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.
WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA -- I have had previous unpleasant traveling experiences with Air Canada in 2000 and 2003. However, I simply figured that it was a long time ago and perhaps isolated incidents and decided to give it another try. I booked a flight that connected through Montreal to Heathrow from Washington DC. There were some weather-related delays and I was told I would have to now fly to Toronto instead of Montreal. I agreed and after a few hours delay and several very unpleasant encounters with Air Canada staff I arrived in London only to find out that my bags had never made it.
I wasn't able to receive my luggage until Christmas day, in the afternoon. I was upset about this, but understood that sometimes these things happen. My flight returning on January 10th was also delayed but no one notified any of the passengers of this until after the scheduled departure time, at which point I inquired whether or not I would be able to make my connecting flight. I was treated as if it was my fault that the plane was delayed and was given abrupt and rude replies and made to feel that I wasn't worthy of a proper answer. After a 2-hour delay the plane was finally ready for take-off.
When we got closer to our destination the pilot informed us that passengers heading to Baltimore would have to spend the night in Toronto. I was distraught but again knew that there was nothing I could do about it. When we arrived in Toronto, I was informed that if I were to rush I'd make the connecting flight to Baltimore. I inquired about my bags, and very rudely I was told that they would not make it and that they would be delivered once the plane arrived, which would be the next day because there was no longer any flights to Baltimore. I was told to head to my gate and when I asked which way to go I was told to read the sign.
At this point, I was tired, and extremely frustrated with the Air Canada staff. There was a fellow passenger who was experiencing the same frustrations and shared with me that this happens to her almost every time she flies with Air Canada. I vowed to never fly Air Canada again and made my way to the gate. Once I arrived at Baltimore International Airport, I headed to baggage claim to give my information for my luggage. There was no one there so we had to wait for a man to show up and tell us that he's not an employee of Air Canada but a contractor. He said he'll be delivering our luggage and for us to fill out a form.
I verified again when our bags would arrive and was told that it would be the next day at the earliest. I rushed to get out of the airport because I had a dinner engagement I had to get to and I was already running very late. I had left my mobile phone at home because I didn't want any interruptions and I wasn't expecting a phone call. However, my cousin informed me that she had received a message on her phone from a man claiming he had my luggage and was outside my house (I had given her number as an alternate number). I called him back only to have him YELL at me saying that the reason phone numbers are given is so you can be reached at anytime.
I tried to reason with him by telling him that unless my bags were on the same plane I was on, it couldn't have arrived. He said it had arrived and that he was now on his way back to the airport and that he would have to deliver my bags the next day at an unspecified time. I begged and pleaded with him that he come back and he finally agreed to meet me at my house in 20 minutes. I explained to him that I was in the middle of having dinner 2 miles from my house. However would be able to meet him outside and get my bags from him. He agreed, but said if he didn't see me outside that he'd leave and would not come back.
I was amazed to be treated this way after all I had gone through that day with the airline, but still I went outside after 20 minutes because I didn't want to miss him. It was raining, cold and I had no umbrella but I waited patiently at a major intersection next to the traffic light. When I called him, he again YELLED at me and said that I had to wait and that he'd call when he got there. He finally called stating he couldn't see me. I asked him to describe the vehicle he was in, and he said a van but refused to elaborate. He was belligerent and extremely unprofessional.
After 15-20 minutes of me standing and walking in the rain in heels, in the middle of having dinner, he finally arrived. He of course did not have my bags, but mistakenly had somebody else's and had a very nonchalant attitude offering no apology. I was furious and the rest of my evening was effectively ruined. I was so mad I cried. My luggage was finally delivered the next day at a later time than I was told and with no choice I had to of course wait for it. I wrote the tag number of the rudest human being I've had the misfortune to cross paths with but I was so disheartened I didn't even have the desire to place a complaint.
However, I decided to do so now as I am still angry and don't want anyone to have to go through what I went through. I travel to Canada and to Europe very often and though delays and cancellations can and do happen, mistreatment should not. This was by far the worst experience I've ever had to endure and will make sure to inform friends, family and acquaintances to select another airline.
