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.
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”.
SEE COMMENT AT THE END! AIR CANADA LOCATED MY LOST BAG AND THEN LOST IT AGAIN WHILE SHIPPING IT TO ME! My husband and I recently travelled on Air Canada from Boston to Madrid. We are experienced travellers and understand that delays and difficulties are part of air travel. However, Air Canada was truly so terrible that I must warn other consumers. Our flight from Boston to Toronto left very late. While flying, no Air Canada staff addressed our concerns about making our connection. They had no information about gates or expediting our transfer.
We literally dashed off the airplane and had to Sprint from one terminal in Toronto to the other. It was surreal, as we reached each checkpoint, Air Canada staff rebuked us, "Why are you so late?!" My husband is older and has a back injury so eventually we split up and I literally ran full gallop to the gate. We were so exhausted and stressed and dispirited from the experience that it had a terrible effect on us. What's more, many other airlines I have travelled on, when realizing that the flight was late, begin warning passengers, passing out gate information, and contacting connecting flights. Air Canada did nothing and we were connecting to other Air Canada flight!
We could not miss that flight because we had yet another flight to catch and my husband was giving a concert in Spain the next day. On the way home, Air Canada's flight from Madrid to Toronto was again late. This time they told us that we had missed our connector and were rescheduled while still in flight. When we asked one air attendant about which terminal we were headed to, he asked a sarcastic rhetorical question of us, "Is Boston in the U.S.?" The directions had been very confusing, we are educated people and had listened attentively.
Upon arriving in Toronto, we discovered one of our pieces of luggage had not come with us. Air Canada has lost it. The process of discovering this took literally 2 hours in the Toronto airport with an unresponsive and unsympathetic staff watching us watch the baggage carousel. I will not bore you with the details of how many questions went unanswered, obvious suggestions and polite inquiries brushed aside by indifferent Air Canada employees. Back in Boston we filed our lost baggage claim with an Air Canada representative who angrily corrected us, "DELAYED baggage claim."
Now I have been calling their pathetic and incompetent phone service in India for 36 hours to check the status. Over and over I am asked the same questions by well-meaning, under-paid third world workers who struggle with English. Now I understand that Air Canada will not reimburse me for jewelry or electronics that went missing. This is obscene! I never signed a waiver or a contract releasing them of this liability. They also won't provide a per diem rate unless I fight for it.
I am so angry and sad. I lost things of intense personal value. I can be criticized for putting these in a checked bag. Sometimes when you're travelling and under the stress of the weight and size limits of carry-on bags, you take a chance. In any case, I will NEVER EVER TAKE A CHANCE AND FLY WITH AIR CANADA AGAIN.
I flew from Thunder Bay to Toronto on a business trip yesterday, direct nonstop. I had a carry on suitcase but the flight I was getting on was delayed and I didn't want the hassle of having to worry about the carry on while I waited so I decided to checked it in. Since I had originally planned on taking the suitcase in the cabin with me I had packed my car keys and daily medication in my suitcase, which is now checked in cargo or wherever they put it. When I got to Toronto, I waited and waited for the luggage and then finally decided to check at the counter to see what happened. The agent was super helpful and immediately went to work trying to solve the problem.
After many phone calls and rushing to the back he made the decision to put in a file to trace the bags. He was even helping other customers while he was being put on hold. When I went to get on parking lot bus to get my vehicle I realized that my car keys were in my suitcase and I had no way to get home. I went to the representative working at the check-in kiosk, told my story and she directed me to another counter where I was presented with a voucher for an airport limo to my home, a normal 90 fare.
This morning I called the number on the card I was given for updates and question and the phone attendant was very helpful and added to my file that I had important medications in the bag. This afternoon I received a phone call telling me that the bag has been located and I would receive a phone call very soon from the courier. An hour later a courier called me and told me he would be to my home around 11 pm and since it was late he could leave the bag on the porch if I signed a paper saying it's OK to leave it and tape it to the door. That sounded fishy to me so I waited until he arrived and checked the contents to make sure everything was there before he left.
