Christmas Holiday Travel Misadventures - Air Canada Sucks

Ok so Christmas vacation was a few weeks ago now, but I’ve been putting off sharing a story about my travel misadventures. Partly I’ve been super busy and partly I’ve been hoping to hear back from the airline with some kind of compensation. Since Air Canada doesn’t care enough to properly address to my complaints, I guess it’s time to share the lousy experience.

It all begins as I show up at the airport ready for a bit of a wait and then a 1 hour flight to the interior of BC. The first bit of bad news is easy enough to shrug off – our flight has been delayed by an hour. Ok no problem, I’ll read my book and mess around on my cell phone.

As we’re waiting, my step sister and I start to get apprehensive because we hear flights getting cancelled and people around us talking about problems with flights landing at our destination. All we could do was stay optimistic and wait. Hopefully we’d get a break in the weather to be able to land.

So an hour later we’re boarding a plane and we assume that they had decided that the weather would be fine to land in. When we should’ve been making our descent, we get the 2nd bit of bad news. They’ve decided that visibility is too poor to be able to land. Oh shit, time to head back to Vancouver.

Once we land back in Vancouver, reality sets in and we start scrambling to find alternative transportation. Our first attempt was to try to find a bus, despite the potential 10 hour ride. Unfortunately the bus company is having issues too and we can’t even get through. Then as we’re lining up to try to get a refund on our flight, we find out they’re trying to organize a new flight to a nearby city. Problem is, it’s a 3 hour drive from our destination and they were noncommittal about being able to get us a shuttle the rest of the way.

Reluctantly we accept that offer and wait around the airport for a few more hours. At least it meant we wouldn’t be stuck in a bus for 10 hours. That flight seemed to go fine…that is until we landed and our checked baggage was nowhere to be found.

Since we were just happy to finally be closer to where we were heading, we didn’t make a big deal about it, thinking it would just show up a day or two later. From there we were lucky enough to have my step-dad drive the 3 hours in snowy weather to pick us up. Because he had also driven to the other airport in the morning, he ended up doing about 8 hours of highway winter driving. Maybe he was the one we should be feeling sorry for.

Then the wait for our baggage begins. The next day we find out that my bag has apparently showed up, but they are still waiting on my step-sister’s. Then on Christmas Eve we call in and find out that her bag has shown up and they have been sent out with a courier. Christmas miracle, right? Not so fast. Only my step-sister’s bag was with the courier. The driver has no idea where my bag is. Are you serious?! I guess I’m stuck doing laundry everyday and borrowing my step-dad’s clothes. Some presents will have to wait too.

After talking to Air Canada customer service, or rather their call center in India, we are given hope that the courier company is operating on Christmas Day and it shows that my bag is out for delivery. That better be the last time I have to talk to them about this.

Christmas morning comes and as the day progresses, I start to realize that my bag is not going to show up. So I spend even more time on the phone trying to track down my bags. Everyone keeps giving me the same lame answer that it shows the bag is out for delivery. When I called the courier company, they knew who I was just by the fact that I was looking for my bag, yet they had no clue either.

Boxing Day was more of the same. By now I was really getting pissed off. That evening I finally talk to someone who concedes that my bag probably isn’t out for delivery. Someone there finally has the common sense to re-open my case and get a description of my bag and contents. This was especially painful trying to explain what was in my bag while he had trouble understanding basic English. Apparently I was going to have to fill out a bunch of forms and mail various documentation across the country. Right on!

Now it’s time to head back home and I have to borrow a suitcase to bring home my presents and newly inherited spare clothes. When I go to check in, what do you know, there is my suitcase sitting behind the counter. The whole week it’s just been sitting there without anybody bothering to notify me or update their system.

The real kick in the teeth was when they informed me that I’d have to pay $20 to check the extra suitcase. Instead of being apologetic about me not having my luggage over the holidays, they had the nerve to charge me more fees. I figured they’d waive it when I reminded them of the situation, but they wouldn’t budge at all. Geez, thanks Air Canada!

So yeah, that was the major damper to my Christmas vacation. I e-mailed Air Canada about this last early this month and no sufficient resolution yet. Guess who’s going to be flying with different airlines from now on. So if you’re ever flying in Canada, don’t make the mistake of flying with Air Canada. You’ll be severely disappointed. Ok, rant complete. You may now return to your regular scheduled programming.

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