Air Canada is a Liar

I took the picture below at 1:05 p.m. That’s my flight up there on the board. Elementary physics suggests it is impossible to board a flight and take off in 5 minutes, especially with the crowd in the waiting room, which included several babies and small children.

Air Canada flight information board

Nobody expects airlines to be perfect. But the least they can do is be honest: providing false information like “your flight is on time” when it is obvious that it will not be is just plain bad basic customer service.


Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on July 28, 2004 - 18:14 Permalink

Update: It’s now 1:12 p.m., and the message board in the picture says “Thank you for flying Air Canada.” Is it possible that this is a dumb system, not connected to the flight information system, that simply resets when it “thinks” the flight is gone? No announcement about the delay yet.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on July 28, 2004 - 18:17 Permalink

It’s now 1:16 p.m. and they are doing the “pre-boarding for passengers travelling with infants and small children and others requiring special assistance.”

Johnny Rukavina's picture
Johnny Rukavina on July 28, 2004 - 18:18 Permalink

It is theoretically possible that even though the flight is boarding late, it could still arrive on time because of beneficial wind currents and what not.

Alan's picture
Alan on July 28, 2004 - 19:00 Permalink

How many Red Bulls and espressos have you had today?

Ann's picture
Ann on July 28, 2004 - 19:13 Permalink

Good one, Alan.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on July 28, 2004 - 20:59 Permalink

The flight eventually left at 1:35 p.m. On the way down the ramp I had a chance to talk to a couple of pilots who were deadheading back to Halifax on the flight. They told me that the incoming flight was late, and the crew had to clear customs, in another terminal, traveling by bus, all of which could happen quickly, or could happen slowly. They said that an Air Canada flight is considered “on sched” if the the delay will be 15 minutes or less.

To reiterate: I don’t mind (at all) that the flight is late. I have a 3-hour layover here in Halifax before flying to Moncton (yes, the absurdity of this is apparent to me, and makes YYG appear more attractive despite the insane price), so I’m not in a hurry. It simply irks me that companies brazenly provide false information like this.

For the record, I am completely caffeine free today.

Chris Corrigan's picture
Chris Corrigan on July 29, 2004 - 00:01 Permalink

It’s not just Air Canada…I flew United a couple of weeks ago to Chicago and we got in 30 minutes early. That’s unreal, especially when I discovered that someone else taking the same flight back to Vancouver also got in 30 minutes early. I think that means we broke the speed of sound or something.

One of the flight attendents said that airlines are judged somehow by their performance, and so what they do is actually lie about their estimated time of arrival, which they almost always beat.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. It’s a seven hour flight to Chicago, so settle in.” [four hours later] “Hey! how about that…we’re three hours early!”

Marcus's picture
Marcus on July 29, 2004 - 01:10 Permalink

Sounds like Canada’s Department of Finance when talking about the surplus.

Steve's picture
Steve on July 29, 2004 - 19:49 Permalink

Peter, regarding audio recording, have you considered the Griffin iTalk for your iPod? It seems like a pretty good option. I just bought an iPod and am thinking about the iTalk myself.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on July 29, 2004 - 20:03 Permalink

My iPod is Generation One, and the iTalk doesn’t work with it. It does look like an attractive option for those with more recent iPods, though.

Robert's picture
Robert on January 31, 2005 - 14:54 Permalink

Air Canada truly deserves the bankruptcy it just emerged from. We recently went from Winnipeg to Miami via Toronto. They put us on a broken plane but said they would fix it while de-icing. That didn’t work so they towed us back to the terminal. We were therefore an hour late and had to rush to make our connection to Miami. Result: they lost my dauughter’s luggage for four days. On the way home we were supposed to depart at 3PM. Then it was 5PM. Then it was 10 PM. We finally left at 11 PM, and NOT ONCE did they announce there were delays, just posted them at the departure gate. We arrived in Toronto at 1:30 AM. There was ONE agent to attend to a whole plane load of real pissed off travellers.

Cancel the Celine Dionne ads, I am tired of being told how good they are when they can’t even begin to SHOW ME how good they are.

NEVER AGAIN will I fly Air Canada. If West Jet doesn’t go there, neither will I.


