My Worst Travel Day Ever Thanks To Air Canada
Those who follow my Twitter account will likely have noticed that I have been less than thrilled with the quality of service provided by Air Canada today. I was supposed to do some consulting work in the UK this week, but those plans have been turned upside down thanks to a plane with an electrical fault of some sort that led to a cancellation. Now I get that stuff like this happens, but the way it was handled by Air Canada was absolutely a #fail to put it mildly. Let me walk you through the chronology of events:
- My flight was supposed to take off at 8:25 AM. But at 7:58 AM they delayed the flight by 30 minutes. Now, I was supposed to connect to a train via National Rail to my final destination, and I built a three hour buffer to make sure that if a delay happened, I would not miss my train.
- At 8:39 AM Air Canada announced a further delay with due to a “mechanical issue.”
- At 9:09 AM Air Canada started boarding the plane.
- At 9:23 AM they pushed us back from the gate. At this point, we have been delayed for just over an hour. But the “fun” was not over. They were unable to start the engines so they were forced to return to the gate and mechanics come on board to look at this electrical fault.
- After sitting on the plane for another hour, Air Canada empties the plane and tells passengers to get a voucher and come back in an hour for an update. Here’s what the line for the vouchers looked like:
- One hour later, the flight is cancelled and Air Canada sends passengers running to a customer service desk with only two people at it and over 200 people from the flight that was cancelled to deal with:
- About 30 minutes after I post that Tweet, a third person appears:
It took almost another hour to rebook at this desk. As it stands, I am on the 6:30 PM flight tonight which will land in London at roughly 6AM. But this forced me to rebook my train travel. Fortunately that was only 6.75 GBP. But it pushes back the amount of time that I have to work back by one day which isn’t good for yours truly or my client.
Now I will say this once again, I get that delays happen. But Air Canada could have done a much better job of dealing with this. They could have had more customer service agents to help us rebook. They could have perhaps done a better job ensuring the plane was working. Even the communication might have been better. Other airlines seem to do a much better job of this than Air Canada. So, after this experience combined with my experience with Air Canada the last time I flew to the UK, I likely will not be flying with them again. Delays happen. But it’s how you handle those delays as an airline that makes someone who has a delay want to fly with them again, or not fly with them again.
Here’s hoping that I get off the ground later tonight.