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Bad Experience Made Much, Much Worse by Customer Service
In January, 2011 (yes, 2011... I have been trying to resolve this issue for over a year now) I had a trip planned to Las Vegas (for work, not fun) with a Direct flight to Las Vegas but a stop-over in Denver on the way back to Toronto.
That's when things started going wrong...
Issue # 1 - The day before I was to travel I discovered - quite by accident - that Air Canada had cancelled the second half of my return trip and then moved me onto an alternate flight that left Denver at 11:30 am. CT. However, I was scheduled to leave Las Vegas
at 12:06 p.m. and arrive in Denver at 3:01 p.m. So, basically, my new flight left 3 1/2 hours before I was scheduled to arrive. If I had not noticed that, I would have been stuck in Denver with no connection to get me home. After some time on the phone, this was finally fixed and an alternative flight was selected... however they charged me a $75.00 change fee for doing so (which I had to fight to have reversed).
Issue #2 - Our flight was delayed by 2 hours because somebody forgot to drag the airplane over from the other terminal. Not a weather issue, not a delay with an inbound flight... our plane was just sitting there, waiting to be towed to our gate. And despite being told - several times - that it would arrive within minutes, it took over 2 hours for it to finally show up... and by then a storm had started to roll in, which created another hour-long delay before take off. To make matters worse, they kept announcing that the plane would be "just a few more minutes folks" and then "just a few more minutes folks" for over 2 hours!!
Issue #3 - In the row behind me, there were two very young children screaming and kicking my seat... for almost the entire 4 1/2 hours of the flight. I understand that Air Canada cannot control the behavior of children on a plane, but it would have been nice if they at least had
tried something rather than just ignoring the entire situation. But that one - in general - I don't blame Air Canada for... just adding it for some colour.
Issue #4 - As an attempt to drown out the noise and the kicking, I tried to turned to my entertainment system, but the earphone jack was malfunctioning, so I could not get any sound.
(In case you're wondering - as I was - the Economy section of the plane was full, so there were no other seats to move to)
Issue #5 - Finally, after several hours of unpleasant travel, I attempted to order a drink and a can of Pringles and was told that they were out of alcohol because - apparently - they decided to offer everyone ELSE on the
flight a free drink due to the delays and neglected to inform anyone in our row of this kind offer. They also forgot to deliver the Pringles.
Then I tried to come home...
Issue #6 - When I went to check in for the return flight, I discovered that the person who moved me to the new flight (with whom I had worked to select my seat) had neglected to "confirm" my seat... so I was placed in a
middle seat despite having selected and booked an - at the time - available window seat. They offered to move me to a window seat but did not inform me that this was a limited usage seat because it was in the row before the exit doors, so the seat did not recline - at all. Being over 6 feet tall, spending nearly 5 hours in a seat that didn't recline, made for a VERY uncomfortable trip home.
Issue #8 - Once again - I couldn't get the entertainment system to work... the only thing I could activate was the MAP, everything else would not respond to the touch screen.
I finally made it home and contacted Customer Service, and that's when things got worse... :
Issue #9 - I contacted Air Canada regarding the flight issues, and was (eventually) offered an eUpgrade Certificate which would be issued in March that I could use on a later flight to upgrade to First Class.
Issue #9 - Because of a change over in their systems - they instead issued 2 eUpgrade Credits instead of the certificate (the required amount to upgrade a Las Vegas flight is 10 credits... and I don't know of a single flight that only needs 2 credits to upgrade). I was never told that it would be a "limited usage certificates" or that it would only apply to "certain fair types"
Issue #10 - After several months of reminder emails, many of which were ignored, I finally received a response that basically said "you got your 2 eUpgrade Credits, what else do you want". I had to argue with them - yet again - that 2 Credits Does Not an Upgrade Make - how do they not know their own systems???? It took until over 1 year after the original flight for the additional credits to be added to my account in January of 2012.
Issue #11 - As my status was expiring (I avoided Air Canada a bit after this whole debacle) at the end of February, I called the reservations department to ask them how I would be able to use these certificates come March 1st and was told "You'd use them the same way you do now, using the same process" which turned out to be completely inaccurate, as it's a completely different process/procedure/availability between a Status and Non-Status member.
Issue #12 - The credits that they offered are (at least without status) limited usage and only applicable to Latitude fares, which I have never booked, and had NOT booked on the flight in question from which I was being offered the "good will upgrade". Again, how is this an "Upgrade Certificate" as a "Goodwill Gesture" if it's completely useless to the recipient. It certainly hasn't fostered any Goodwill so far. I discovered this while attempting to utilize the certificates to upgrade a flight to Boston, so I emailed Air Canada to ask for their help about 4 days before my flight, with my flight details, booking reference number and travel dates. They 2 days after the flight had been completed in order to tell me they "couldn't upgrade me"... not a big shock since the flight was ALREADY OVER.
Issue #13 - Today, 8 days after detailing - yet again - the fact that I never truly received the compensation that was promised to me, and after requesting to communicate with a supervisor regarding the issue, I received a response from the same rep who "claims" that they reviewed my correspondence with an un-named, and not-cc'd Manager from her department, that they are not willing to do anything further to resolve my 17 month-old issue and they they "consider this matter closed."
So, in the end...
The flight there was horrific
The flight home was terrible.
The attempt to resolve the situation was even worse.
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