Air Canada rant

07.22.03

I need to rant for a few moments about Air Canada.

It is utterly ridiculous to me how far downhill Air Canada has gone lately. I had the “joy” of dealing with them on my recent flight to Greece. On Friday, I flew three different airlines to get home from Santorini to Montreal. Lufthansa, with its comfortable seats, on-time departures, and courteous staff, made the experience hassle-free. Even Olympic Airways, flying aged planes still powererd by propeller, was efficient and easy to deal with.

Air Canada, on the other hand, has seats that are the most cramped of any airline I can think of. Cutbacks in staff mean that everyone is overworked and either unwilling or unable to help. Planes are almost never on time, and the endless series of “we’re sorry again for the delay, ladies and gentlemen” is almost comical. The flights I took were half-empty, while my Lufthansa and Olympic flights were all full. Another testament to the airline’s inefficiency. And while it took me all of seven minutes to check in at the Athens airport to come home, the lineups on the way out at the Air Canada counters at Dorval were so long that it was nearly impossible to wedge my way inside the airport.

When the airline unilaterally changed my ticket a week before departure and instructed me to be at the airport a half-hour early, I ended up standing in line for over an hour and a half to have my ticket reissued and nearly missed my flight. Why? Because with hundreds of people in line, there was only one friggin’ person at the counter. (Everyone else was, I imagine, on a coffee break.)

Aeroplan points are great in theory, but whenever you try to redeem them to get a free ticket, there aren’t any available. So everyone has zillions of points that are essentially worth nothing.

Noe the embattled carrier, on the verge of bankruptcy, just announced that it will be charging for meals on shorter or medium-length flights, eliminating complimentary food service in economy class.

Next thing we know, passengers will be expected to bring their own seats to sit on, and to power the plane ourselves by flapping our arms.

Why do many tiny countries have several national carriers, but Canada can’t even seem to support one? And the government keeps bailing it out, when maybe it’s time to just put it out of its misery. No wonder Air Canada’s bankrupt, with its lousy service and gross inefficiencies. It’s a second- or even third-rate airline, and frankly I can’t see any reason to voluntarily fly with it in the future.

Update: Tom pointed out that at least it’s not as bad as British Airways this week.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Saruman 07.23.03 at 12:31 AM

When was the last time you flew cheap US domestic carriers? US Airways’ seats look like they’ve been broken in thouroughly in the 1960s and just transfered to new planes after that. They’re the least comfortable seats out there.

And it’s getting worse as carriers are quick to convert less popular routes from airliners to regional jets. In fact, I’m flying US Airways again in a week and the montreal-pittsburgh legs of my trip are on a 45 seat, 15 rows Embraer regional jet that looks more like a stretched private jet then an airliner… I’ll be surprised if there’s more then a chemical toilet in the back like a freaking Greyhound bus!

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2 Segacs 07.23.03 at 1:56 PM

Siteowner’s note to trolls: you’re not fooling anyone.

Edited By Siteowner

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3 Saruman 07.25.03 at 8:06 PM

I trolled?

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4 segacs 07.25.03 at 8:42 PM

No, the post that was in the place of my comment was a troll. Your post was fine.

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5 Dean Robertson 11.06.11 at 8:56 PM

We flew with air Canada from Vancouver to Maui without any issues but the return flight was a relative disaster.
It started with not being able to check in the day before and after spending 30 minutes on hold just giving up. I was never able to actually talk to anyone and went through the canned music on hold several times I’m sure.
When we got to the airport on the day of our departure the counter people were courteous and helpful so I looked past the experience of the day before.
We went to the gate with plenty of time to spare, only to find that the flight was delayed and took off almost an hour late.
The flight itself was fine aside from the glitches in the sound system that precluded us of hearing the bulk of the audio we were trying to listen to (whoopee, we got a 5% discount on our next Air Canada flight, which might be never).
When it was time to eat we ordered what we thought was a common item (vegetarian sandwich as I recall) only to find it was totally sold out, as was the cheese and crackers we also ordered. We settled for an alternate meal but were not that pleased with it.
When it came time to order duty free the flight was totally out of liquor and as such we were not able to purchase any to make use of the duty free status we had available to us from our stay in the USA.
We got the impression that things were a bit unorganized across the board and that the staff were somewhat stressed.
We got home quite a bit later than expected but we did get home safely so all was not lost.

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