MONTREAL, QUEBEC CANADA -- Back on Friday, October 11, 2013, I went from Toronto, Ontario Canada to Caracas, Venezuela with Two (2) Pieces Of Luggage, however, one of the pieces of luggage did NOT make it all the way to my destination and when I arrived in Caracas, Venezuela back on Saturday, October 12, 2013, that is when I learned that I only have One (1) Piece Of Luggage with me instead of Two (2).
When I arrived in Caracas, I did fill out an Air Canada Damaged Baggage/Lost Property Report. Furthermore, when I arrived at the place that I was staying at out in Maracay, Venezuela back on Saturday, October 12, 2013, I also contacted their 1-888-689-2247 phone number to File A Claim and received File Number: CCSAC 12897.
During the conversation with the 1-888-689-2247 phone number that I called to file the claim, I was also told to go on to the website and file the Air Canada Baggage Declaration Form which clearly states on their website that it must be Completed And Sent In Within 21 Days From Your Arrival Date [and in this case, I had it processed by the United States Postal Service within 21 Days back on Thursday, November 1st, 2016 which is within the 21 Days according to the United States Postal Service Stamp indicated on my receipt] and NOT within the Seven (7) Days As Indicated In Their Response Letter Of Decline dated on Thursday, November 14, 2013 which came back from Oge Ogbechie, Baggage Claims Specialist.
After receiving the Bogus Lying Decline Letter from Oge Ogbechie, Baggage Claims Specialist, I immediately contacted Ms. Yvette Poch, Executive Assistant To Mr. Calin Rovinescu, President And Chief Executive Officer at: (514) 422-5855
and/or [yvette.poch at airCanada.ca] who told me to resubmit my paperwork back to Oge Ogbechie for reconsideration in which I did back on Saturday, November 23, 2013.
The News Only Gets Worst: Back on Tuesday, November 26, 2013, I received another response letter this time coming from Ms. Natalie Brisebois, General Manager - Baggage Claims and in her letter she makes constant excuses to find Fictitious and Untrue, Illegitimate Reasons of Why I Do Not Deserve To Get Reimbursed For My Stolen Articles From My Luggage. For example, she states that the 21 day time limit does NOT count towards my Missing and/or Stolen Luggage and/or Articles from Inside Of My Luggage and that I was supposed to make a Claim In Writing Within Seven (7) Days Which Was NEVER Told To Me Until After I Had Filed My Claims Within The (21) Days From The Date Of My Arrival As Explained Earlier On In My Negative Review.
Please NOTE: I beg to differ on that, however, I did Make A Claim Over The Phone In Less Than Seven (7) Days and was Even Given The File Number of: CCSAC 12897 as mentioned earlier.
Basically this company is Too Cheap and Selfish To Take Care Of Their Customers and if this would have been with Any American Airline Company, I Would Have NEVER Been Mistreated And Abused in the Low Class, Deceiving Manner That I Already Had Been Through With Air Canada.
Since they have Refused To Legitimately And Honestly Reimburse Me For My Small Losses which are only for $500.00, I have already Filed A Small Claims Lawsuit Against Them and will see them in the Los Angeles Superior Court on
Wednesday, October 5th, 2016.
I Will Never Use Air Canada's Services Again And Neither Should You!
Thank you for Nothing!
Howard Paul Shore
Angry And Upset Air Canada Former Customer
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!
MONTREAL -- Foremost, I'd like to apologize to all Air Canada customers who had a negative/unfriendly/poor/bad experience with the airlines. And I know there are lots!
I, for myself, as an employee of Air Canada, realize and understand the frustration to be on a Air Canada flight and how for most part we care for you. Let say that from way up the corporation ladder starting with our president Robert Milton to the different departments(especially inflight service) under the corporate management, as employees we are being treated like s h I t...
I know some of you folks will be upset at the word but really you can ask Air Canada employees around and if they are just a tiny bit honest, they will tell you their true feelings for the company they work for. (and we are thousands..;)
For most part it is always a bad experiences for us also to deal with our employer like you customers when you get to board a flight with us. As customers, we know where you stand; you are just a notch higher than us employees. But really no one cares fo you that much!!!
We are all in the same boat here and as far as competetion (all our flights are full), We (Air Canada management) don't really care if you get service or not because money is rolling in the Bank One way or the other and you don't have the choice anyway but to fly with us.
So it is a vicious cycle, and that as an employee sometimes we pass along to our customers. Most of our flights are short crewed compare to any other major airlines in the world with the exception to the United States.
