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Old Apr 28, 2010, 1:20 PM
CEOmike CEOmike is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Moncton
Posts: 3
Thumbs down Why Air Canada delays, cancells and overbooks

Bottom line it is all about money and being a monopoly. (or it is incomptence so deep to be on the border of the "twilight zone.")

I travel a lot, 100s of flights over the years, and take AC only if forced to - it is one of the worst airlines, if not the worst. Here's how they scr$%w their customers.

1. Buy a ticket well in advance at a cheap price and don't bother to pay extra for a seat selection and you really are flying standby. Why, because they will also sell your seat at a higher price if the flight becomes full and then they tell you it is overbooked. Overbooked because they LIED when they sold you the ticket so you wouldn't use another airline at a slightly higher price. They count on some of the lower ticket people to show up after others - making it appear it is your fault for not being first. I always show up early as the first to arrive, and have to complain very loudly with threats or I will not get on the plane.

It gets worse, if you have a connecting flight and you have a cheaper ticket because you bought in advance and they can sell your seat at a higher price, they will actually board and fill the plane ASAP and leave you to re-route or wait for an empty seat on a later flight!

2. A flight delayed is often an excuse to cancel a flight not full or profitable especially near the end of the day. Air Canada will do everything to get the last flight delayed if it is not full - to the point of even having a plane take off and turn around because of "fog" or "weather." Why? because it is cheaper to even send a plane into the air to shorten the time between the last flight of the day and first of the next so they don't have to pay for hotels. They can cancel over weather with no consequence but not to maximize profit. The last flight of the day can not be delayed because of "mechanical problems" to shorten the time when they must provide hotel.

3.Another AC practice if they are flying not full planes is to cancel a flight or flights around 7 or 8PM because of "mechanical problems" and then consolidate the passengers into the remaining flights.

AC does these things to show cheaper fares and more flights in the space they compete in - other airlines who don't treat their passengers like cattle and are honest with fares and flights are at a disadvantage in your booking search - be aware AC does not compete fairly and is basically lying in any of their promises of flight scheduling, absolutely.

If at all possible fly another airline - any airline but AC (this is a recommendation that doesn't even address how AC at Pearson is the most corrupt baggage handling in the world! - no exaggeration as I have been in dozens of airports many times.)

I know all this because I fly a lot, am a CEO of a company and have had all of the above happen to me more than once, so I can see the pattern of their business. It is disgusting!
Old Apr 28, 2010, 1:33 PM
CEOmike CEOmike is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Moncton
Posts: 3
Default One more lie!

I should have added, that on these "overbooked" flights they will also announce because of "weather" a flight may have to land at an alternative airport - hoping to get some passengers to come forward to say they will wait rather than go to alternative airport.

If you are in a smaller city in Canada they will actually put you on a bus and claim it is "weather" rather than pay for hotel.

AC is the world's most corrupt airline! Open the borders to the Americans because if it is national pride to keep AC it is misplaced pride.
Old Apr 28, 2010, 3:53 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

Good grief, if opening the border to american airlines would be better than AC, then AC must be in a terrible state..
Old Mar 5, 2011, 8:04 PM
Sandiboots Sandiboots is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2

I totally agree with you. Another one of their nasty little tricks is " scheduled maintenance". They hung me up for 10 hours with this excuse in Vancouver. I will never fly with them again, WestJet is the best. And if you even*mention* WestJet, they go ballistic. If they were not heavily subsidized by another corrupt agency *cough* - Canadian Government, they would go under in a month. Screw you taxpayer!! Someday this will all come to an end, sigh.
Old Mar 14, 2011, 5:41 AM
Survivor Survivor is offline
Air Canada Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Alberta
Posts: 50

It's winter - most airlines experience delays diversions and breakdowns during this time of the year. It's not unusual that travelers relate their travel experience to their local airport while being totally oblivious to the conditions across the country. Really when it gets down to it - unless you are driving; the travel experience is totally out of your hands.
Have a look:

AC is no better or worse than Westjet for the same period. With more flights operated in Canada than Westjet it is only proportional that more service will be affected. I realise its easy to turn a blind eye to the magnitude of the operation required to serve 130+ communities to Westjets 71 but its done to the same level of ontime performance. I agree, it's a disappointment to have your travel plans disrupted - nobody feels good about that.
It also amazes me that Canadians chose to ignore the fact that "informed Tax Payers" voted to sell Air Canada to the public in 1987 and since then it has been a "shareholder" directed entity - our "owners" are sitting right beside you.
Old Mar 14, 2011, 2:09 PM
Sandiboots Sandiboots is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2
Default Response to AC Survivor

I stand corrected on the taxpayer statement. But still, delays for maintainence happened in August! Also, by the time our plane left, the pilot was really good and just booked it into Vancouver airport so we could make our connecting flight. He did an excellent job, and we could have got on our connecting flight, but guess what? They gave away our seats. Thanks. The groundcrew was phoned and told we would make our connecting flight.

Then, we were told we could get on the next flight. Ok, no problem. So we wait for 3 hours and then we get told by the next flight crew that there thats not for sure either. Here we go again.