Joanne's picture
Joanne on February 28, 2005 - 08:55 Permalink

Unbelievable. Air Canada should be shut down for good. They have lost my luggage again. And what help can they offer me? “Wait till it shows up”.
I’m with you Bob, I will never fly air canada again. Disgusting.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous on July 15, 2005 - 08:06 Permalink

Air Canada’s Website flight status check gave ontime arrival for Flight #AC784 this thursday 14July05 when as a matter of fact the flight was canceled “due to thunderstorms” at Toronto. Sounds much like “the dog ate my homework”. Of what good is our technological advancement into the internet era if the same technology is used to propagate “white-washed” information.

Robert Morin's picture
Robert Morin on July 19, 2005 - 07:19 Permalink

On July 15th 2005 I boarded Air Canada flight 442 from Toronto to Ottawa. There was a flight delay of 40 minutes because the luggage monkeys at Air Canada had to unload 2 bags from the aircraft. This took almost 40 minutes.
After we finally landed at Ottawa, my suitcase and dog were supposed to be transferred to another airline. When I got to my destination on , I discovered that the suitcase was not the other aircraft. I reported the bag as missing and the employees of the other airline contacted Air Canada but DID NOT GET AN ANSWER! I will be filing a baggage claim and if my bag is not returned, I WILL BE SEEKING LEGAL ADVISE.

Steve's picture
Steve on July 22, 2005 - 04:48 Permalink

Air Canada is not only a liar, it is also a cheat. I recently found out that my Aeroplan points were cancelled because I hadn’t flown in 3.5 years. Apparently AC’s policy is to automatically cancel points without notice if someone hasn’t flown in 3 years. I recently started flying again, and needless to say this really pissed me off! I might be able to understand 10 years or even 5, but 3 is totally unreasonable. Moreover, Aeroplan is the ONLY rewards plan that doesn’t give its customers advance notice that their points will be cancelled. I read that several customer have complained to the Canadian Transportation Agency about this, and that even the CTA thinks it’s unfair. However, this is Canada and we all know who calls the shots in this country. Apparently, I can have my points reinstated if I pay a $135 “administration fee” (plus tax) despite the fact that the deducted points still show up on my online account. I recently faxed a letter requesting that my points be reinstated to Air Canada’s Customer Solutions Centre in Calgary. Their “solution” was to forward it to Aeroplan Customer Service in Vancouver for review, which would take “4 to 6 weeks”. When you consider that programs like Aeroplan are designed to promote and reward customer loyalty, Air Canada’s actions are not only unfair, but counterproductive. I’ve decided that I can’t wait up to 6 weeks and plan to email my concerns about Air Canada’s unfair practices directly to Transport Minister Jean Lapierre and my local MP. I would love to copy Air Canada’s CEO Robert Milton or their Customer Solutions department on this, but haven’t been able to find a single email address for them or anyone else in a position of responsibility at Air Canada on the Web. A few years ago AC had appointed an Ombudsman to handle customer complaints, but this position appears to have been eliminated. I consider myself to be pro-Canadian, but Air Canada is one case where I’d like to see foreign competition clip its arrogant wings.

ANDRIY's picture
ANDRIY on August 12, 2005 - 05:03 Permalink

THIS COMPANY IS JUST A BIG FRAUD. They have lost my luggage, and there is really nobody to contact who could give you any reasonable answer. And the funniest thing THEIR CALL CENTRE IS IN INDIA. Can you imagine that. How can a pucjabi sitting on the other side of the world know where my luggage is? Just sutpid. I wish all of their mannagers good health and short life.

Girish's picture
Girish on September 8, 2005 - 12:05 Permalink

We fly from paris to Montreal by Air Canada last year in summer. Due to pilot’s mistake palne enter in air turbulance. he suddenly drop down the plane without any announcement. The food was already served. meanwhile, my mother was going to toilet and she fell down and had a fracture in plane. We got a doctor in flight who gave immergency treatment but after arriving at Montreal airport …absolutely nothing happened.

As my mother is in her 60s, due to two operation she can not work and enter in measerable life. But, the thing is she never receive a single call from Air Canada unless and untill we inform about the happening to customer care. Now, It is one year and still she got absolutely nothing from air canada nor the documents about our case.

