Thursday, January 3, 2008

Why I love Air Canada.

So far my holidays have been pretty good. I was sick for the first half and I'm presently dizzy every day for some reason, but other than that, they've been good. I spent New Years in Toronto with my brother and his family and I had a great time. We shopped and hung out and basically did a lot of nothing but it was a perfect way to spend a holiday in my opinion. Mostly, it was just great to wake up to a house full of people instead of alone. See how I slipped that pity party in there? Sneaky.

I would have to say my favorite part of the whole trip was the flight home. I'm not sure why I continue to fly Air Canada. My negative experiences far outweigh my positives and I really do love West Jet(my title is sarcastic....get it?). I think I decided on Air Canada because they were the only airline with a direct flight to and from Toronto and the price was slightly cheaper. Regardless, I soon regretted my decision. This is my story:

I arrived at the airport at 6PM for my flight that departed at 8:25 PM. I was a bit early but it had snowed in Toronto and that apparently warranted a "temperature emergency" for the city so my brother thought it best to give us a lot of time to drive there. It was ok thought. I had a magazine AND a book so I was set.

I had no problems checking in and getting through security so I phoned my brother and let him know I was fine and phoned my parents in Regina and said I would see them soon. My parents were picking me up at 10:45 PM Regina time which was a bit late for them so I was grateful for their help.

I checked my boarding pass as I gathered my stuff from security and was surprised to find that the departure time was now 9:31 and the gate had changed. "Hm, that sucks", I thought. I phoned my parents with the update. I offered to take a cab home but my dad said it was fine. It was just a bit later. They had my house keys anyways.

I decided to go find my gate before I went to find a needed Starbucks just so I was prepared. I found it right away but Regina wasn't listed as the departure destination. Hm. I figured there must be an earlier departure, I was pretty early, but I went to check the departure TV's just in case the gate had changed again. The gate had changed again. Ok. I went to find my new gate, found it, checked the TV's, still the right gate. Great. Time for a coffee.

I lingered at Starbucks for a while but wanted to give myself time to be prepared for my 9:31 boarding time so I finally decided to go back. One last check at the TV's. Awesome. Not only had the gate changed again but the time had also changed. 10:25 PM. Crap. I sat down at the correct gate to call my parents and heard someone mention a gate change. You're kidding. No. Not kidding. I followed the crowd.

Now I'm hungry(I'm switching tenses here for the drama) and it's about 9:00 so I think I'll grab a quick bite before we leave. I sit down at a Sushi place, quickly eat some Sushi and arrive back at my gate. Except...wait for it....it's not my gate! MY gate is at the exact opposite end of the Terminal. I rush to the gate hoping that my undigested sushi doesn't decided to make an appearance. I arrive just in time! No wait, not just in time. One hour early! Why? Because my flight now doesn't leave until 11:00! But at 11:00 there is still no plane. Then there is a plane and we're told we're just waiting for the people to come off. Then the people come off. Then another plane arrives and more people come off. Then we're told we're waiting for a pilot. Then we're told they can't find a pilot. What? You can't find a pilot? Isn't it a given that a scheduled flight out of Toronto would have one? No? Ok then. So we wait.

We board the plane at 11:30 and we get a quick message from the pilot that our other pilots "were illegal", whatever that means. I think it means they "f'ed off". It also apparently means that we have to sit on the plane for an hour before we take off.

Finally, at 12:30 AM we leave. Only 4 hours late. My parents should be thrilled to see me at 3:30 AM. We are, however, offered a complimentary drink at 1:30 AM which I do not want because it's 1:30 AM for crying out loud. Oh, and we get free New Years chocolates! It was all worth it in the end.

Thankfully my parents were there to pick me up and they actually looked happy to see me which was amazing under the circumstances.

Happy New Year Air Canada! Thanks for the chocolates you bastards!

12 comments:

he said...

What exactly is your complaint? It seems both the airline and the airport authority kept you well advised of the ongoing changes.That's a blessing at any northern airport in winter.

Schmutzie said...

I am with you on the Air Canada sucking front. At least you got to leave on the same day!

erin said...

I have TEARS running down my face. TEARS! And i never cry. Not even when I chop onions. BUT DAMN, that was funny. In a very sad way. Sad, indeed.

DRG said...

You should fly WestJet instead if you think it is so much better. Airlines operate complicated networks and have strict rules on such things as crew rest periods. They're for your safety. No airline -- not even WestJet -- has a fleet of empty planes sitting around. What you experienced was weather interfering with an airline network. Perhaps you don't fly very often.

Air Canada is one of the better airlines in North America. Try flying a U.S. carrier for some context. But if you think WestJet is so grand, fly them all the time and quit your complaining.

Jack said...

Wholly CRAP! I think it's unhealthy to love an airline THAT much, drg!

Yet I feel some what relieved that you do. Makes me glad that there is someone in this world willing to stand up for their convictions.

What a good way to start off a Friday!! Coffee and muffin time!

notquiteawake said...

Thanks for all your comments!
For the people who didn't like the post, that's fine. I write my blog for myself and my friends. I don't like Air Canada so I can complain about it on my blog if I want because it's MY blog. If you don't like it, don't read it. It's your choice.

BL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tee said...

It's your blog and you can bitch if you want to...I've had some bad experiences with Air Canada and I can see how inconveniences happen (no one can control the weather) but I've been stunned at the lack of customer service that AC provided. I was stuck in the T.O. airport for 8 hours when my flight was canceled twice and the attitude I got from the AC people was "well, that's just the way it is..." not even an apology (or free drink), a little empathy goes a long way.

traikman said...

I've complained tons about Air Canada in the past and I'm sure I will again in the future. I've even attempted to boycott them after they wouldn't let me take my dog AT CHECK-IN(!!) after confirming 4 times in 3 months that she was good to go. But, lately, I've developed some complaints about WestJet too, and it all comes down to customer service. Weather issues can't be controlled, and technicians do their best to make last minute changes that will keep us safe. I'm happy to be inconvenienced for safety. But customer service is something that CAN be controlled. Apologize if you've delayed people by 4 hours. Tell them that it's because of changes in the weather, not because you're incompetent. Don't act like you're doing them a favor by letting them fly on your airline at all. Cough up more than a few candies and a free drink for the inconvenience. I'd rather you spend money on that than the hi-tech entertainment system that didn't work on my last flight ANYWAY!
That's Air Canada. On WestJet, I had to listen to some annoying flight attendant complain about the new girl(who was doing her best)to a co-worker all the way from Calgary to Toronto. Her job isn't that hard, how about some simple professionalism? And cut out the fake folksiness, WestJet. I ain't buying it.

If we have to pay the ridiculous fares, we have a right to complain.

may-b said...

Seriously. Some people get a little testy! Who knew DRG and HE had such a love for Air Canada?

Anonymous said...

Every airline has delays that are handled poorly, I've had them on Westjet, Skyservice (late for 6 hours in a hot plane in Mexico, with 1 glass of water), British Airways, late for 2 days, kept changing the departure time every 2-3 hours, only to cancel the flight twice! Air Transat, 16 hours in the Dominican Republic, with no reason, just a "it's coming" from the agents there.. etc.. Air France, lost my luggage 12 years ago... their still missing....

So the moral of the story is, every airline have their moments, except here in Canada, the media have done a GREAT job at bashing just one airline, and looking at them with a microscope...

The grass isn't always greener on the other side people...

Albany said...

Well said.