He was very considerate and waited while I checked, nothing had been touched. I am not an elite member or a super elite member and my ticket was not business class. Although it was an inconvenience to lose my luggage and who knows how they could possibly lose an entire plane's luggage I suspect it was due to the flights delay and delays are usually for legitimate reasons. Stuff happens! I must say the entire process was pain free and I must give thumbs up to Air Canada for a job well done.
My only complaint is every phone call and every person that I dealt with except for the courier was in South Asia and the phone lines were very poor. Add the poor quality phone lines to the accents and communication was tough. Come on Air Canada. Bring those jobs home.
I would like to express my disappointment toward the service my family and I received. At time of the check-in at the Pierre-Elliot Trudeau airport, in Montreal, the woman at the counter for the Elite members was very cold and rude. She never greeted us or smiled. My dad is an elite member and when he asked her if his family (my mother, my sister and I) could join him in the maple leaf lounge, she replied with a simple "no". When we got to the lounge, we found out that we could, in fact, join him. During the flight, there was a period of turbulence. My dad is a 60-year old man who is very sick and borderline incontinent.
He tried getting up to use the washroom when the seat belt sign was still on. He was intercepted by the flight attendant (whose name is **) who told him to sit down for as long as the sign was still on. My dad told him that he was going to urinate in his pants. Instead of politely telling my dad to wait a little longer for the captain to turn off the seat belt sign, he replied: "That's right. You're just going to have to pee in your pants". My dad sat down and barely 5 minutes later, when the seat belt sign was still on, another passenger walked by ** to go to the bathroom and he didn't stop her. When my dad asked him why he didn't stop her, ** said: "There's no turbulence".
I am truly disgusted by ** and his serious lack of professionalism. He was rude and unprofessional during the entire flight. When he made announcements on the microphone, he opted for a miserable tone of voice and let out big sighs to clearly show his boredom. He also never made an effort to stick to the script. For example, instead of saying: "Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has turned the seat belt sign on. Please return to your seats and buckle your seat belts." he would say: "Ladies and gentlemen, buckle your seat belts."
After the incident, ** never apologized for his behaviour even though he had the opportunity to do so as we were exiting the aircraft at our arrival and on the return trip. To the contrary, he refused to give us his name. We had to read it off his name tag when he walked by. At the time of the check-in for our return trip, the woman at the Elite members' counter was just as rude as the one in Montreal. If your Elite members, who are giving you a lot of business, are being treated like insignificant human beings, I wonder how the rest of the clients are being treated. I also wonder why we should keep giving you our business.
Note that my father, who is presently an Elite member, will stop travelling with you. He will also start a motion in his department to make sure no one in the office travels with you. My family and I will never travel with you again and we will keep spreading the word about the poor service you give to make sure that none of our friends travel with you.
My wife and I are extremely dissatisfied with the terrible treatment we received at the Vancouver International Airport on the part of Air Canada. We arrived in Vancouver on May 28th, 2010 from Beijing, China. We flew Air China from Beijing to Vancouver on Flight # CA991. Unfortunately, our flight from Beijing left approximately 6 hours late, and therefore we missed the flight that I had booked on Air Canada to fly from Vancouver to Winnipeg. (Flight AC 296 - departure 14:25)
When we arrived at the Air Canada counter in order to see if we could get on another flight, we were told by the customer service representative that we could get on flight AC 298, which was departing at 18:30 from Vancouver. I assumed that Air Canada would simply issue a new ticket and boarding pass for us. However, we were informed that because I had booked our Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Winnipeg separately from the Air China flight, we would be required to pay an additional $150.00+ CAD per person. The customer service representative said we would have to take up the issue of the late flight with Air China.
We're interested in knowing what the extra charge was for. It certainly didn't cost Air Canada anything to put us on the new flight. Neither my wife nor I could believe what we were hearing from the Air Canada representative. I understand that according to Air Canada's policy, since we had booked the two flights separately instead of all together, that Air Canada is not responsible for the fact that Air China was late in leaving Beijing. However, the customer service representatives surely have some flexibility in this regard, especially since the individual we were dealing with was the shift supervisor on that afternoon in Vancouver.
