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.