Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Worst Flight Experience Ever with Air Canada

Once upon a time, there was a couple called the Hollingsworths who wanted to go to Alberta/Montana to see family for Christmas. They lived in a land far, far away called The Ohio and their families lived westward. After looking at flight upon flight, the couple found a flight via Air Canada that barely fit into their budget and worked with their schedule even though it was outrageously priced.
Photo via Pinterest

They promptly arrived at the airport in Cleveland on the 23rd day of the month of December to embark on the first leg of their journey West. Their first flight was delayed by about 50 minutes. Not ideal but not a big deal. They each had a personal carry on bag and had checked a larger bag at the gate. When they arrived in Toronto, they had a little trouble. You see, one of them lost their passport and when they went back to the aircraft to find it, it had vanished. They were distraught but wouldn't let this dampen their trip as they continued on their way.

When they arrived in Calgary, Alberta, at 1 AM on the 24th day of December (Christmas Eve) they anxiously awaited their bag on the carousel, however, it never appeared. Much to their disappointment, their bag had been stalled in Toronto but the Hollingsworths were assured that the Air Canada staff was working over the holiday weekend and would deliver their bag to them at their final destination the next day. Unfortunately, all of Mrs. Hollingsworth's clothes were in that checked bag along with a few Christmas gifts that the Hollingsworths were excited to give to their families! Without any clothing to her own, Mrs. Hollingsworth had to borrow clothing and toiletries from her mother and sisters. You see, she had packed all of Mr. Hollingsworth's Christmas gifts in her carry-on bag so as to keep them a secret until Christmas morning. In doing so, she had packed all of her necessities in the larger checked bag, confident that it would arrive safely with them. It was quite lucky that Mrs. Hollingsworth had family who she could borrow these things from because the couple had arrived on a holiday and a Sunday so there were no stores open to purchase these things. The couple continued to stay optimistic in hopes that their belongings would still be delivered. Unfortunately, they were not delivered that day, or the next day, or the next, or the next day, either!

The Hollingsworths had lots of family in the area. They spent some time in the town of Cardston, Alberta, then they moved on to Eureka, Montana for a time, then they visited Columbia Falls, Montana. With each move to a new location, Mr. Hollingsworth had to contact Air Canada's Customer Service and wait on hold for at least an hour before speaking with a representative to update their delivery address for their missing suitcase. It wasn't until 2 hours before Mr. Hollingsworth was to begin his trek back home that their bag was finally delivered. Unfortunately, it was a little dirty and torn up but they were just excited to finally have it back! Mrs. Hollingsworth was overjoyed to have her own belongings back and to wear her own clothing! As they were checking the condition of the suitcase, they realized that some cash they had inside had been stolen (dirtbags, pun intended). They unpacked the suitcase and repacked it with their Christmas presents that they had received and decided that it would be best if Mr. Hollingsworth took the bag back with him that evening. He had to be at the hospital the following day, you see, which is why he had to make the journey back to The Ohio sooner than Mrs. Hollingsworth who still had another week off of her duties.

Mr. Hollingsworth began his expedition back to The Ohio on the 31st day of December. Unfortunately, his bag got lost AGAIN on his way home. To make matters worse, the second leg of his flight was canceled due to 'inclement weather' although it was clear blue skies in Toronto. Because it was canceled due to 'inclement weather' Air Canada would not give him any sort of hotel voucher or meal voucher because 'the weather is out of their control'. Rather than wait overnight in the airport, Mr. Hollingsworth decided that it would be best if he simply procured a vehicle and drove the rest of the journey. He did so and arrived safely in The Ohio late the evening of the 1st of January - without his checked bag as it was still lost.

Again, Mr. Hollingsworth had to call Air Canada's poor Customer Service and wait on hold for hours on end to get confirmation that his bag would be delivered. "Luckily" it only took three days this time instead of eight.

A screenshot of one of our many calls to Air Canada while we were trying to cancel the second leg of the flight they booked us on but didn't use.  

Mrs. Hollingsworth had a smashing time in Alberta for the remainder of the week where she spent lots of time playing winning games, watching and singing The Greatest Showman, and visiting with friends and family. She began her trek back home to The Ohio on Sunday, the 7th of January, by driving to the Calgary airport. She was directed to the wrong security entrance so she had to walk all the way to the other end of the airport and then back again before she could go through security. While going through security they 'randomly' insisted on a full body pat-down search and scan as well as opened up her backpack and poured everything out.

Finally, once everyone had boarded her first flight, Mrs. Hollingsworth's plane was sitting on the tarmac waiting for their turn to take off only to have some sort of passenger mix up. This meant that they had to taxi back to the gate, get the issue resolved, and then they could take off. Because of this long delay, Mrs. Hollingsworth would not arrive in Toronto on time to board her connecting flight. However, when she finally did arrive in Toronto, it was not so surprising to learn that her connecting flight had been canceled due to 'inclement weather' again. She cried there in the airport when she realized that Air Canada's Customer Service would be of no help to her. The earliest they could get her on another flight was the next morning but because the cancellation was due to 'weather' they couldn't give her a hotel voucher or any meal vouchers or anything. She decided to follow Mr. Hollingsworth's example and rent a car to drive the rest of the way. She safely arrived at 3 AM on the 8th day of January. Luckily, she had only a carry-on so all of her bags arrived with her.

Mr. and Mrs. Hollingsworth were overjoyed to see each other again! They decided it would be best to cancel Mrs. Hollingsworth's connecting flight that she was supposed to be on the next morning so they called Air Canada's terrible Customer Service again even though it was about 3:30 AM. They called waited on hold for at least an hour again to get that canceled. After which they had to file another claim to be refunded for only that leg of the flight.

As you can see, the Hollingsworths had anything but a 'Happily Ever After' experience with Air Canada.

The End.


I'm not sure why I felt the need to share our experience at all, let alone like a story. It just kind of came out like that as soon as I started typing (I realize it's 3rd person which is so annoying but it is what it is). I know it's super long - it's because we had issue after issue with Air Canada. I realize the passport thing isn't their fault but that was just the beginning of the downhill flight experience so I figured I'd share it anyway. The rest of the nightmare was completely their fault and they've done absolutely nothing to make it right. I hate to badmouth a company and their customer service, especially after sharing such a passionate post about treating Customer Service representatives with kindness. I can assure you that Parker and I have both been very nice to each and every representative of Air Canada that we have had contact with. They just aren't doing anything for us which is very frustrating! We are hopeful that our claim will be seen soon and that they will take action to make this right. We wanted to share our experience to let other people know that flying with Air Canada - no matter how much less expensive it is - is never worth it. We will never fly with them again.

xoxo, Chelan

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