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Canceled / Delayed / Overbooked
COMPLAINT: Terrible Customer Service

 
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Old Feb 9, 2016, 4:58 PM
rickmaky rickmaky is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 1

I am disgusted by the way my fiancee (at the time) and I were treated on a recent return trip from YZF to PDX for the occasion of our wedding. I travel a lot. I understand that sometimes there are issues beyond our control that cause delays but this recent trip was beyond any level of acceptability.
The trip started out OK, maybe not for your company though because as we walked through the airport with a wedding dress the only congratulations offered my (now) wife and I was from each of your competitors.
Our flight landed without issue in YYC however, while waiting we learned that our flight had been delayed. That's ok because we had a three hour layover in YVR, plenty of time! Then there was a second delay while a tire was changed. Then another one while we waited for the plane to be fueled. Is there some sort of law that prevents a company from multitasking by say fueling and changing a tire AT THE SAME TIME? After sitting on the plane, in the rain, waiting we were informed that we needed to go through de-icing. Seemed like a strange thing to do in the rain but alas, I am merely a passenger who flies a lot, not a pilot. During the flight as I checked my watch for the 100th time I started to get worried. I asked the attendant about our flight to PDX. Unsolicited tip for your staff, don't deliver bad news with a cheery smile. It really irks people receiving the news. At least fake the disappointment so we feel like you are sharing the bad news with us. How on earth did Air Canada manage to err so badly that the 4 hours of total layover time were not enough for us to catch our connecting flight to PDX?
Upon arrival in YVR we were informed by a smiling dolt that we were booked on a flight the following afternoon. He even smilingly suggested that if we were lucky we might get a seat on the morning flight if we decided to try standby. That was simply unacceptable for us as we had to be in PDX to manage last minute wedding task. Arriving on Wednesday afternoon would cut almost a full day out of our packed schedule. We trudged down to the ticket area which was not even staffed with anyone that could help us because of a scheduled break at 9PM. The four idle employees at the other desks cheerfully offered that little tidbit of bad news with a smile.
The only employee we encountered that was helpful and genuinely wanted to be was Peter at your ticketing desk in the YVR airport. I explained our predicament and he managed to get us on a flight the following morning with Air Alaska. Why weren't we automatically rebooked on that flight in the first place? We were waiting at the airport for more than two hours before Peter was able to print our tickets and send us on our way. It was almost 11PM, we were leaving the YVR airport an hour after we were supposed to land at our final destination. After checking in we had less than 5 hours before we had to be up and back at the airport for our flight. That wasn't the way my wife and I wanted to start our wedding trip.
If that was all that had happened to us on this vacation, I would have been upset but I would have understood. I am flexible and understand that things don't always go exactly as planned. Unfortunately that wasn't the end of our issues because we booked a round trip.
In case anyone reading this is wondering, the wedding was amazing! I put this in there because again, not a single employee managed to notice the wedding dress on my wife's arm as we traveled over the course of three days. Unsolicited tip number 2, a simple congratulations goes a long way!!!
I had a feeling that the scale confirmed as we started our journey home to YZF, our bags were overweight. Your gate agent was extremely wonderful about repeating 50 pounds over and over as we struggled to move the weight around in our three bags. What is up with your outrageous policy of charging asinine rates for bags heavier than 50lbs? From a corporate policy stand point you should be pleased to know that we managed to get our luggage sorted out without any leniency from your gate staff. Kudos to all that in-house training! Sadly you failed miserably at treating your customer like a human being.
Upon arrival in YVR I started to get that all too familiar feeling that something was wrong. Unfortunately for your branding and marketing team it's a feeling beginning to be associated with Air Canada. Imagine that, an airline that has treated its customer so poorly being associated with feeling of dread. This from a customer that enjoys flying and actually looks forward to airplane food.
We were through customs fast enough that we were waiting for our bags so line ups weren't an issue. When we did get to an agent to proceed to our connecting flight we were told that we missed it. Then we were also scolded for selecting a flight schedule that didn't leave much room for error.