My wife and I have spent literally thousands of dollars travelling on Air Canada in the past 22 years. Additionally, there were at least four empty seats on flight AC 298 on the 28th of May, 2010 from Vancouver to Winnipeg. We had also been travelling for approximately 24 hours by that time and both of us were exhausted. We were simply interested in getting to Winnipeg to see our parents. I find it absolutely unacceptable that the customer service representative at the airport on that afternoon couldn't have "kindly" put us on that flight without charging us an extra $300+. In our view, this is simply a "rip off." Air Canada has taken advantage of two of its customers.
We will not be taken advantage of by Air Canada again. As far as I am concerned, we will do everything possible to avoid flying on Air Canada in the future. Sadly, the Customer Service Representative that refused to be "flexible" on that afternoon of the 28th of May, 2010 was also the shift supervisor. I wish I had gotten his name to turn over to Air Canada, but unfortunately I neglected to do so. He actually told my wife and I that we were responsible for rebooking our flights. How were we supposed to do that when we were stuck at the airport in Beijing? What an ignorant comment to make to two customers.
I did make my displeasure clearly known to him. His ignorance in dealing with customers should be addressed. I have sent this complaint to Air Canada's President so that he is aware of exactly the type of treatment that some of Air Canada's CSR's Dole out to customers. My wife and I both expect to be compensated by Air Canada for this unacceptable treatment. We expect to have the charge for that flight change, which cost Air Canada absolutely nothing to make, returned to us. I'll keep you posted as to how Air Canada handles this.
DORVAL, QUEBEC -- I have been reading several of the recent reviews regarding lost luggage and noticed a recent pattern of losses emanating from Calgary. I thought it may be worthwhile to share my recent loss as well. In early October I travelled on business from Toronto to Calgary for one night then on to Vancouver for another two. Sometime between checking in my luggage in Calgary en route to Vancouver and arriving at the carousel in Vancouver approximately one hour and 15 minutes later, my luggage was lost and has never been recovered.
I was assured on numerous occasions that my bag was not lost and would be recovered and delivered to my hotel in Vancouver within 24 hours. I received the same answer repeatedly after numerous calls over the next 6 days. I was promised a token $50 dollars for every day that my luggage was delayed, which has never been paid to me. On day 7, I received a call confirming that the bag was still lost and likely would not be recovered. I was told to complete a claim form in order to be reimbursed for my belongings.
I'm not going to detail the stress, frustration, missed meetings, cost of my hotel, airfare, meals, missing business attire and having to purchase clothing, shoes, toiletries etc. while also trying to frantically reschedule meetings, apologize for missed meetings etc. while I attended to purchasing replacements. I'm sure any business traveller could empathize with the circumstances.
To my surprise, Air Canada requested an itemized list and purchase receipts for each item in my bag along with location of the stores where I purchased each item. This information was required along with proof of my ticket purchase, baggage tag, and claim number and to top it off, I had to get the entire claim form notarized in order to receive a refund. There's more... Air Canada does not cover jewelry, business documents, electronics or other valuable articles...and lastly, and perhaps most disturbing is that Air Canada does not cover any claim above $1500.
My very polite letter confirmed that "Tariff Regulations" limits the liability for loss, damage or delay of checked baggage. In the closing paragraph of the reply letter, Air Canada stated that they "regret the inconvenience I experienced and trust that all my future travels with Air Canada will be to my complete satisfaction". This is very comforting to me having just lost $5000 worth of personal belongings. I can't wait to book my next flight and entrust Air Canada with my luggage.
I replied to the hollow letter cited above signed a baggage claim specialist with a letter to the VP of Customer Service voicing my displeasure with Air Canada's response to my claim, only to receive yet another letter from the same Baggage Claims Specialist reiterating their position. Based on this experience, I now understand why Air Canada has the undistinguished reputation of being one the worst airlines for customer service in the industry. Additionally, they are also facing what appears to be systemic theft problem at major airports such as Calgary International.
Based on the other reviewers who have experienced a similar situation in recent months, Air Canada does not appear to be prepared to be accountable and take responsibility by doing the right thing and equitably compensating their customers for their losses. It's time that Air Canada customers stop accepting this treatment and start flying with alternative carriers wherever possible.
