Another reason not to fly Air Canada

As if we needed more reasons to seek alternatives to flying Air Canada: Airline defends flight departure decision [from CBC PEI].

Setting aside the sheer inhumanity of Air Canada’s action — which it is very hard to do — they effectively telegraphed a “we are heartless jerks” message to their customer base while they could have, with some imagination and work, turned the episode into a “Air Canada saves the day.”

See JetsGo for alternatives; they start flying from Charlottetown on February 5th.


Alan's picture
Alan on January 20, 2003 - 15:50 Permalink

Another good reason: Hamilton to Moncton is 86 buck one way.

Alan's picture
Alan on January 20, 2003 - 16:01 Permalink

I checked and Jetsgo is 139.00 one way. If you book by the web it is 134.00. Is just five bucks enough or is it a wee bit lame?

Wayne's picture
Wayne on January 20, 2003 - 17:55 Permalink

The right thing to have done would have been to delay the flight departure, no matter what scheduling complications would ensue for the pilots. Having said that, would there have been near the media publicity had they done the right thing? I doubt it. What if they had taken a page out of the Tim Horton’s Marketing Strategy, and spun it into a commercial? Would the spin have tarnished the image of the “good deed”?

I guess it boils down to the motivation of a good deed…do all good deeds have selfish motives? Was Mother Teresa motivated by the satisfaction she got from helping others, and not entirely the actual help she gave?

Conflicting, confusing considerations…I guess this is why spinners get the big bucks.

Kevin's picture
Kevin on January 20, 2003 - 20:43 Permalink

Geesh, I’m hard pressed to pronounce Air Canada at fault in this one; and, oh, how I would like… [nevermind..]

Recap: There’s a fellow on a connecting flight which is not due in to HFX until 17 minutes after the scheduled departure for the Air Canada flight to Charlottetown. The man is flying to see his mother who is dying. He does not arrive in time because the flight was not held and he didn’t arrive in Charlottetown in time to see his mother.

1) The flight to Charlottetown would have to have been delayed A WHOLE LOT MORE than 17 minutes in order to put the gentleman on the Charlottetown flight. A conservative estimate would be an hour delay.

2) The Charlottetown flight was already loaded and would have sat on the tarmac for that lenght of time.

3) There is NO WAY Air Canada would be so coarse as to say, “we’re waiting for a connecting passenger who is going to see his dying mother” or any such explaination which MIGHT HAVE been sufficiently compelling to have late-night flyers content with the extra time looking out the window at darkening Halfiax pavement.

4) One of the greatest complaints levied against Air Canada in the past few years is over this whole issue of delaying planes and not pulling out on time. They were responding to customer demands.

5) In order to have made an informed decision they would have had to know the situation. They have stated that the ticket booking only said “compassionate” (that’s a compassionate discount — see, if you’re flying anywhere Air Canada goes, and you have a dying or recently dead relative at that location, you can apply for fair relief (even if you have the means to pay) now that’s a good service to provide and I do not believe it is mandatory in any way)

And so folks I feel, in general, the response to this situation has been habitual more than informed.


Kevin's picture
Kevin on January 20, 2003 - 20:46 Permalink

Woops, what I meant to say under #5 is that the airline only knew that is was for compassionate reasons, they did not know the particulars nor were they informed that there was anything “time critical” about the nature of the man’s journey — for all they knew the ailing relative may have already been deceased, and while that may be good enough reason to help out a bit, it surely isn’t enough reason to delay a plane load of passengers for an hour or more unless they are at liberty to explain the situation which they most certainly were not.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on January 20, 2003 - 20:59 Permalink

1) I disagree. Luggage delayed from connecting flight could have been ignored. (This is standard procedure at AC anyway!)
2) So what. If I was in the aircraft, I would not notice the 17 minutes. An extended seatbelt demo and second (or maybe first) passenger headcount would have filled in the delay.
3)Here would be a good opportunity to incorporate humanity and shed the stoic, mucky-muck attitude that is rampant in the airline, from stewardess’ to ticket agents to gate keepers.
4)If you believe this one, you don’t get out enough! No one wanted to fill in the report with an explaination why the delay-typical employee attitude-no one is willing to be accountable for anything…company full of hiding managers, and front line talking heads!
5)The airline’s stated reason was due to pilot regulation in regards to rest period. So get another pilot crew. What do they do if one gets sick???