I also had talk with my friends and they said the same thing about the worst ever service on the planet.

Sonia's picture
Sonia on September 27, 2005 - 00:42 Permalink

I flew from Taipei to Vancouver which was a pleasant flight. But then when I flew with Air Canada from Vancouver to Toronto..and then Toronto to Moncton THEY WAS Airport DELAYS, Runway Delays (De Icing, thunderstorms in Toronto..MY LUGGAGE GOT LOST AND NEVER SHOWED UP IN MONCTON, MY PASSPORT, CASH AND TRAVELLERS CHEQUES where stolen on the plane. Unfortunately I didnt realise until I was in the Airport in Toronto. You can imagine how upset I was being in a foreign country with no money, thankgoodnes I had another Passport (My Australian Passport) Well it has been weeks later and I have still not heard from the Airline. I tried to get help at the airports but they just didnt seem to care. I eventually got my luggage bag but not the cash, passport, bank cards, drivers license etc. AIR CANADA in my impression didn’t give a damm and very rude. Isn’t customer service meant to be important? It is in Australia. I like Canada, just not the Airline and will hesitate flying with them again as my next stop is Germany. I hope some sort of blind is pulled over the injustices these customers have faced.

Spiteful Flyer's picture
Spiteful Flyer on March 3, 2006 - 20:42 Permalink

Air Canada lost my luggage, and it took over 20 phone calls to India, faxing my flight information three times to various departments, and several conversations with thier claims department to realize that I hate Air Canada. The biggest frustration was not getting anyone in “Canada” who could actually speak with any knowledge of thier luggage policy! 60 days after the fact, they cut me a cut me a check for 65% of my claim, the rest I have to eat.

Well, here is my act of spite — a phone number and a name of someone in the claims department in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Honest to God — a real person. Lisa Roth at (902)863-5092. Post this everywhere, because nowhere online have I ever seen a number posted of someone who can actually make a decision at Air Canada.

Air Canada, know this — You exist because the government stepped in and saved your ass. Your pitiful customer service and expensive fares will be your own undoing. I will never fly your airline again, and I cannot wait to see you out on the streets.

DUH!'s picture
DUH! on March 22, 2006 - 03:47 Permalink

Man Some of you people are Stupid! Like the Dumb Australian, Who has his wallet stolen on the plane because he is to dumb to put it away but blames AIR CANADA. Then he claims that the thunderstorm and deicing delays were Air Canadas fault. (Nothint to do with mother nature) If you want to fly like an idiot! Flap Your Arms. I’m surprised people didn’t blame hurricane Katrina on Air Canada too!

Pema's picture
Pema on April 7, 2006 - 03:12 Permalink

I also will never fly Air Canada again. They lost my luggage August 9/2005. I jumped through their loops to file a claim. I was very frustrated to get their Call Centre in India. I’m not blaming the Indians there but these guys only had the information that was sitting on their computers. However, they would always start with…. Tell me the details. I must have explained the same old stuff 20 times over. I asked that someone who was actually dealing with my claim to contact me by phone or email (as I was living in Asia). My requests were ignored. These incompetent people continued to ask me to send them the same documentation over and over again. You w ould think they would have such info on file if they were responsible and competent. I continued to send them the documentation and they kept on insisting I didn’t give them the information. Today I received a letter stating that because I didn’t send them the documentation (which I did repeatedly) and because much time has transpired, they will settle (and make an exception: as they haven’t received the documentation) and they cut me a cheque for $150. It’s a long story but the bags were supposed to be carryons and we were moving and so valuable items were in the bags totalling 4000 dollars worth. Jazz Air made us check the luggage under the belly of the plane. We were supposed to pick it up in Vancouver and then proceed to our international segment of our trip. Anyways, what a joke. Actually an insult; a slap in the face after all the inconvenience and expense they have the nerve to give you a token cheque.

On top of that, the Air Attendant was incredibly rude and condescending to our family. I had my computer in a backpack. I couldn’t put my stuff in the cabin above as the plane was full and incredibly small. The Attendant was shoving my bag under the seat. I tried to explain that he needed to be careful as a lap top was in my bag. He continued to shove and push ignoring my pleas and then telling me he needed to show me how to be in an airplane (even though I’ve flown many times interntionally as well as domestically).

