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ARGH! Pearson Int'l Airport/Air Canada rant

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Just spent the most useless vacation day of my life.

Flight to Vancouver from Toronto originally scheduled for 10:15am. Checked flight at 7:30am. Lots were cancelled, but ours still seemed to be okay. Drove through freezing-crappy-rain to airport, checked in at Park 'n' Fly.

Our flight had been delayed to 11:30am. Not too bad.

Apparently the problem was a lack of a plane de-icer component (glycol).

At 11 am (boarding), the flight was cancelled. Instructions were given for people who wanted to re-book the next day, but not for later in the day.

Pandemonium reigned.

People lined up (that's just a standard Canadian response to a situation), people tried phoning their travel agencies --- but at about 11 or so, Air Canada blocked agents from booking flights, people tried phoning Air Canada --- perpetual busy signal. There were courtesy phones that connected directly to Air Canada registrations, for which a line up (see comment above) eventually developed.

I booked a flight for 9:55pm, which turned out to be the earliest (!!) flight I could get out. Then when I called SkiCan it turned out that the bus transfer couldn't pick us up at midnight from Vancouver. Got back into the Courtesy Phone line -- Mr. Delta had finally emerged from the Live Person line up with not much information -- and re-booked a flight for tomorrow. We'll have missed a day of skiing, and just have to eat the extra lodging evening. Grrrr. People were just passing the phone with the agent on it to the next person in line for the phones, but the agent asked me to hang up unless I had promised to pass the phone to the next person because she had 275 calls in queue behind.

Amazing --- the flight that I had been booked on (9:55pm) was now listed on monitors as Cancelled, but neither the Live Person who Mr. Delta talked to, nor the agent on the courtesy phone had known this.

Now that I'm home, I've looked up flight delays. Only a handful of planes managed to get out of Pearson today. Not a SINGLE one of them was Air Canada.

1. Why on earth would an airport not stock enough de-icer? (And, yes, in Toronto, it's perfectly reasonable to need this in April. Every year we have one dump in early April, and every year we blot it from memory.) That's as dumb as running out of toilet paper.

2. What's up with Air Canada? Are they being asked to pay for glycol in cash, or something? And why did they shut the lines from travel agencies, and then not have a phone system that's capable of handling the inevitable hordes of people trying to re-book flights?

God, I'm so not looking forward to tomorrow's trip to the airport. And I've lost a ski day!

post #2 of 4
Lets not forget that at this time Air Canada has filled for bankrupcy protection. So maybe yes, they are at this time they are required to pay cash for some or all of thier expenditures. Maybe they should sell off all of thier other assets such as the two discount airlines that they run, or better yet go belly up just like all the other airlines have over the years because they could'nt turn a profit. I think that it is crap that Air Canada has dodged the bullet all these years while other companies have gone the way of the Dodo bird. Get your affairs in order or get out of the business. Maybe Air Canada would take notice if 4000+ Bears refused to fly with them as thier air carrier. Nothing wrong with Westjet as far as I'm concerned. Detla stick to these guys and good. End of rant....
post #3 of 4
Welcom to Toronto. Oh, you're from Toronto!

Sorry, Delta, I just couldn't resist. And by now you realise it wasn't AC's fault; the same thing happened in Chigago and Montreal too.
post #4 of 4
Yup, I've done the YYZ trip... delayed 28 hours. Air Canada plight is a problem, but we need them. We live in a massive country, with just one national airline. No problem to go on a charter from YYZ to YVR, but if you're a business person that needs to get from Flin Flon to Sudbury for a meeting... take away Air Canada, and you're going Greyhound, about a 4 day trip. And the far north... there just aren't any roads up there, or railroads. No airline, no transport, no more towns or industry. Whaddaya do?
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