This is what pisses people off about AC. You tend to get a different story from everybody. We get on the next flight and get to Edmonton to find we also have NO luggage. After 3 hour wait, you couldn't manage to get our bags on the next flight?

The funny thing was, the Iron Maiden documentary " Flight 666" was playing on the in-flight TV. Pretty ironic....

Anyway, I've flown on WestJet about 25 times. No complaints. Flown on AC 4 times- had something happen on everyone of those flights. So those are my stats.....
Old Mar 24, 2011, 2:49 AM
Survivor Survivor is offline
Air Canada Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Alberta
Posts: 50

I’m sorry your experience has been so terrible. It’s quite apparent your view will not change. All I can offer is that you make your choices according to what has suited you best and avoid those that don’t. You do have choice and the strongest power you have as a consumer is to spend your money on the services you are happy with; not on those you are not. I hope should you have another experience with us that it is better than any of the previous; realizing it will take a lot.
Old May 5, 2011, 5:32 AM
Shinseidoka Shinseidoka is offline
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: YVR
Posts: 6
Default overbooking Air Canada etc

If you didn't know before, you know now that all airlines overbook on purpose and Air canada is no exception, because many travelers are rude and inconsiderate and don't bother having the courtesy of notifying the airlines, Air Canada or other, when their plans have changed and business is business.

If you (you in the generic sense) are smart, rather than get insensed, take the overbooking as an chance to get an upgrade, a better seat, compensation, etc, etc. The problem is that most passengers don't bother asking for compensation, so the airlines laugh all the way to the bank!! So instead of getting all pissy with airline personnel, ASK for compensation! Even better, even when you are not bumped off a flight, think of walking up to the gate counter and advise airline personnel, you'd be willing to give up your seat for compensation!

As for Air Canada at YVR, there are all sorts. Nasty employees and very kind ones. I have had experience with both. That's life! I am not excusing them. however, traveling these days is stressful enough and rather than let your blood pressure go up at the time of the incident, take note of everything, names, times, gate area, and even smile a little to the airline employee. You'd be surprised at how far a simple smile goes. Keep a record of all that info and when you've had a chance to cool down, go straight to the horse''s mouth (the execs at Air Canada). You would be surprised at how quick they address your concerns.

If you want to know where to address your complaints, follow this link to their online form:

Be civil and polite in your complaints. There is no point lowering yourself to the standards of a rude employee to make your point!

And in case you wanted to know, No, I do not work for Air Canada or any other airline but I do work for YVR in a different customer service capacity, so I can understand frustrations. I am often the sounding board for complaints, just because I am there!

It's unfair to put an airline down because of the behavior of afew. Air Canada is a very good airline with a pretty good track record and it's not fair to diss them because of a few idiots, or because you (generic you) actually don't pay attention to the rules governing your ticket!!!


Last edited by Shinseidoka; May 5, 2011 at 5:34 AM. Reason: correcting spelling errors
Old May 5, 2011, 10:34 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

The amount of complaints on this forum, compared to it's size belies the idea that Air Canada is a good airline... And it might do them some good to read the customer feedback.

On the issue of overbooking, your casual acceptance of it as normal and "business is business" is breathtaking. The justification for overbooking in the past was that a good proportion of the tickets were refundable, and on many routes there was significant overcapacity. It was therefore good yield management to overbook, and given the excess capacity, the disruption was minimal.

Today, there is very little over capacity and the vast majority of tickets sold are non-refundable. In any other business to sell a service you can't provide is fraud. How they get away with this is beyond me. To compound the problem, at times of high demand, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, some of the passengers denied boarding can face not getting on an alternative flight for days. There are horror stories in here where it can be a week. Passengers who don't turn up are not rude...they are simply not taking the service. The airline will charge them regardless. Is it rude if you book tickets to a show and for business or other reasons you decide not to go? Your stance is ridiculous... And you clearly can't see this from the customers point of view. Sadly that is all too prevalent in the industry, whether you work in the terminal or for the airline itself, and that compounds the problem.
Old Aug 31, 2011, 5:05 PM
logowatchman logowatchman is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1
Default Couldn't Agree More

You hit the nail right on the head-it is very obvious that its all about profits. I travel twice/month on Flt AC211 out of Calgary to Vancouver. I can't count the number of times this flight has been cancelled for "mechanical" reasons. These folks really have no concern for the customer. As I said to one of their agents a few weeks ago "You charge us more and more and give us less and less-except for attitude." They just don't get it that it's our bums in the seats that pays their bills.

I look at buying a ticket as a contract. I pay you money in exchange for a seat on a particular flight. Don't bump me off the flight and then rebook me six or eight hours later and tell me you fulfilled your end of the bargain. Sure, there are times when its unavoidable (legitimate mechanical issues, weather etc), but I don't consider overbooking a valid reason. That is a policy for maximizing profit, customer be damned.

They certainly seem to do their best to live up to the motto we've come to associate with them: "We're not happy until you're not happy."

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