On Sunday Nov 29 my daughter's father-in-law passed away suddenly in Baie Verte NL. After some discussion it was decided that I would buy a ticket for her mother to fly there, attend a funeral and support her through this extremely stressful situation. I logged onto Air Canada website, purchased the ticket and received a confirmation number ** which I passed on to my ex-wife. She lives in Lloydminster Alberta so had to get up at 1:00 am and drive 3 hours to Edmonton to the airport so she could make this flight. She stood in line, luggage in hand and was told by the check-in personnel that she could not board, her ticket had been “flagged” whatever that means.
I received my first call at 5:15 about this problem from my ex-wife and asked to speak to the person at the check-in counter and was told that they would not speak with me, I needed to call the 1888 number (that was how it was put, not the complete number, just the 1888 number) if I wanted to resolve this. I called the 1888 number after I found it on Air Canada's website and was put on hold. I tried several times to call and finally after 14 minutes I was connected with service representative named ** (female) who informed me that Corporate Security had flagged my credit card.
I assured her that I was logged into my Scotia Bank account as we were speaking and it showed that the 1409.60 ticket price had indeed been taken from my balance. She put me on hold for 10 minutes or so and came back on and said it was Corporate Security and there was nothing she could do and no one she could talk to about this and if I wanted my ex-wife to get to this funeral, I would need to purchase another ticket with a different credit card.
By this time the original flight AC114 from Edmonton to Halifax had left, and I was informed that she could still get to Deer Lake NL on time AC 8884 at 18:25 out of Halifax if I paid a lot more money so that she could fly out of Edmonton at 12:05 to Halifax. I said that this was unacceptable as we had done nothing wrong. I was put on hold for another 15 minutes and was then told that my only option was to fly out at 14:05, connect in Toronto and arrive in Deer Lake at 01:55 the next morning. I booked the flight with my company credit card and got the confirmation number **.
She also told me that she was pretty sure there was something wrong with my credit card and that my bank had probably put a stop on this payment. I called Scotia Bank and was informed that there was no problem with my card and that 1409.60 CAD had indeed been confirmed to Air Canada. Air Canada still had time to do the right thing and get this woman to NL on time but chose not to. At any time, Their Corporate Security could have called me to find out if indeed there was a problem, and they chose not to. Their customer service representative could have fixed this problem before the originally booked flight left and chose not to.
No one from Corporate Security has contacted me yet, no one has told me why this ticket was cancelled without any notification as yet. I get Aeroplan and Air Canada promotional emails every day but when I needed contact with their company, there is nothing. This is completely unacceptable. I haven't even had my money credited back to my Visa for the ticket they chose to cancel. Air Canada has made an already stressful situation for my family that much more unbearable, thank you very much.
After emailing the senior VP of Customer Relations, filling in Air Canadas complaint form on line and faxing my story to their complaint department I ended up dealing with Laura Logan, who was excellent. She ensured that my ex wifes return trip had no problems, checked up on the situation and got me my refund. I was also called by the office of Mr. Rovinescu to ensure that the situation had been resolved to my satisfation. The wheels turned slowly, but they did eventually turn.
TERRACE, WASHINGTON -- I have never in the past taken the time to write to Air Canada as it has always been my understanding that customer service is your lowest priority. I should mention that as a rule I avoid travelling with your company, yet, I have managed to become a Prestige member of Aeroplan. A status that I have just found out also mean absolutely nothing, but for now, I will cover the major reasons for writing. Now, I should explain that for the most part I suffer the normal abysmal service of Air Canada, as my fellow passengers do, and is a point of great humour to discuss what new levels of low service can achieved with your efforts.
I won't for example expect an answer to why a flight attendant, after seating us on an early morning flight out of Vancouver on the way to Terrace deciding that cooking and eating his breakfast was more important than getting his customers a cup of coffee. Mind you we all enjoyed the smell of his freshly microwaved food as it flooded the plane while we sat with dry mouths and caffeine withdrawal.
Nor will I expect you to tell me why I had to be ignored while one of your flight attendants decided it was more important to complain in explicit language how incompetent the staff in the terminal was to the flight crew. Such things are just the day to day operation of Air Canada. What I will complain about was my trip from hell last week, and the even longer trip for my baggage. It all started in Ft St John, B. C. at about 9 am local time, January 30th, 2009. I was booked on Flight 8184. A very nice lady at the counter told me the aircraft was 'mechanical' and would be late or maybe cancelled. I appreciated knowing that, but that is par for the course.