I hate flying with AC. Every time it has been a bad experience. If it's not the bad attitudes and nose up in the air flight attendants, it's the non-complacent ho hum bull from the rest of the pitiful staff. The onboard service is archaic to say the least and an insult to Canadians. Their flights are way overpriced. And you're right the attendants are usually old and grumpy. I usually go out of my way and avoid AC. I just came back from Hawaii for two weeks. On the way from Calgary to Vancouver we had 45 other passengers on board going to the same destination and another 20 flying to Honolulu.
We were getting concerned that because of a 3-hour delay we would miss the connecting flight upon arriving in Vancouver. Trying to get AC personnel to give any information on whether there was any possibility of holding the Hawaii flight back was useless. The service counter told us they would not hold the plane for us. Not being in this predicament before, I had no idea what would happen if we missed our flight in Vancouver. When I asked the AC Service person she told me that if it was missed due to a weather issue then it's our problem. You could imagine what happen next. The service desk was consumed by unruly passengers demanding for help.
The AC service person just ignored anyone's request and basically was no further help. When we were on flight to Vancouver the Pilot announced that they would hold back the Hawaii flight for all of the 45 passengers on board. On the way back from Hawaii it was no better. The attitude of the staff was rude and unfriendly as usual.
One example was upon takeoff from Vancouver to Calgary, which happen to be delayed for 2 hours, Lord only knows why, we boarded on time, again waiting for either luggage to come aboard or staff to show up or deicing or sitting in the deicing bay waiting for traffic clearance and then waiting for another deicing check, well you get what I am saying. Anyway when we finally took off, there was water or accumulated condensation in two separate overhead luggage compartments pouring down on 2 young kids. They were on opposite sides of the plane. A male flight attendant got up quickly on one side of the isle and covered the one youth with a towel or blanket.
But on the other side there was water pouring down on the other youth and the parents were desperately trying to help the near panic-stricken child with little or nothing they could do. And then the mother of the child looked back to were the flight attendant was sitting and ask for assistance. This was after several times trying to page the attendant electronically. The flight attendants immediate response in the most ignorant voice you can imagine was "it's not life threatening". Instead of responding politely with "I'll be there as soon as I possibly can". And then apologizing for the event.
I fly with WestJet. They treat you with respect and go out of there way for the most part to help you out. We pay big bucks to travel now days and for that money I expect service. After all it is a service industry not a government subsidized travel serviced industry. This is to be expected from our wonderful government. Oh wait a minute, AC is subsidized by the tax payers and happens to have been bailed out by us a few times already. Go figure.
Flying back from Paris to Toronto December 27, 2008. Air Canada staff on long haul flight spent most of the 8.5 hours standing in the galley talking to their friends who were also on the flight. Had to go ASK for water after no stewards had come around for more than 3 hours. This seemed to annoy the steward greatly, as I had to walk into the galley to ask. Asked this steward for directions on how to navigate Pearson airport, as due to flight delay, I was now in danger of missing connecting flight. I asked if there was any assistance provided to get me to my connecting flight. I was told "You're on you're own".
I asked for directions through the airport system to speed my way through. I was told "Go through the hallway, to level three" and he walked off. Pearson Airport is MASSIVE and has three terminals. I had no idea what hallway he was talking about and level three was in fact, the wrong place for domestic departures. At 3 P.M. Toronto time, for reasons unknown all, walkways in Terminal 1 were non-operational. Walked at least 1/4 mile with luggage to my gate. Flight at the gate desk was posted as being ON TIME, even though the clocked showed it was already an hour late.
Woman at desk REFUSED to communicate, answer any questions from any of the confused passengers and snapped at all customers who were merely asking when the connecting flight might leave, or if it would. We are not idiots and yes, we do understand that weather causes delays. This is NOT what any of the CUSTOMERS were asking, we only wanted a status update. After 5 hours of waiting, suddenly the gate board changed to read a Halifax flight. No information was given regarding where the flight to Winnipeg had gone.
100 passengers were milling about trying to help each other, huddled around one man with a Blackberry who was getting web updates on Air Canada cancellations. Air Canada woman at desk continued to stare into space. An hour later, she finally announced the flight was indeed cancelled. She put a 1-800 number up on the board for rebooking. An elderly gentleman could not read the number and Russian travellers could not understand what to do. They were in the same boat as the rest of us, who are Canadian and actually read English. The elderly gentleman and the Russians were spoken to so patronizing and with such contempt, I was embarrassed.
