Old Dec 28, 2013, 11:03 PM
Minder Minder is offline
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 2
Thumbs down Appaling service

My family and I had the ill-fortune of travelling on Air Canada for part of our journey back to Canada.
We had booked a return flight from Amritsar, India to Halifax, Canada. Qatar Airlines flew us to Frankfurt, where we had to switch to Air Canada.
At Frankfurt, the plane was delayed for more than 4 hours, due to some technical fault. When we were finally airborne again, our woes began. We had an 8 month old infant with us and we requested for a bassinet after the flight attendant had finished briefing us on safety procedures for the baby.
The request for the bassinet seemed to have been ignored, as the refreshments were being served after one hour into the flight. Again, I requested for a bassinet but it was not provided.
With great discomfort, we consumed the snacks, trying to avoid injury to the baby - all within the sight of the passing attendants. After the trays and empty cups were collected, we waited patiently for the bassinet. Yet, no one brought us the bassinet.
Half way through the journey, dinner was being served, and, again, I requested for a bassinet, but my request fell on deaf ears. Again, we consumed the meal with great discomfort and distress. My wife left her meal half finished due to the stress and difficulty of juggling the food around to avoid injury to the baby.
As we were exhausted from the long journey, we looked forward to rest after dinner, but, it was extremely difficult with the baby. In sheer exasperation, my wife placed the baby on the seat and decided to seat on the floor. Presently, an attendant came along and chided her for sitting on the floor. I explained that we have not been provided with a bassinet for the baby and it was difficult for us on the seats. The attendant left without a word in response to my complaint. I thought this incident would have made our distress blazingly apparent and evoked some empathy. Unfortunately, I was wrong. After some time of waiting, I made a final bid to request for a bassinet. Finally, we were provided with one - more than halfway through the journey.
All this while, we could not help observing that everything was being done to see to the comfort of the lady with the crutch, sitting next to my wife. When our discomfort and distress was continually being ignored, I began to wonder if it was because we were a visible minority.
It was just before midnight when we landed at Toronto`s Pearson Airport. After the Customs check, we looked around for assistance, but there was no Air Canada personnel around. In order not to waste further time, I decided to proceed to the connecting flights area. The whole section was completely deserted, except for a cleaner and a security officer.
I approached the security officer to enquire if there was anyone manning the counters. (Perhaps, he or she had gone for a break.) The officer gave me a curt reply to the effect that he was a security officer and not there to dispense information.
Desperate to seek assistance, we searched around for an information counter and found one in the concourse. We were informed that there was an Air Canada counter on an upper floor. Filled with hope, I sought out the counter and explained our situation to the officer, who directed me to proceed to the departure check-in rows. He said that there should be someone there and, if I found no one, I should enquire from the other counters.
When we reached the check-in rows, we found the whole area deserted, too. There was no one to enquire from, except the cleaners. It was 2.45am now and we were exhausted. My wife, who was five months into her pregnancy, could not muster the energy to proceed further, so, we made the floor of the airport our resting ground and waited, - hungry, thirsty and fatigued - for the counters to open.
When we finally landed at Halifax, we found - much to our dismay - that 3 of our suitcases were badly damaged. We had collected our luggage at Toronto and they were all in good condition. The long journey from Amritsar, India and three plane rides delivered our luggage in good condition. The short trip from Toronto to Halifax resulted in severe damage. I wonder if this was deliberate - as I had printed my name and address on pieces of paper and taped them to the suitcases.
When I decided to bring our ordeal to the attention of Air Canada, I found that the only way to do it was by filling a lengthy form online and writing the complaint - all in 30 minutes. My first attempt failed. Having gathered my thoughts, the second attempt was more successful. However, I did mention in the complaint that the pressure of time prevents me from writing more about the deplorable service.
I waited for more than a month, before writing to Air Canada again for their response, threatening legal action. I received a reply immediately, claiming that they had replied to me and that I could have missed that email. Their explanation was that it could have been delivered to my junk folder. Since the damage to our suitcases was handled by a different department a copy of their supposed ’earlier reply’ was forwarded to me. Strangely, the reply addresses a completely different person. (???)
In their reply, Customer Relations expressed regret for not having been able to provide service to my expectations, and as a gesture of goodwill offered 25% discount on published fares for 2 tickets for a period of one year. This, according to them, was in line with their guidelines. What yardstick do these guidelines use to measure the distress, humiliation and loss of dignity? What is this magic formula?
Old Dec 29, 2013, 10:09 PM
azstar azstar is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 375

Airlines never compensate anyone for " distress, humiliation and loss of dignity". However, they should have compensated you for damaged baggage. Did they do that, at least?
Old Dec 30, 2013, 11:33 PM
Minder Minder is offline
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 2
Default Appaling service

Thank you for your reply, azstar.

For damage to bags, the airlines have to be notified within 7 days. Unfortunately, I did not know that. But, that is small matter, considering the way we were treated bt Air Canada.

I am surprised and disappointed that airlines do not compensate for poor callous treatment. It is because they have never been taken to task, other than by resorting to legal proceedings. It is a sad state of affairs, indeed.

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