She told me there would be an announcement. Well, I sat with phone in hand to make the usual rearrangements of my day, only to hear…absolutely nothing. Finally, we get told the aircraft has landed. Just as well it did if it was mechanical don't you think? It would have been nice if someone would have said something, but what the heck, it's only Air Canada. We made Vancouver on time, and I actually got lunch, so we are doing well.
I now board flight 8242 for Terrace, and as always I called my wife to say we are away on time, just before I leave the holding area. At which time we sit on the plane for 45 minutes without a clue what is happening, only to find out there is a weather advisory on this flight. Well, I can't hold weather against you (maybe). Halfway to Terrace the pilot advises us he is turning around for Safety reasons.
In the mean time, my wife is waiting for me in Terrace, where she sees the flight is going to be late (not cancelled or anything). She does see other aircraft landing from other airlines (the ones I much prefer travelling with). So she leaves, as do all the others people waiting. Everyone there believe the flight will be in at 4 pm, only it's actually on the ground in Vancouver at this time, and no one in Terrace says anything, or changes the screens. I did call her shortly after, so she didn't make the unnecessary trip but you can bet lots of people did. Now I am told since this is a weather issue, everyone is 'on their own' for hotels.
I am one of the lucky ones that gets a ticket for the evening flight. However, we are told the baggage is going to be deplaned, and sent to the baggage area outside of security and we needed to go and get it, check it back in again, and then go back through security. How utterly customer friendly this move is! But wait, there's more; the six of us wait for OVER 1 HOUR to collect our baggage so we can give it back to you! The result is by the time we checked in again, went thought security again, we are almost late for the flight we have been booked on, which is flight 8244.
Remember that lunch I got? Well my stomach had forgotten by then, but I have no time to get anything as I dash for the flight. Oh well, I am sure I can have a bag of pretzels for dinner. We get back on the plane, and of course there is another weather advisory, but what the heck, I have missed my evening appointment anyway. (If I had travelled with Hawkair I would have arrived twice already). We take off, we get there, and miracle upon miracle we land. We get off the plane and line up for our baggage. WHAT BAGGAGE? You guessed it; our baggage had been taken off.
By the way, that would be the same baggage we had to go get outside of security after waiting over an hour. IF someone had made a simple courtesy announcement, we at least would have gone home mad, and not sat around for 30 minutes waiting for bags that weren't there. I stand in line. I tell my story, and I am told my bags would be delivered to my home the next day. So, on Saturday, I wait around for my bags, as they won't deliver if I am not home. Guess what… no bags. I wait all day...and nothing.
On Sunday I call... and I call, and I call... In the afternoon I get through, and am told my bags are in Prince Rupert, but they can't get them to Terrace. But, they will get them on the night bus (Greyhound), and if I want, I can drive out to Greyhound to get them at 10:30 at night. I said "Forget it... Tomorrow is now fine." Do you think I got my bags on Monday? Hell no. Monday morning I am on the phone again, and this time no one knows. OH, I will get a call very soon when they find out. Do you think I got a call? Silly you... of course not. The bags showed up on Monday afternoon.
At no time did I get a call, an apology, anything that would suggest Air Canada gave a damn. So I guess they don't. It's no wonder that the local community up here is desperate to get Westjet in. I have heard that Air Canada customer service mantra is 'Please let us know if we haven't done enough to p*ss you off.' Let me assure you, you did. I almost forgot the Prestige thing... I was so pleased with the Business Class upgrade certificates, so I should have known there was a catch. I fly for business short haul, but I fly to Ottawa as a volunteer for a major sport organization, and I fly Tango class to save the members money. (Usually a weekend only trip).
I had hoped these coupons would make my weekend trips bearable. I guess not, as they only work on Latitude or better. Still, they sure do look pretty sitting on my fridge. If by chance you actually read this far down and my efforts don't wind up in the shredder, I sure would like to know why you think I should ever give you my money, and just what do you think will happen when no one flies with you. I know for a fact, I don't know one single person who doesn't avoid your airline. Sincerely Frustrated.