Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Air Canada is not awesome. Surprise!

In the news yesterday and today: Some Edmontonians have still not received their lost Christmas baggage from Air Canada. Air Canada is acknowledging it dropped the ball over the Christmas season and did not respond as it should have during the weather-related travel delays.

Big shock, Air Canada is garbage. Unlike the smiling West Jetters who have been known to care so much (my friend Mary upon arriving in Edmonton last year marvelled at how the flight attendant took the screaming baby and sang to it, nearly lulling the whole plane to sleep -- "just like in the commercial"), Air Canada is not so passenger-friendly.

I had my own heinous experience with them last year, without the whole snow-storms-so-flights-are-cancelled issue. I had gotten to the airport in tons of time, signed in, got to the gate before I realized I didn't have a real seat number on my ticket, but a smattering of numbers. When I went to talk to the attendants at the desk by the gate, they had responded, "Oh yeah, we were on the look-out for you -- someone will be around to talk to you soon." Soon ended up meaning after half the plane had boarded.

The airline rep who came to talk to me broke the news to me that I would not be getting on the flight that I had paid so ridiculously much to board. Apparently they always overbook by 40 per cent, so myself and two gentlemen who were landing in Toronto would be hanging around Edmonton until further notice. Seriously, at Christmas you don't take into account that less people will be missing or cancelling their flights last minute? We were told when the next planes going to Toronto were (the earliest was 8 hours away), and assured that we were most certainly not guaranteed a spot on those overbooked planes either.

The news I wasn't going to be home, coupled with the extreme exhaustion from going out the night before and working all day to run home, pack, and head to the airport, led me to shed a few tears. I'm a crier. I'm not going to deny it. I had to hope that my luggage filled with Christmas presents would actually meet me in Toronto, since there was space for it on the plane -- just not me. Then I had to inform the family that they should not drive the two hours to the airport to pick me up, because I had no idea when I'd be there.

The holidays are stressful enough, airlines should be more considerate around the holiday season. I understand it's important to overbook to an extent to pay for expenses if people do back out, but it's all about the attitude with which you handle a situation. West Jet spent loads of money putting people up, sending them home and picking them up for a future flight, and generally doing their very best to accomodate people and make them comfortable.

Other than the lame $200 voucher I received from Air Canada (which I couldn't use to book online, making the trip just as much as if I had just booked through West Jet in the first place), I haven't booked anything through Air Canada since.


Anonymous said...

Insane. Last year they lost my luggage for 2 weeks, which included a (thankfully) well wrapped set of tupperware filled.. with homemade spaghetti sauce. I ended up wandering through the luggage no-mans land in the bowels of the airport 4 seperate times, weeping and wailing. I'm like that.

rachel said...

thank god for southwest airlines. really.

Leah said...

I don't even bother going anywhere else but They are the best - their attendents are always so funny and they are a great company to do business with. Sorry to hear about your troubles!

sarahbelledotcom said...

oh aircanada.

i travel so much across western canada, going to tournaments and such, and westjet is 100% the way to go.

i had to fly to toronto for a christmas staff party at the end of november.. my first aircanada experience in a while.

and, obviously, it sucked. they fooled me on the way there, with the touch screen, choose-what-you-want-when-you-want tv screen in front of me.. but the way back? the 7 hour delay that was spent sitting in that UNCOMFORTABLE chair because there was a HOLE IN THE ENGINE?

yeah, that sucked.