Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Make sure you #SkipAirCanada

I had an amazing trip to Nova Scotia, Canada, recently. I didn’t want it to be marred by horrendous travel with Air Canada. I’ll get to the trip in the next blogs, with all its details, but I wanted to first warn travelers about this airline.

If you read my blog, you know by now that I try to focus on the positive and rarely post negative. I just don’t see the point in talking about the bad when there is so much good. Occasionally, I need to change that strategy. This is one of those times.

Here is the letter I sent to Air Canada, which details what happens. At the time, I was suffering from an arthritis flare AND had a respiratory infection and fever. I was traveling in a wheelchair.

> From:
> Sent: 20/08/2017 12:27 PM
> Subject: Treatment by Your Airline
> I don't even know where to begin with my (first) experience with your airline. I guess it started weeks before my flight when I wrote that I was a journalist flying to do a tv segment and a story. No response in weeks. That should have told me how much Air Canada cares about customers.
> Despite the fact that I have been going through chemo and recovering from a respiratory infection, I got up at 4:30 am and drove an hour and a half to Indianapolis airport. This trip was for my job-to cover a day in Halifax and then three days in Fox Harbr. I expected Air Canada to do its job too. I was wrong.
> Ten minutes before boarding, it was announced that our flight would be delayed for two hours. It hadn't left Toronto yet. Obviously, everyone knew before boarding time that it hadn't left Toronto yet (lie 1). The agent told me that it was too late to get me on the flight through Montreal and I was going to miss my connection and there was nothing he could get me (lie 2).
> I called Air Canada and explained that I only had a short time in Halifax with the tourist board to do my story and she said she couldn't get me in until 10:30 at night (lie 3). She said it was because of bad weather in NY and Canada (lie 4-at that moment, my daughter was boarding an on-time plane in sunny NY to Canada).
> When we finally got on our flight, the pilot apologized for the mechanical problems in Toronto (proving 4 was a lie). He said he would try to make up some time so we can make our connections. We did, but when we got there we couldn't get to a gate. "Oh, well," was all he said.
> Since I was ill, I was traveling in a wheelchair. I asked the flight attendant and the wheelchair attendant if there was a way for me to get to that flight. "I don't know, we'll ask the next person. " everyone continued to chat and pass my wheelchair around until someone finally said, "that flight left!"
> I was taken to a desk where they told me that I was on the 4:30 plane. Then I was taken in the wheelchair to security, where the woman told me there would be a wheelchair on the other side to take me to my gate. There wasn't and I was told they didn't have enough, so they dropped me a distance from my gate.
> Exhausted and wheezing, I made my way to the desk. I said there wasn't a wheelchair and if they can't find one, please give me time to get on the plane and a seat toward the front. He said, “no problem.”
> Well, he continued to give out seat assignments for 30 minutes. When he finally got to me, I was in row 32!! I said there was no way I could walk back there and I was told I didn't have a choice, he had given out the closer seats. I was exhausted, coughing and couldn't breathe by the time I made it back there. The flight attendants are more human than the rest of your staff.
> Since you fly out of the U.S., I would think you are held to the same standards when it comes to treating the disabled well, but it doesn't seem that anyone on the ground cares.
> If it was up to me, I would never step foot in an Air Canada terminal again, but I cannot afford to buy another flight. PLEASE make sure that I am treated with dignity and respect on my return flight, which I hope will run smoothly-or we will at least be told the truth if there are problems.
> I would really like to re-write the current opening to my stories and TV segment... Head to Nova Scotia for a wonderful vacation, but stay away from Air Canada.
> PS your social media which is usually my go-to for help during travel,
> also had no interest in going out of their way

No response from Air Canada in the five days before my next flights, which were just as bad. Both flights were delayed, the second of which I was rushed to the gate, told that there was no time for food or the bathroom. Again, at the gate, we were told we were boarding soon, when the agent knew very well that the plane had not only not arrived, it hadn’t left its previous destination!

The response from Air Canada was not only a ridiculous denial of everything that happened, but a “gesture of will” $150 e-coupon. I informed them that the coupon wouldn’t get me even a one way flight and I’m not about to gamble on paying for flights and being treated so badly again. This is all I got..

“To show our regret about the service you received, we offered you the travel discount as a goodwill gesture. We hope you understand that we have made an honest effort to address the situation and we hope to have the opportunity to welcome you on board in the future.”

I didn’t even respond.

I urge everyone to give serious consideration before you book anything with Air Canada. Not only did I experience horrid customer service with FOUR consecutive flights, but they refuse to even credit them.

#SkipAirCanada I definitely will.

P.S. Stay tuned for the report on that wonderful (on land) trip to the Halifax region of Nova Scotia, Canada


Brangelina said...

You've just discovered the hard way what thousands of Canadians already know - Air Canada is garbage, with a long history of treating its passengers like yesterday's trash. The only way they stay in business is because there is only one other option, and it doesn't have as many routes. Meanwhile, the Canadian government does nothing to ensure passenger rights. It turns out we are neither nice nor polite, nor socially responsible when it comes to our airlines.

Spiritstraveler said...

Yes, unfortunately, I've heard that from a lot of people. It's very sad. I fly enough to know there can be problems, but four flights in a row? And, not treating people with any respect?

If I can just get people to think twice before they book Air Canada, I'll be glad I told my story.

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