When it comes to emergency procedures we are all fully trained and capapble however don't expect the same response as Air France evacuation at Pearson airport because there will be simply not enough staff to open all the doors for you to evacuate. And it is getting worst!
With government legislatons and lobbying by Air Canada to reduce crew complements on aircraft (more money in CEO pocket), service is certainly aiming to be less than today (you will be paying soon for pillows and blankets also) and safety reduce accordingly.
As for the environment, we are one of the biggest consumer of paper in today's world of paperless high technology (trees and trees are being cut just for the paper us at Air Canada that goes back every single day into waste bins). I was told by a pilot that we are the 2nd largest press in Canada. Headsets are not recyclable and are filling by millions our dumpsites, our land simply because Air Canada is not environmently friendly.
Every time we are sick (one day or 2 days or more..) we are required to have a doctor's note to show our employer and validate our sickness. Like when we were kids and prove to the principal that we were genuinely sick. As customers, do you know how much the health care system is taxed just by us at Air Canada. Someone ought to put a stop to this abuse.
As far as I am concern, I am just an employee here going to work doing the best I can working for one of the worst employer in Canada. So if you see me sometimes not smiling back at you, please don't take it personnaly because really it is not aimed at you.
I welcome any airlines in Canada (cabotage welcome) that will offer better service at better prices. I would be the first one to fly any other airlines than AC.
At AIR CANADA, we do not plan to make things better for you in the near future. I wish it would be otherwise but don't count on it!
VANCOUVER, BC -- AIR CANADA – to Los Angeles – NOT! Attempt to travel to Los Angeles from Vancouver on New Year's EVE via AIR CANADA was ended when the pilot had me removed from the plane. It was his decision that I needed a medical certificate to fly after having a coughing reaction to perfume as we just started to back out after the plane loaded.
I had fully recovered – was seen to by AIR CANADA STAFF and by ambulance paramedics who agreed that I was fine but the captain of AIR CANADA FLIGHT 554 on December 31, 2005, decided that I would not fly on his plane. That began another host of unfortunate events which saw not only that I did not have my vacation, but that I did not return home until almost midnight without having had any meals or beverages (except a coffee with **, the only saving grace that AIR CANADA can claim), no access to my medications that were in my luggage, and not much empathy from a clearly overworked and very tired staff.
I booked my ticket through Air Canada's and since there is no avenue for identifying my special needs, I spoke to a ticket agent by telephone as I booked it so I could make sure I could be seated with my attendant, let them know I used a wheelchair for mobility, and that I was extremely allergic to perfume. This information was, as far as I know recorded in my file. When we arrived at the first counter, I again let them know about my special needs and my allergies. I wear a double medical mask to protect myself as best I can from inhaling the particles.
At Vancouver Airport all passengers are forced to go through the DUTY FREE store in order to go through Customs where there are many perfume molecules in the air, so this is the first place my lungs became agitated. At the counter at the gate I once again identified my problems and special needs to the agent at the desk who said to make sure to let the purser know. Since I use a wheelchair, I promised I would tell the staff when I was preboarded. I immediately let the staff know and they seemed accommodating.
At every turn I was honest and informative with Air Canada staff letting them know what might happen and that I had medication to handle the situation should it arise - and that I may need Emergency Oxygen should the reaction be severe. I even explained a previous experience to one flight attendant. She nodded in understanding. It was not until one of last three passengers boarded that I experienced some respiratory distress, took out my ventolin, coughed (as I do when reacting) and chewed a Benadryl.
The flight attendant asked if she could help and I said Oxygen would help (as it clears the chemical from my lungs, and is not the systemic and dangerous jolt that epinephrine –the epipen, would provide - which is really more medicine that I needed for that reaction). Within seconds I was fine… but the decision to end my flight was made. My holiday was ruined and the flight of the rest of the passengers was delayed while that poor decision was made. **, an Air Canada ground employee, decided to try valiantly to save my holiday, but was given wrong information by her own company all along the way.
First she was told that my family physician could FAX in a medical clearance so we managed to get hold of the doctor, get her FAXED the necessary forms, which she prepared to FAX to the MEDICAL DESK at AIR CANADA. After wasting my doctor's time and energy, it turned out she would be required to examine me again at that time to determine my fitness to travel, which was not feasible since I was at the airport and she was a 4-hour round trip away (and it was New Year's EVE!).
