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Yet another "AC has lost my business" thread

Yet another "AC has lost my business" thread

Old May 16, 12, 10:47 pm
  #1  
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Yet another "AC has lost my business" thread

I was supposed to fly YYC-FRA-OTP on AC/LH on an S Fare class ticket this evening.

So, due to circumstances (somewhat) beyond my control, I arrived at YYC at 17:05, and AC844 to FRA had been closed, despite my not having checked baggage and 45 minutes remaining until take-off.

Fair enough - but I'm directed to the ticketing desk.

One of the ticketing agents goes to speak to security, while the other attempts to find alternate routings. At this point, I'm actually impressed with the service I'm getting.

Security won't budge, but the other agent has found space on an itinerary YYC-LHR-FRA-OTP.

I'm thinking I've lucked out.

But the YYC-LHR flight closes in five minutes, and the system won't allow the ticket to be assigned. Apparently the TA who booked the initial ticket has to "release the reservation" or something along those lines.

Minor panic, but I have the TA's phone number, and call her up. I pass the cell phone to the agent at the desk, and they talk. Apparently, the TA needs to call the AC help desk.

So I figure I'm SOL, and, sure enough, the YYC-LHR flight closes.

But the agent at the desk does a bit of poking around, and confirms there's space tomorrow on an itinerary YYC-YYZ-BOS-FRA-OTP, which will get me into OTP only one day late. She passes the details on to me, and tells me to give them to my TA when the reservation is released.

About 15 minutes later, my TA calls me, and proceeds to tell me that the AC help desk has directed her to tell me to call AC myself (and they've given her a number to give me, which turns out to be the main AC toll-free number).

And I do so.

After 30 minutes on hold, I'm about to lose my mind, but I remember that there's a number on the back of the AC E card, and, calling it, I'm speaking to a telephone agent withing 45 seconds.

The telephone agent, after looking up the booking, proceeds to inform me that, since the ticket was booked in the S fare bucket, I'm without recourse, and that my only option if I want to use the return half of the ticket is to book a one-way flight to OTP (of which I will get no credit for the missed flight).

The policy itself is irritating, but these are the rules you play by in booking a non-refundable fare, and I'd be prepared to chalk it up to the vagaries of fate.

Being strung along for an hour, however - I find it impossible to believe the telephone agent was the first person to be familiar with the fare policy - is what leads me to say that AC has lost my business.

I'll still fly them - the company I work for has an arrangement for discounts off fares with AC / LH, and I'm not senior enough (yet) to effect a change in that regard.

Personal flights, though - AC won't get another cent from me. I was targeting SE for 2013, but I'd rather not have status at all than give AC any of my money.

TB-ES
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Old May 17, 12, 7:26 am
  #2  
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You arrive 45 minutes before an international flight?

Did you try OLCI?
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Old May 17, 12, 8:00 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by acysb87 View Post
You arrive 45 minutes before an international flight?

Did you try OLCI?
Yeah - I did say due to circumstances (somewhat) beyond my control in the OP; long story shortened to:
  • yearly performance review being delayed past original meeting time.
  • yearly performance review taking longer than necessary (went well, but a lot of time agreeing with my boss)
  • resultant delay in leaving putting me into rush hour traffic.

I'm not blaming AC for closing the flight, or for not putting me on another one; these are the consequences of arriving late and the fare bucket that I purchased.

What led to the declaration in the title of the post is the stringing me along for an hour when AC had no intention whatsoever of putting me on another flight, which - to employ the old cliché - added insult to injury.

TB-ES
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Old May 17, 12, 8:06 am
  #4  
 
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I'm having a hard time understanding why the OP wouldn't have done OLCI in a case like this. Arriving at the airport 45 minutes prior without checked luggage would have worked out fine a case such as this one then.

AC's difficulty or abstinence in handling TA booked tickets is equally mystifying. It seems crazy that they would direct a person to their TA in a situation like this where they've identified a solution.
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Old May 17, 12, 8:28 am
  #5  
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Release a booking to AC? The booking is under airport control already....Anyays, TAs don't release bookings to airlines. Total poppycock.

you were screwed by the airport agents who let you walk away without a new booking under the same day change rules of your fare. You are further mislead by the agent telling you to buy a one way and use your return. Your gave up your return by missing your first flight. Refund your ticket less the $300.00 penalty and start again, with the airline of your choice
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Old May 17, 12, 9:40 am
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by ABG View Post
Release a booking to AC? The booking is under airport control already....Anyays, TAs don't release bookings to airlines. Total poppycock.