Did you miss that one? Your employee just blamed us for missing our connecting flight. Have you ever booked a flight before? You select a departure and destination, your systems generate potential schedules from that information. Somehow the plane being 18 minutes late and the slim margin of error was my fault. At this point could this story get any worse? Sadly, yes.
After reviewing the options your employee told us that the only way we were going to arrive in YZF on the day we were actually supposed to was if we chose to fly standby. If we missed that standby flight we would be stranded overnight. Your employee reviewed all of the options with us a few times because she wanted us to make an informed decision. In order to make an informed decision I asked how many seats the plane was oversold by. For some strange reason your employee now felt the need to keep us uninformed and refused to answer the question. Doesn't that seem weird to you?
We chose the standby option and got seats. I asked the agent at the desk to ensure that our bags made the flight. Your agent was dismissive and I stated again, please ensure our bags are on the flight here are the tags that were given to us. I was told they would be on the flight. Imagine our surprise when we arrived in YEG and learned that our bags were actually still in YVR. That was the first apology we received on behalf of your company yet my patience was wearing very thin. Instead of sitting down and relaxing between our flights we had lugged all of our carryon down to the carousel (outside of security) and now had to head back upstairs and through security again FOR NO REASON!
We lugged all of our carry on back upstairs to the ticket desk because we hadn't been given tickets for the YEG-YZF flight. Upon seeing the long line up I made a decision to go through the status line because our day was past the point of being ridiculous. I was scolded again and told I was in the wrong line. I knew I was right where I needed to be. I received our tickets and I asked for lounge passes for my wife and I. We had already been greatly inconvenienced throughout our day and at that moment should have been at home getting kissed from our puppy. I was told she wasn't able to print lounge passes. She works at the status counter and isn't allowed to print lounge passes, wouldn't that be one of her essential duties? By this point I had lost all of my patience and requested to speak with a manager. After a phone call I was told with the sweetest smuggest smile that a manager was busy and wouldn't be able to arrive for at least 20 minutes. Your employee was kind enough to remind me that I had to get through security and be at my gate for 30 minutes before departure so I didn't have time to wait. That was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. I was angry. Your employee threatened to call the RCMP. Now I was livid. I used some colourful language, for that I am sorry. I shouldn't have resorted to that level but I did and I accept responsibility for that. I asked your employee to have the manager meet me at the gate but oddly enough they never showed up to speak to me. Further oddity, boarding didn't start 30 minutes prior to departure as promised.
I am not even going to get into the state of my luggage upon its arrival at my home the following day.
Air Canada, what would it have cost you to allow my wife and I to sit in the lounge for 30 minutes? Whatever the cost, it will be way more expensive for you in lost revenue moving forward. I am not going to make statements of grandeur where I stand on a soap box and claim that I will never fly on your airline again. You fine folks monitoring these emails probably have a little laugh at those brazen statements because let's face it, with only two major airlines in Canada I am bound to have to select an Air Canada flight again in the future just based solely on my scheduling needs. I will fly with Air Canada again. I will fly with your company as a last resort, or when your price is significantly lower than that of your competitors.
I am not an expert in running an airline but I do know a thing or two about marketing and branding. This flying experience, on my wedding trip, has seriously eroded your brand in my eyes. I would like to give Air Canada the opportunity to make this right. Restore my faith in both your brand and company. Show me that you care about me as a customer. Should we not be able to find a suitable solution to this very unfortunate situation then your brand reputation will likely remain eroded and will continue to erode further. I will call my company travel agent and ask them to change my preferred carrier. I will no longer be willing to pay a premium to support your company when I travel. In the past I have chosen to fly with your airline over cheaper options because I liked Air Canada.
I look forward to your reply and hopefully remaining a loyal Air Canada customer. Help ensure when I tell my friends this story time and time again it has a happy ending.
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