I’d also like to complain about the security in Saskatoon, SK Airport. They weren’t being security guards but were on a major power trip. We proceeded through security. We had the rt amount of luggage for our international flight but security decided my purse was slightly large. The supervisor came over and told us if we re-shuffled our bags we could bring them all on. We did but as soon as she walked away, the security people decided that we couldn’t bring our bags on the flight. So we had to check our 2 bags (which the airline lost). We were the last ones to board so the security decided to have some fun (they were bored0 and continued to hassle us. We boarded our flight and then had to put up with that incredibly rude “flight attendant” I personally think these old sour pusses need to retire already. They have no patience or courtesy for their passengers. I’ve seen other people treated even worse than I on other flights. Air Canada needs to take note of the service and courtesy and respect that other airlines give (particularily asian airlines)

I won’t take Air Canada again. I am boycotting this terrible airline and encouraging many others to do the same.


Lost Bag Man's picture
Lost Bag Man on October 8, 2006 - 19:05 Permalink

wow, stop moaning, like my friend says, you want to fly like an idiot, flap your arms, stop being so emotionally attached to your bags, and $4500 worth of items in your bag??did you not insure them?? why should the airline take responsibility for expensive items?? a suitcase is designed to carry items of clothing, if you buy cheap cases and it tears, dont expect the airline to replace it, its done its job, protected the interior items, make sure you have all receipts for all your `expensive` contents, oh, and when you face that agent and make a bag claim, inside he`s laughing………

Daniel's picture
Daniel on January 28, 2007 - 04:44 Permalink

From my personal experience. It doesn’t matter what company you fly with. They all suck! They all can’t give good service. It’s a business where customer satisfaction comes last and stockt market comes first. Case closed

Ren's picture
Ren on February 9, 2007 - 02:17 Permalink

Lost luggage is not a news about Air Canada, it’s their promise of “service.” I got funnier experiences with Air Canada at Jan 28 from YYZ to YHZ on AC624.

Now you may noticed that you will be changed $20 if you call customer service to reschedule but you can do it on their website for free. As a student, of course I have to save as more as possible for living and books. So I tried to reschedule online. Whatever I tried the system didn’t work. I finally called the customer service for my request. He got it done and asked for $20. I denied it and tell him I would try it again online and call the technical support for the system issue if I still got problem. After my call I still couldn’t process my reschedule on their pretty website. So I called the technical support. Same as you, my call was answered by an Indian who actually very nice and tried to walk me through the reschedule process online. 30 minutes later, the system didn’t work out at all. he transfered me to the salesman department for my reschedule. And because I really had problem with the system, I don’t need to pay $20. The salesman was very efficient to change my schedule without charging any money but, yet, they took 5 miles from my account for no reason!!! Liar? Air Canada is a super cheater!

Ok, just 5 miles, it’s fine. So I flew from YHZ to YYZ on Jan 26 evening, which was ok (I tried no to expect too much on my flight) and my returning SUCKED! All the passengers of my flight were boarded on time at 10:55pm. The “good news” was, everyone was in the flight except our pilot and co-pilot! At the moment, cabin assistants (CA) neither know where the pilots were nor have idea when they would show up in the flight! A gentleman sat behind me asked the CA why that happened. The CA answered “Sir, we tried our best already!” WONDERFUL, ISN’T IT!?!? about 20 minutes later, the CA finally found out the pilot and announced that the pilot was …still in the sky toward YYZ. “He SHOULD land shortly but we couldn’t tell exactly when.” the CA said. Excellent, isn’t it? about another 20 minutes later, our pilot finally came in to the cabin, apologized and explained why he was late through his broadcast. Then it would take about another 20 minutes to get all the processes ready for take off. We supposed arrived YHZ at 1:55am Jan 29th. Because of the “Wonderful” service and the management in Air Canada, we arived YHZ around 3:30am. How can you get an taxi at airport at 3:30am? Lucky me I had my own transportation so I arrived home 4:30am. However, I couldn’t sleep because I got to work at 8:30am~ Unlucky the lady sat by me had work at 6am.

