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COMPLAINT: I couldn't believe it could be this bad

 
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Old Mar 4, 2017, 3:51 PM
[email protected] JBS@unc.edu is offline
 
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I booked a flight with Air Canada to China in order to avoid United Airlines, the carrier I normally use. Well, that was a mistake I will never make again. My flight left at 6 am from RDU to Toronto. I had to check my luggage at 5 am, otherwise they refuse to take it, but fortunately, I was aware of that. I had 6 hours layover in Toronto so that should be enough. There was fog at Toronto and we were redirected to Rochester because the plane is so old and bad that it could not land in the fog. Well, OK. We received little information and with a delay of 6.5 hours, we landed at Toronto. Thus, I missed my connecting flight to Beijing. There were no customer service people to help me (or any of the other passengers) with the process. I had to figure out what to do. I went through immigration and needed to get my checked luggage as I was rebooked on the flight the next day (no apologies of course). I went to the luggage service desk where the agent simply said not to bother to get my bag as It would be automatically rebooked. I did not trust it, and anyway, I needed to have clothes and toiletries for the night. He said that he could guarantee nothing but it would be at least one hour. Apparently, there was only a single person to pick all the bags for all the delayed flights. After 30 minutes, I made inquiries where we stood and he had forgotten about it. Well, that can happen. After one hour, his workday ended and another person took over. This person was even less interested than the first one, but truth be told, after 1.5 hours I was 'lucky' (others had been waiting even longer) and my suitcase appeared on the belt. I next went to the counter to get the voucher for the hotel. Unfortunately, that did not work out as planned. The service person mentioned that they had not been able to get rooms yet as many passengers missed their flights. That makes sense but since the fog was in the morning and it was now 4 pm, I thought that perhaps this could have been anticipated. After 1.5 hours waiting there, I finally arrived in the hotel, exhausted and frustrated as all my meetings the first day after arriving in Beijing had to be canceled and Air Canada's lack of real help was troubling.

After a week, I flew back. Things went well, so I thought I was in luck. I changed flights in Toronto and the U.S. border control officer saw my suitcase on the monitor (I actually asked him because I think that system is pretty nifty). Well, after I arrived at RDU at around 11pm, my suitcase did not show up. I was able to locate the Air Canada person (after asking a United service person whether they did luggage for Air Canada) and he said that the bag had not made it onto the plane (not clear why was I cleared customs much earlier), but that it would be on the next flight. That was Thursday night. It is now Saturday and the suitcase still has not arrived. I called their call center and they were unable to locate my suitcase, despite the fact that Air Canada has the tag number. In my suitcase, there is an expensive suit my wife gave me as well as other things. How it is possible that my suitcase is untraceable is a mystery to me. And of course, complete radio silence from Air Canada.

As I said, I usually fly with United and I now decided to try Air Canada because they are in the same system (Star Alliance), apparently they are a four star airline and my experience with United has been decidedly mixed. But even United has not accomplished this. United is more customer friendly than Air Canada (and that says something). If you have a choice, I suggest you avoid Air Canada as much as possible.
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