Air Canada Sucks

by MaxPower

Air Canada is the bottom-of-the-service-barrel, only choice-because-they-have-a-monopoly national airline of Canada.

This being r4nt I would like to get up on my soapbox and speak to Air Canada’s suckyness, and the feeling of uncontrollable disgust and rage I have when I fly Air Canada.

Canadians would like to think they have a good national airline, internationally respected, a new well serviced fleet, and a tradition to quality customer service that would do the best country in the world proud. The sad fact being, Air Canada is none of those things, coupled with a monopoly position in the domestic air travel in Canada has constructed itself into an inefficient, unresponsive shareholder based airline.

My proof? – Purely anecdotal, however I am sure with a little research everyone would be able to provide an Air Canada sucks story. On a recent trip on Air Canada I exposed weaknesses in service beyond the scope of anything that should be accepted and received customer service that turned myself into a prototypical air rage victim. My chosen flight was a direct from Calgary to London Heathrow. Everything started when I looked to book my flight, I was told $3700 CDN for a open ended ticket, $1700 CDN for a one way ticket and $500 or so for a return. Leave it to Air Canada to have a return ticket a fraction of the price of a one-way. So I buy a return and then don’t use the return leg, the only person that is helping is a stand-by passenger who gets my seat when I don’t show up.

So in anticipation of my trip, I go out and purchase a new carry-on suitcase two months prior to my trip. Everything’s great until I go to look at a larger suitcase, a week before my trip. I find out then that Air Canada (the only airline in the world, it was noted by the salesperson) had decreased the allowable carry-on height from 22 inches to 21.5 inches, to “save space” and that my brand new carryon was of an illegal size. Air Canada notified me at the airport that in the future there would be no tolerance and I would have to check my carry-on, but they would let me go this time because it was only a week or so since the change, how nice of them.

I expected Air Canada’s best planes on a high profile route to Heathrow, I seemed to be right. I was flying on a brand new A340, produced in 1998 with all of the newest technological gadgets, including mini-screens on the back of each seat to allow passengers to watch a movie with ease, or so the company’s website claimed. Actually, the plane was a A340, however, it must have been stripped by a gang when it landed in NYC or LAX, because not only was the plane absent of any technological advantages (for example those little mini-screens, had been taken out and replaced with mismatched fabric) it was more poorly equipped than an older plane. First off, half of the toilets don’t work causing massive lines at all times to the bathrooms. To watch a movie you needed to rely on the 2 or 3 screens large screens in the plane, which in my case were 20 or so rows in front of me. So no big deal? I don’t get to watch a crappy movie right? (The movie was beyond crappy – The Legend of Bagger Vance – oh god) So I’ll sleep during the flight, as it was a red-eye leaving in the evening in Calgary arriving the next morning in London.

Well Air Canada, decided to serve wine with dinner (no tv-screens but wine with dinner…) a nice touch if a little short sighted. Seated beside me by some horrible mistake were an 18-year-old girl and an 18-year-old guy going to backpack through Europe. Understandably excited, they talked for the first 2 hours straight, no rage yet. After dinner they went up and asked for more wine bottles from the staff, got some (they actually gave them out, strange I thought) and proceeded to get loaded beside me, a small amount of rage at all the drunk talk. The lights go down and I try to get some sleep, they continue, yelling, so much so, there were numerous complaints from all over the plane, not to mention mine when I was seated right next to them, across the aisle. I asked them twice nicely to be quiet when talking before I rang for a stewardess about the noise, her response was, “I’m sorry we don’t have a policy to cope with drunk, belligerent or noisy passengers”. Rage growing, growing, suddenly directed more at Air Canada’s incompetence. Don’t all Airlines have policy like that? Finally drift off to sleep, drunk kids beside me decide to play open and shut the blinds, this of course is a problem when flying over the pole and you are in constant blinding light. Rage growing…

The last straw was when we were coming in to land after 7 hours of this, they decide to have a pillow fight and run up and down the aisles hitting each other with pillows. Stewards politely ask them to move to the side so they can get buy and then leave them to keep hitting each other and other passengers and me a couple times, I am pretty much at full blown air rage, all I could do was get off the plane before I started kicking ass.

The ultimate problem was not the excitable teenagers, but Air Canada’s incompetence in dealing with any problem. But what can I do, you complain to an airline and you get directed to their complaint department. Those people are pros at deflecting blame for anything. All I can do is write a r4nt, and next time take Virgin or British Airways to Toronto and then Westjet to Calgary. Anything to avoid Air Canada. Air Canada sucks.

  • Air Canada Sucks
  • by MaxPower
  • Published on June 1st, 2001

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