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Air Crapida hits bottom, digs

Air Canada, not satisfied with being one of the worst customer-service companies in existence, has found a new way to price-gouge customers: Charge a fee to deal with flight hassles:

Trumpeting the service as unique in North America, Air Canada – which had a net profit of $429 million in 2007 – yesterday unveiled a new travel-assistance program, On My Way. For a one-way fee of $25 (flights below 1,000 miles) or $35 (above 1,000), payable when the flight is booked on aircanada.com, the airline will look after alternate flight arrangements and general logistics problems occasioned by flight, traffic or weather-related delays beyond its control.

[ . . . ]

Michael Janigan of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre in Ottawa wasn’t impressed. He suggested Out Of My Way as a more fitting name.

“It’s part and parcel of a continuing effort to try and make the service extended to you when you buy a ticket less and less. The expectation would be that if you paid for a flight, you’d be rebooked on the next available flight. I’m hesitant to figure what’s next with the airlines. Maybe washroom privileges (for a fee)? We’ll have to wait and see.”

No kidding. First they take away the food. Then they take away the baggage “privileges”. Then they outsource the lost luggage service to India. Now they won’t even rebook you on the next flight if your flight is delayed or canceled.

Air Canada continues to demonstrate that, just when you think it has come up with every possible way to screw its customers, there are always a few more to be found. The next time it claims bankruptcy and begs for a bailout from its financial woes, I hope the Canadian government has the good sense to finally let Air Canada sink, once and for all.

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