And remember that Air Canada was the best airline in 2006~….great~

Brian's picture
Brian on February 9, 2007 - 02:36 Permalink

Ren, I had the same experience with AC before. Could not find the pilots for my flight. And is was a Toronto depature too!

Daniel, there is a good airline that in my opinion puts Customer Service high on their list — JetBlue Airlines. They only fly in the states and only to major airports. Their have all new Airbus planes, Satellite TV at every seat, and most importantly, CAs who smile and are helpful. They would be a good model for any airline to copy!

don's picture
don on April 1, 2007 - 07:21 Permalink

You know Air Canada’s Motto: We’re not happy until you’re not happy.

If you think things are bad now, just wait… Not only have they outsourced their customer service to India, but they are now in the process of laying off 850 maintenance engineers in Vancouver and sending the work to their newly purchased maintenance facility in EL SALVADOR! It boggles the mind! Don’t let the propaganda fool you. Air Canada said in the press release that they were conducting the lay-offs because Delta Airlines canceled their contract. UNTRUE! March of 2005 press release said the Delta contract was worth 300 jobs, not 850. Delta was told to leave (they only had two aircraft at a time in the hangar) and the rest of the Air Canada maintenance is being shuffled east to Montreal or south to EL Salvador.

Air Canada is running their aircraft into the ground, it just hasn’t been literally YET. Did you know that they ground the nose landing gear off one of their aircraft landing in Las Vegas a few weeks back? They don’t fix anything until the “drop dead” date because the less money they spend, the more profit sharing the executives receive.

Bad customer service is one thing, but you won’t lose your life because the luggage doesn’t arrive. Those people in El Salvador aren’t flying Air Canada, and neither are their families. Next time you are sitting in the waiting area, or boarding an Air Canada flight, ask the pilots or flight attendants how many un-operable pieces of equipment are listed on their log book.

Shane's picture
Shane on June 1, 2007 - 16:12 Permalink

I think this is just a case of inexperienced travellers being oversensitive.

Aircrafts and airports are complicated- technologically and logistically. Shit happens and safety, schedules, comfort, etc are all top priorities for airlines. THey have a business to run and sometimes things don’t go smoothly.

I fly about twice a month, mostly domestically but often to the US and internationally. I am an Air Canada status member so I fly them as often as possible. I’ve encountered my fair share of BS from Air Canada but overall they are an extremely good airline, especially when compared with the others. ALl airlines have their problems, but this is Canada’s national airline. It’s unfair to say they deserve bankrupcy or to go out of business. Imagine what fares would be like without their competition.

THheir service isn’t that bad. They’re just like the phone or cable companies- when you’re a huge quasi-oligopoly and you have the customer base that they do, people generally form negative opinions of you over incidents which are unfortunately a simple by-product of the technology.

Smile, enjoy your trip and don’t let the flight be the most memorable part.