Finally, we were yelled at by the Air Canada woman to go to Air Canada customer service desk and re-book, which was "down the hall". If you've ever been to Pearson Terminal 1 you will understand that this could mean anything - "What hallway?", we wondered. Like dazed cattle, we wandered off. I tried phoning the number this crabby woman posted from a pay phone 10 feet from her desk. After being on hold for 1 hour, I very politely asked her if she could step over my way as I had a question. She refused, even though she was standing at an empty desk.
I explained that if I hung up and walk to her, the last hour would be wasted. She said "That's not my problem". All I wanted to know was whether or not we should give up for the night and find a hotel in Toronto. She picked up her purse from the desk and walked away in the middle of my sentence. I tried another Air Canada agent at another desk that was also empty. I just wanted information and directions. She stood there and talked on her cell phone to her girlfriend for 15 minutes as I watched, before finally looking at me and yelling "I'm on the phone - can't you see that?", and continued talking about last night's party.
This seemed pointless, so I walked off in search of SOMEONE who could direct me. I spent 1 hour wandering around Pearson Airport trying to find the Air Canada customer service desk. Never did. I'm not a stupid person and can follow directions. None posted. Finally I left the secure area and tried the main Air Canada ticketing desk. A very rude "Air Canada Ambassador" (insert sarcastic snort here) was yelling at the group that this was not the desk for rebooking a flight, but only for buying tickets. "Where do we go to rebook?," said the group of dazed cattle. "I don't know," she snapped and walked off.
I went back through security again (always a pleasant experience) and wandered with the rest of the passengers. The elderly man was sitting down, he had no idea what to do, or where to go and could not continue walking around and around. Finally, I stopped an Air Canada pilot walking through with his flight luggage. That's right, a PILOT, and politely asked him if we should give up for the night. He was the only human who treated me with courtesy, and he and a navigator walked me to another Air Canada gate and asked the woman there if she could get me on a flight to Winnipeg.
Credit where it's due, she tried and did provide a boarding pass on the next flight, but warned the plane was still in Ottawa so would be delayed another 2 hours at least, if it arrived at all. At this point, I had been in transit over 22 hours and was ready to pass out. I went to sit down for 5 minutes and have a bit of water and think of what to do. I then went back to the gate only to find it deserted. I could no longer find my flight on the departures board, so I went BACK OUT SECURITY again to find the "Air Canada Ambassador" (insert snort).
I asked, very politely, if she could tell me if my flight had again been cancelled and what I should do, as it was no longer on the departure board. She said, "How should I know, do I look like I have a departure board in front of me?" I said, "What do you recommend?" She snapped that I should go back through security to my original gate. I explained it was deserted. She walked off in the middle of my sentence. I went BACK THROUGH SECURITY again (that's three times for one domestic flight, each time having my luggage searched) and finally found a departure board the showed the gate of my flight to Winnipeg had been changed, but the flight was not cancelled.
It was at least another 1/4 mile walk back through the terminal to the other side, where lo and behold, there was my flight departure gate and the 100 CUSTOMERS I had been wandering with for the past 8 hours. I saw the pilot who had helped me earlier also waiting and went to thank him for helping me. I will not use his name to protect him, but he said he is embarrassed by the treatment Air Canada gives its customers and HE ALSO HAD BEEN ON THE PHONE FOR THREE HOURS, trying to get information on what plane he was supposed to fly, and said the PILOTS are treated one mere step above the customers.
He also said he is waiting for retirement desperately and tells all his friends and relatives to fly WestJet. The flight was again delayed 2 hours, because this time, while we had an airplane ready and a pilot and co-pilot ready to fly, there was no steward crew. Finally after 29 hours of being in transit with this airline, I was in my seat ready to head home. My overhead light did not work, nor did the in-seat television screen. I politely mentioned this to the stewardess and said "I realize you can't fix it now, but you might want to make note of it". She snapped "I can hardly do anything about it now".
I re-explained that I realized this, and was just pointing it out so she could make note and tell the maintenance crew and she said "I guess you'll have to be content with sitting here with your eyes closed." I am not making this up. The steward on this flight made a deliberate point of bumping my arm on every pass through the cabin. I really don't know why, as the seat across the aisle was open and there was plenty of room and I merely had my arm on the armrest - that is what it's there for. He acted like a man who thought he was doing us the biggest favor possible by bringing a cart of water through the cabin.
