paper address tags; one was Air Canada and the other American Airlines. And on the side I had another American Airlines tag. Though I had $4,500 worth of clothes/shoes/coats in the suitcase, Air Canada wrote me the following:
They are liable for up to $1,600 in losses as per the Warsaw Convention. Because I could only prove a few hundred dollars of purchases from my receipts, they would only offer me $1,167 and 41 cents. I love the 41 cents. Question: Who keeps 5 years of receipts on clothes they buy? Pathetic excuse. I admitted in my application that I had Homeowners Insurance. So I was told by Air Canada to go to my own insurance company. They made it seem as if it was my fault that the suitcase was lost. It reminded me of rape victims who get blamed for getting raped.
Conclusion: I don't consider Air Canada to be in the "major leagues." True the weather delay was not their fault but the lack of any attempt to get me to Geneva as quickly as possible was. Losing a bag can happen but to lose it "permanently" is to me unbelievable. It happens very rarely. In fact I don't know anybody who has gone through this experience. They usually find the lost suitcases after a few days. I had stress in both directions.
The people who work for this airline, the ground crew, air crew and reservations agents were all great; (except for the employee who may have stolen my suitcase, though I have no proof of that); I don't think I will risk flying with them again even if I get a free ticket. To have to replace all my stuff is going to be a tremendous hassle. Because I thought I may have to stay as long as 2 months I had taken all my nice things with me.
Lesson: Buy sufficient luggage insurance as you never know what can happen. Try to fly non-stop if you can. It greatly reduces the risk of lost luggage. Pass Customs at your final destination not in between; in Canada in my case. It also reduces the risk of lost luggage.
NEW YORK -- I was on an Air Canada flight from Istanbul, Turkey to Toronto in June of 2015. We sat in the bulkhead seats and my husband's backpack fit perfectly under his seat. However, a few minutes before departure the flight attendant told him that he could not keep his backpack under the seat and had to put it in the overhead compartment. This was minutes before departure of a full flight so obviously all of the overhead storage was already taken. The flight attendant directed me to put the backpack in overhead space several rows behind me.
After the flight, we had to wait until the majority of passengers had deplaned to get back to the compartment to retrieve the backpack. By the time I got back there our black backpack was gone and replaced by another black backpack. I went through to see if there was identification hoping that someone had taken ours by mistake. There was no ID in this bag and it will filled with tissues and dog treats. No personal items. Clearly it was a scam and our bag was stolen.
I lost an expensive camera with over 500 photos from our trip along with a medical device and several other precious items. I immediately reported this to Air Canada. It has now been over two months with NO RESPONSE to my claim. Every time I call to follow up I am directed to a customer service representative who hardly speaks English.
I am beyond frustrated!! We purchased travel insurance, but they won't even touch this claim until we get a response from Air Canada. Absolute nightmare and abysmal customer service. Beware - I learned my lesson to never let my bag out of my sight. I thought I was keeping my items safe by bringing them on board with me. BIG MISTAKE!
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!
DORSAL QUEBEC -- I just received a letter back from Air Canada stating that they will not cover broken items worth over 250 dollars. My wife and I were travelling out of Toronto Airport, when they stopped us at the X-ray machine. They claimed we were not allowed liquids and either they keep them or we turn around, and pay 20 dollars to put them in the over-sized area with fragile stickers all over our 1 bag. I explained to the attendant that I was concerned these liquids were going to break. He didn't really respond, as we just got off the flight from Cancun with the liquids on board with us, however we got back to Winnipeg they lost our luggage then found it.
We asked the attendant in Baggage handling if everything was OK with our bag, he stated yes! However my wife opened the bag to find that our Khalsa 40 oz had broken inside. We have a 250 dollars iPad destroyed in which I claiming for. The best they came back with was "it could have been turbulence" which they're not responsible for, shifting of items, during takeoff and landing. You can tell all your excuses you want, you're a joke Air Canada, just trying to recoup your bankrupt money. No wonder because your customer skills also, now I know why I haven't flown with Air Canada in 30 years or more. I will go back to the best as far as I'm concerned - Westjet.
VANCOUVER -- This summer I flew from Vancouver to Toronto and noticed that my zipper was open about four inches as the luggage went around the turnstile. As I had a busy commute I didn't unpack until the next day and found that I was missing two very expensive woman's tunic, a beautiful metallic lace vest which I had just purchased and two scarves that went with the tunics. The total of these clothes would be about a thousand dollars. It's not just the clothes - it's the violation.
The little pad lock had been broken and the luggage was open. Air Canada was uncaring. I will make certain I put a ziplock tie on my suitcase from now on... Big Warning... Do not trust checked luggage.... will be secure once it leaves your sight until you meet it again on the other side!
PORTLAND, OREGON -- Air Canada has their own set of rules when it comes to service. Most Airlines have a cut off of 30 minutes from departure. Air Canada has a 60-minute cut off that is NOT disclosed on their online ticket purchase documentation.
My wife had terminal cancer and we arrived 50 minutes prior to departure. We were rudely told that we had missed our flight and were told that our money would NOT be refunded. We talked to two different reservations personnel in Montreal who were apathetic and the male even hung up on me. Their solution was to to charge an additional $700 to put us on the next flight after we had already paid in FULL.
My wife was not feeling well, was on chemo and terminally ill. They took none of these facts into consideration. These guys are jerks, do not have to compete or be good to their customers because they are owned by the Canadian Government. I will never fly or recommend Air Canada to anyone ever again.
CALGARY, NEW JERSEY -- On Tuesday July 10th 2012 at the Frankfurt Airport I felt the service by Air Canada staff was unacceptable. Our flight 8499 United/Air Canada left Frankfurt at 1 pm to Ottawa. When we checked our bags in Frankfurt we needed to pay extra because they were overweight. That was no problem and we understood. We needed to go to another counter to pay for the extra weight. This is where our problems began. An Air Canada employee was at the counter and she was occupied at the computer doing something. We waited and waited while she sharply told us she was busy. Other uniformed personnel passed by looked at the line and did nothing.
Some people in line indicated they were missing their flight while the Air Canada employee worked on her computer and paid no attention to our distress. After standing in line for 45 minutes, I demanded to see a manager while she totally ignored me. Finally, another AC employee came to the counter to help us but not before she chatted with the lady at the computer. I have never flown AC before but somehow expected better. Gentlemen, in Frankfurt you have a problem, they don't know the value of a customer.