I feel that in order to end AC customer habitual complaining, we need some kinda help from the airline.

Alan's picture
Alan on January 20, 2003 - 21:01 Permalink

While I am sure there is a reason and don’t want to belittle his miss opportunity, why did he not get in a car and drive the 2.5 hours to PEI?

Wayne's picture
Wayne on January 20, 2003 - 21:05 Permalink

Is it mucky muck or mucky-muck?

Joey Brieno's picture
Joey Brieno on January 20, 2003 - 23:15 Permalink

Uh, I know you’re being funny there Wayne but… You said under your #1 there something about not transfering the luggage from the late plane… like I said, you’re being funny ‘n all but if they’d actually done that on purpose they could be in very very serious trouble — they’d have their license suspended as a minimum.

And under #2… you do know that 17 minutes wouldn’t even cover half the extra wait.

Lana's picture
Lana on January 20, 2003 - 23:35 Permalink

Possibly if the air traffic control people were professional marketing and advertising consultants a commercial spin-off could ensue… but they were probably doing something sillly like making sure runways were clear and avoiding mid-air collisions.

It’s a plane not an SMT bus.

Ken's picture
Ken on January 20, 2003 - 23:36 Permalink

Air Canada is always a target, and this guy was emotionally loaded. Just lucky he didn’t turn to rage.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 21, 2003 - 04:36 Permalink

Airplanes are the “new bus.” This is something JetsGo, WestJet, JetBlue, Southwest, etc. understand, and Air Canada does not. Like its spiritual cousin The Phone Company, Air Canada still fundamentally views itself as living in a closed, Stalinist environment where they need pay no heed to anything other than The Rules.

Miki Sugimoto's picture
Miki Sugimoto on August 13, 2004 - 18:49 Permalink

To whom it may concern;

As your advice I called local office several times, but the operators refused to
make reservation and some of them asked another fare for reservation though
I have a one year oepn ticket. The operators hung up the phone in the middle of
the conversation and never got back to me.

This is the letter I sent to Air Canada.
I had been wasted for more than one week to get the answer in respect of the
extention of the ticket. the valid date is on 18th of August and I repeated
again and again.The answer which I finally got, actually I made several calls,
was it is not allowed, then I tried to book but all the operators diddn’t book
for me though the flight. I supposed to book in case of the extention was not
accepted for AC3 from Vancouver to Tokyo (Narita) on 17th August but it was
turned out that flight was not available then I tried to book another flight,
nobody book for me as they all know the it is difficult for booking this time.

I have been asking for the extention of my one year open ticket (round the
trip) for the reason of the illeness (otitis which could be worse by flight)
since August, 6th by e-mail, fax, and telephone in the offices in canada and
the UK, however I haven’t got reply for more than a week, then I had a chance
to talk with the operator,Vidya, in the UK this afternoon.

She said it is not allowed to extend the validation of my tickets due to the
internal regulation, therefore I tried to book immediately since I had already
wasted for more than a week.

The other operator said I have to pay for the reservation thogh the tickets are
one year open which had been already paid for the fare. The operators don’t
understand their business at all and the wrong information troubled me and
wasted money and time.

I talked with Vidya again, and tried to book all the flight with AC, however
flight on 17 of August AC 3 from Vancouver to Tokyo (Narita) which I suppossed
to take in case the extention was refused was already not available.

The flight arrive at Tokyo (Narita) airport on 18 tt of August which is the
valid date of my flight. I can’t change any schedule because I had booked other
flights with other companies and the schedule is quite tight.

In the initial enquiry, I mentioned if Air Canada accepts my request, the
in high/popular season of August, I will be willing to recieve the alternative
flight even if it is the least popular season.

Unfortunately, nobody replied regards to my request so far despite the several

Or is it (long extention of the reply) done intentionally? It is obvious that
the reservation for the seat for international is quite competitive.
I kept the record of correspondances. The e-maild service of AC clearly stated
the reply should be within a week.

How could you conpensate for the flight which I supposed to take.

Pleae don’t let me waiting anymore.I look forward your serious consideration.

Kind regards,

Miki Sugimoto

Miki Sugimoto's picture
Miki Sugimoto on August 13, 2004 - 18:51 Permalink

Hi, this is Miki

The coment above is the letters I wrote to Air Canada.
The conversations with the operator have been done in the UK.