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blog air travel fail

If anyone follows me on Twitter you will have probably noticed the tweets in February about my frustrations with Air Canada.
Well, one thing that I think never happens, is that nobody ever posts the details of the aftermath and final resolution of the spur of the moment venting.
Then I thought to myself – “self, you have a blog, you can talk about this”.
So, here we are.

When we booked the flights, we paid the extra money to get an exit row. I am willing to do that for my long legs. Also, many aircraft seats on the row in front of exit, don’t recline, so I don’t end up with anyone in my lap or jamming their seat into my knees.

That was not how things worked out – they had changed the aircraft configuration on us and we didn’t know.
When we went to web check in – it said we couldn’t. The first agent said that we were being moved from originally purchased seats – after explaining that we paid for and expect our exit row, he told us to check with the agent when we got through security and at the gate.

So, after making our way through security and approaching the gate agent, explaining we paid extra to sit in the exit row, and we wanted our exit rows seats please, she rapidly typed away at her keyboard and gave us new boarding passes.
Of course, my wife had been randomly selected again for extra security screening (50% average for her), so her mood wasn’t exactly her normal cheerful self.
Great start to vacation at 5am?

Then we boarded the plane

So we board the plane to discover – lo and behold – we didn’t get the exit row.
At this point – other than take a photo for later discussion with Air Canada, I decided to post it on twitter. Not like I could do much else at that point.

Off we go, guy in front pissed off that I had my knees jammed in his back, but my level of sympathy was kinda … low.

Then we arrive – Air Canada had replied asking me to send them details.
So, I did that while waiting for baggage to arrive. It was a direct flight after all.

And we waited for the baggage to arrive many bags ride by, got 1 …. then the belt stopped.

Over to baggage services we go, our friends that were picking us up were there, so after the basic discussion with baggage services, off Mrs and friend went looking for a Starbucks so my wife could have another…. ventihalfpagelongsoyextrapumpsnofoamextrahotgottahavachailatte
While I waited, baggage services to tell me that according to the computer my bag was here.

So, I took to twitter again while I waited.
This was not a great start to our vacation.
Baggage services guy returns from his walkabout, stating that he can’t find our bag anywhere.
And then fill out some paperwork – where are we going, how long we will be there, how to get ahold of us.

Then we asked about compensation entitlements, and given a number to call.
Once we got something to eat, we called.

As you can imagine, sense of humour not overly intact.
Mrs went on a WalMart shopping trip for some necessities. Air Canada had no idea when they might provide anything and said we would be reimbursed reasonable expenses.
We had asked them to call us when it was found, as we were only in the first hotel for 1 night.
They never called, so as we were checking out – I asked if a bag had been dropped off, clerk didn’t know.
We walked into their business center/luggage storage, and there it was.


So, the aftermath

Other than they didn’t call to let us know, we were pretty happy.
After a phone conversation we were told we would get our exit row that we had paid for on the return trip – which we did.
When we got home, we started to contact them again – to sort out the details.

We paid extra for the exit row that we didn’t get on the trip there. They refunded it.
Glad we got our money back, but still annoyed that my 4 hour flight was very uncomfortable, as I had tried to take steps to prevent it.

We had 21 days to submit the claim – due to getting our bag the next day, I expected it to be denied. No matter what we had been told on the phone. Who reading this doesn’t expect the guy on the phone to tell you whatever they need to in order to shut you up…… and then tell you it was misunderstood. Haven’t seen that before.

Claim submitted, with a scan of the WalMart reciept. You get the immediate email that says – you should get a reply in up to 15 days….. so we wait.
Eventually, the email comes that says – claim approved, please confirm this is the address you would like us to send you a cheque. I confirm, and 3 weeks later, the cheque arrived.

In Summary,

Reality –
Air Canada did their best to resolve the situation once it happened.
But, the fact that these situation unfolded in this manner – could have been avoided. Why leave it until its too late to adjust seats when aircraft changes? Why was I just given crap seats when I asked for my exit row back? It feels as though they just did what they felt would shut me up until I was on to be someone elses complainer……
It was a direct flight – better care and attention to baggage.

Overall, how do we rate this?
Positives – we didn’t lose money.
Negatives – uncomfortable trip down due to not fitting in the seat, and frustration on vacation day 1.
Did it ruin the vacation – no. Just made it feel like we tripped over the start line.
I try not to get worked up about things like this, as in the big scheme of things – nobody was bleeding, hurt, or out money. But that doesn’t mean I can’t tell my story that I felt screwed over after trying to do everything the airline wants to guarantee a good experience.
The comedy value of this is – if something can go wrong – its going to happen to us.

Thanks for reading this far.
I do intend to do more off topic content, and potentially starting to post more random things, which might actually lead to a second website (currrent train of thougth anyway).