Sea's picture
Sea on March 9, 2011 - 20:01 Permalink

I have been flying Air Canada for ages and since 2002 I have NEVER had a problem — and I travel a lot, I mean a lot … (YYZ-YUL-YVR—→ GRU, FRA, BEY, LHR) x 1 month (at least) … I have always defended Air Canada and know lots of crew members. But I am sad to say I found this site through googling “Air Canada lost luggage frustration” … my opinion started to change 2 years ago when I went to Mexico (MTY) to visit a friend and paid over 3k for a J class ticket that never existed (shuttle (erjs/bbms) planes bouncing from yyz all the way to Houston) … ok I thought ! not bad, 2002 (last incident) to 2010 — not bad … ok … I did send a letter to customer stf. got 2000 miles to my aeroplan and one of those never-can-use upgrade vouchers (don’t get me started with the new eUpgrade) …. welll ….. 5 days ago ….. I left sunny Beirut with Lufthansa — to FRA …. where I boarded AC all the way to YVR via YYZ … (that was a long day) … I claimed my luggage at FRA and a BEY stamp always raises bells … I am still amused at that. never mind that and that it was one day after some shooting happened outside FRA (I read on the plane after taking off … which explained the unusual German guards with riffles INSIDE the airport !!) …
interesting part is this…. and forgive my chopped language here …. claim luggage @ FRA OK … check in at AC counter B terminal in FRA OK (not so much as I was bounded to YVR but got a YYZ boarding pass … my jetlag hit me after to realise it … @ gate ..) …
declined access to lounge since I held the old card — my new one was in my inbox (normal mail back home here in Canada) … the number is usually ok within North America though … …. no worries … got to the gate, after a very strange ping-ponging within FRA — again, due to the shooting I think … ……………. usually FRA is so calm and relaxed …
ok … gate … listen [ and after waiting for the Croatian Ski air-line competition team to get their boarding passes .. an Air-Line thingy ski competition in Denver last weekend ? never boarded Lufthansa but allowed into AC .. ] never mind that — SAME lady tells me: I can’t help you with anything (I look very young btw — i look 18 and I’m on my mid 30s, white, etc — not that any of that should ever matter right ?! right … ) …. I said, “I need a boarding pass to YVR so I can claim my luggage in YYZ put in the carrousel, and you [same lady, German, AC uniform] gave me a YYZ boarding meaning that I will have to go out in YYZ and do a check-in … I will miss my flight … [at this point the floaking Croatian sober ski team were V loud] and she said — I cant help the computer is down …. go away …. ** LITERALLY ** …. I pressed record on my BlackBerry and asked again, two ladies: “it is your fault, your travel agent, you should have told them you have a close connection -[who mentioned tardness ?] — , we cant help, we cannot give you a YVR boarding …. deal with it in YYZ … ” …….. because I know I look young, wearing jeans … tools of the trade-wise I just looked at them and said “ok! I will just play you back at the terminal in YYZ and they willl understand” … so I re-played them on my BlackBerry …. they freaked … I boarded … and the Croatian Ski team was still shouting …. I learned
not to get stressed … but I am as I write this — you will understand at the end — ….
after seated … somebody announces my name in the speaker .. I don’t care … anyhow -
they find me …….. SIR ! Your boarding ticket to YVR ! we are SOOOOO SORRRYYYYY …. [German accent] …. I say “no worry” …. bye.
ok …………… I slept like an Angel ( believe me, after bey and fra ….) … and I dont even speak Arabic or German …. well …. in YYZ my LUGGAGE never appeared … well …. desk claim, trivial …. very nice chap AC crew … explained that most likely my luggage will be at YVR by the time I get there since I most likely also lost my flight …. … well YYZ … AC ticket counter … u all know that area well if you read all the way up to here … next flight 15h25 … ok .. whatever …
lounge no problem — as mentioned … an apple and fresh water …. headed to the gate boarded, slept (been flying for a long time now) …
[btw, airlines are having trouble ? I think AC should start paying for some of its Bankruptcy bailed out gift eh ?! … it is all full!] …
ok got to YVR ………… no luggage !
ok sir you have cd$100 pre-authorized — go and use it …
ok ur luggage should be here even by today we think
ok number routes to India
ok we dont know what is Montreal or Warsaw convention
ok ur luggage is lost
ok u need to send a form
ok i cant reach them
ok what form
ok we dont have a number in Canada you can talk to
ok we do but we are not authorised
ok one billion miles and aeroplan is not enough to some slack off the process

ok ……………… how do I beat the Indian Call Centrer ( w all respect to my Indian friends ) … but as I see sending the form means I agree ” to share my info with all AC airlines partners — including marketing ……… wtf ???” ………….. I wont share my info even with usd1600 ….. and who KEEPS RECEIPTS OF JEANS ?????????????????????

I am lost, an-once AC lover is now ready to ask for a divorce !!


my luggage is still lost … India tells me “we will be sending this request to a special tracking luggage team” ————- a WHAT ??????????????? ………… and yet if not found within 30 days …. we will give you some dollars …
who will replace those precious gifts I bought in special cities and lovely ancient places ???

to think I have 4 flights scheduled with AC between YVR-YYZ-BCN … ohhhhhhhhhhh

does anyone understand the feeling of wearing funny clothing and not being able to give a loved one a gift you bought with love …. re-route ur call to india ( no disrespect meant — it is just that I do not think Air India routes its calls to Canada ) … grr !

well ……………

cheers for any advice, pijama wearing, S