I will sum up the hell of this experience by saying that yes, we CUSTOMERS do realize Air Canada does not control the weather and that flight delays are a part of travel. All we wanted was some information, communication and assistance to get home. What we got was silence, sarcasm and indifference. Were it not for this kind pilot, I would likely still be lying on the floor of Pearson Airport. As with everyone who has posted here, I too can say, I WILL NEVER FLY AIR CANADA AGAIN. It was a debacle from start to finish and I've never been treated so poorly by a business before.
With the exception of 1 percent of the staff that do try to be human (thank you to the kind pilot and the woman who did book me on the following flight), Air Canada is staffed by surly, angry and indifferent human beings who could not care any less. I don't know if this is a symptom of morale problems within the company and unhappy staff, but if it is, I recommend these individuals leave their positions and find something that makes them happier. They're going to have to leave soon anyway, as more and more and more of us refuse to use this airline.
It is my sincerest wish that bankruptcy follow shortly. I don't say that lightly as a Canadian. If you are reading this, try WestJet. At present, they still seem to try to accommodate the paying CUSTOMER. Air Canada might want to take some lessons. Arrived in Toronto.
HALIFAX -- I purchased a spring getaway pass for April/May 2008. On April 12, I arrived for my flight only to find that the check in was closed! My ticket printed directly from the Flight Pass site said 45 min prior to flight time for my Halifax to Boston flight. I thought I was there early, but was told I was 5 min late; that the allowed time was 60 min prior. No one could explain why my ticket said 45 min but an Air Canada official was quick to point out that it wasn't their rules, it was customs. A customs agent then approached me and said not so. If I had a boarding pass, customs will allow admittance up to 30 min before any flight.
I needed to be in Boston, so I tried to reschedule this flight. Nothing was available even through connections until the next day. I was told all flights had been overbooked this day. The agent suggested that if I could get to Toronto, she could get me from Toronto to Boston that night. (My flight pass was Eastern Getaway... So it included flights from Halifax to Toronto and points in between, plus several cities all the way to Florida). A flight pass ticket can be booked up to 60 min before departure.
She was even helpful enough to look through the system and see that Westjet did have a flight leaving in 45 min that would just get me to Toronto for the connecting flight and that there were seats available. I decided that having to pay 300 for that ticket was OK since I needed to be there that night. She said she would get my seat booked from Toronto While I got my ticket there. So I proceeded to get my Westjet ticket to Toronto and returned to get my Toronto to Boston ticket.
This is when she tells me that she was unable to use the flight pass (even though the flight was two hours away) even though she had cancelled the original booking. A ticket Toronto to Boston would be 800!! I had already spent the 300 and certainly didn't want to be stranded in Toronto and I needed to be in Boston although now I was going to be 4 hours late for the function... So I booked it and thought I could resolve things with the airline later. By the way, the Toronto to Boston flight wasn't even half full. I'm sure they could have accepted a flight pass booking!
I did write a complaint (there is no phone number for Air Canada Jazz... You either fax or email your complaint) and an automated fax reply said expect 20 business days for a response. After 6 weeks, I contacted Air Canada, who forwarded the information to Air Canada Jazz again. This time I received somewhat of a form letter telling me that it was unfortunate that I was late and that they can't hold an airplane for someone!! THAT WASN'T WHAT I WAS ASKING! The fact that I was on time by the allowances printed on my ticket was unacknowledged. I wrote again and said that I just wanted them to realize this.
I received a response that it was up to me to ensure that my flight was on time. WHAT??? To top things off, I then get an email telling me that I had been billed 150 for failing to show up for my scheduled flight. Insulting! My flight pass tickets for May still said 45 min prior to departure on them. Obviously it was an error in the flight pass section of their online booking, but why couldn't they acknowledge this? I was asking for flight credit in return for the extra money I had to spend, but this was denied. They said rules changed September 2007 and time before departure switched from 45 to 60 min to USA.
I wish this information would have been correct on my ticket... It would have saved me a lot of time and money. I'm not through pursuing this yet. I have saved all of my documents, including the airport parking stub which shows I was at the terminal 1hr 15 before departure, not that it helps any. I'm unsure how to proceed from here... Small claims? My two requests to actually speak to a person were ignored and snotty, condescending letters were sent instead. If Westjet flew to Boston, I wouldn't even consider Air Canada again.