Meanwhile, the medical clinic at the airport which had been open when this fiasco began was now closed so that option disappeared while my poor doctor was attempting to get clearance for me. More phone calls were made. A promise was made to let my travelling partner know I would be coming to meet him the next morning – he did not receive any messages from Air Canada when he deplaned in Los Angeles – nor did he get any message on the flight before he deplaned. He had no idea they were working on saving the vacation for me.
By this time all the walk-in clinics in Richmond had closed and I had to go to Richmond Hospital Emergency Clinic to get clearance to fly. I arrived there at 4:30 and saw a doctor at 6:15 and had the needed note in my hand by 6:30. **, from AIR CANADA, had arranged for me to stay for $82.00 plus tax at a nearby hotel so I could fly out in the morning. I agreed that it might be a worthy investment to save my holiday. AIR CANADA did not offer to pay this expense. The hotel was near the hospital but it was raining and cold and dark so I could not wheel myself to this hotel. Wheelchair taxis were averaging over an hour wait.
The hotel said they would come and pick me up. I had a contact at the hotel named ** who kept promising they would pick me up shortly – I communicated several times with him by cell phone – which meant I had to exit the hospital into the cold night air as cell phones are not allowed at Richmond hospital. I also was now unable to get hold of anyone at the MEDA desk number ** had given me for AIR CANADA – I just got a recording every time I called. (My cell phone records will document all my outbound calls.)
If I did fly out, I would have no way of connecting with my partner… I phoned the hotel again - I finally gave them my cell number – still no one came. At 8:30 I called again in tears and was given the hotel manager who said he knew nothing about it and would send someone – I asked them to bring my luggage to the hospital then phoned my son to come and get me and take me home to Anmore. I arrived home just after 11:30 PM.
TORONTO -- I have found Air Canada to be quite distant from its customers especially if something goes wrong with their service. Basically, they do not have the infrastructure in place to connect you to a thinking, empowered, empathizing human being who can put you in the loop and sympathize a little concerning your plight. There are exceptions, but they are not available through "normal" channels.
First, their call center system is downright useless. As you repeatedly call for an update on your lost luggage, it begins to dawn on you that the call centre has been outsourced to someplace on the other side of the world (probably India), and is being manned by a roomful of people who sit in front of computers running WorldTracer (which you can access yourself in a limited way on the web), whose status reports are vague one-liners, usually something like "tracing continues --please try again later".
Of course all these people can do is quote the screen and politely ask you if there is anything else they can do for you in their fake American accents. Asking them to think the situation out is hopeless. They have no idea where your baggage could be. They are absolutely terrified of committing to a hypothetical scenario lest it come back to them. They have no real thoughts outside of that WorldTracer screen. And they conveniently cannot call their supervisor nor make any calls to other Air Canada departments.
This is what I mean by no empowerment. You get the feeling that they are waiting for the bags to come back to them like a lost puppy. It begs the question: What tracing? Waiting on your rear end twiddling your thumbs until someone else corrects your mistake for you is not tracing. Because they are disconnected from the rest of the company, you feel REALLY disconnected.
In the end, the best thing you can do, though it is not much better, is to try calling the relevant airports. You can only hope that you speak their language or they speak yours. Anyway, it is something that the call center people are not allowed to do, so you might as well give it a try. Ask for the various lost and found departments.
The most helpful person I talked to was the person I talked to at Toronto's Pearson International Airport (www.gtaa.com) who was a real live human being who was capable of sympathy, an overview of the situation with possible scenarios (just for reassurance -- not asking him to commit to it) and, in the end, a bit of optimism from past experience. He was even able to check the lost and found just in case the tag had come off the bag or something. It wasn't there but at least he tried. Though he should not be, he is the exception at Air Canada.
Their polished exterior is like a fresh coat of paint that is meant to try to hide the rust holes in the company. Just the other day a friend's flight was delayed. Their website (www.aircanada.ca) could not keep up with the changes in arrival times even though the information was promptly available at the airport's website (www.gtaa.com), thank god. Sure their website LOOKS good... but does it DO anything useful for paying customers under the pressures of ever-changing schedules which are, admittedly, the norm in air travel.
Of course, I have flown Air Canada many times and the flights themselves are fine. I am under the impression that the front line staff of Air Canada are top notch. It is away from the front line that they lack competence and even a sense of what is happening on the front line. The disconnect leaves a bad taste in the mouths of customers and it does not honor the efforts of the people who are out there busting their humps to make air travel possible.
One last comment... Has anyone else noticed that the ombudsperson's website for Air Canada is completely unlinked from their main website? There does not seem to be a way to navigate, via links, from www.aircanada.ca to **, possibly the one department that can be helpful to customers. Or is that the point?
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.