Yicks. And about TA 'releasing' booking is new news to me. Maybe I haven't fly enough.. can someone comment? nice to know what the heck is that mean in the future....

Originally Posted by The Blue-Eyed Sheikh View Post
Yeah - I did say due to circumstances (somewhat) beyond my control in the OP; long story shortened to:
  • yearly performance review being delayed past original meeting time.
  • yearly performance review taking longer than necessary (went well, but a lot of time agreeing with my boss)
  • resultant delay in leaving putting me into rush hour traffic.
Maybe I am a bit blunt. It is within your control.

I will tell my boss I am going to miss my flight so please cut the crap short.
And to have a meal at restaurant with a tight timeline (when you know the meeting was past orig meeting time), esp close to rush hour? I wouldn't risk it. Just grab something after you have arrived (or close by) the airport...

But I do get a feel for you with the phone calls you get involved in.... with all the finger pointing.. and I can't understand why AC need you to call your TA etc...

Just remember "Bad planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part" rule...
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Old May 17, 12, 10:18 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Away from YYZ View Post
Maybe I am a bit blunt. It is within your control.

I will tell my boss I am going to miss my flight so please cut the crap short.
Fair enough - but I wasn't asking for sympathy on this part.

Originally Posted by Away from YYZ View Post
And to have a meal at restaurant with a tight timeline (when you know the meeting was past orig meeting time), esp close to rush hour? I wouldn't risk it. Just grab something after you have arrived (or close by) the airport...
What are you talking about? I said the resultant delay; i.e. the delay resulting from the late meeting.

Originally Posted by Away from YYZ View Post
But I do get a feel for you with the phone calls you get involved in.... with all the finger pointing.. and I can't understand why AC need you to call your TA etc...
And this is what is driving my boycott. I do not appreciate being jerked around and lied to. The late arrival / non-refundable ticket situation is, although irritating, perfectly within AC's rights. The dangling solutions and then yanking them away is what has alienated me.

TB-ES
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Old May 17, 12, 10:58 am
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by The Blue-Eyed Sheikh View Post

And this is what is driving my boycott. I do not appreciate being jerked around and lied to. The late arrival / non-refundable ticket situation is, although irritating, perfectly within AC's rights. The dangling solutions and then yanking them away is what has alienated me.

TB-ES
I agree with you in many respects of your saga, Air Canada is consistently inconsistent. Its a total crapshoot when at the airport and while they have many fantastic agents, there are also quite a few duds.

That being said, unless you were getting ongoing error messages with online check-in due to the FRA-OTP segment (something that is becoming increasingly annoying with AC's online check-in "enhancements") you should have had a boarding pass on your mobile or in your hands before you left the office and got stuck in YYC's notorious Deerfoot crawl in the late afternoon.

As others have said in this thread. Never, ever, leave the counter without something in your hands. This crap about your TA 'releasing' the booking is a smokescreen and I would have stood my ground at the counter.

Lesson learned I guess.

So what's Plan B? Now my interest is peaked.
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Old May 17, 12, 11:12 am
  #9  
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Originally Posted by PointWeasel View Post
I agree with you in many respects of your saga, Air Canada is consistently inconsistent. Its a total crapshoot when at the airport and while they have many fantastic agents, there are also quite a few duds.

That being said, unless you were getting ongoing error messages with online check-in due to the FRA-OTP segment (something that is becoming increasingly annoying with AC's online check-in "enhancements") you should have had a boarding pass on your mobile or in your hands before you left the office and got stuck in YYC's notorious Deerfoot crawl in the late afternoon.

As others have said in this thread. Never, ever, leave the counter without something in your hands. This crap about your TA 'releasing' the booking is a smokescreen and I would have stood my ground at the counter.

Lesson learned I guess.

So what's Plan B? Now my interest is peaked.
There is no Plan B; AC was - as I have made clear - perfectly within their rights to do what they did. Plus, the trip was a quasi-MR; the time I'd booked off of work doesn't allow me to extend a later stay.

If the agent at the AC ticketing counter had put me on the YYC-LHR-FRA-OTP routing she had found, or the YYC-YYZ-BOS-FRA-OTP routing she found after that, I would have been here praising AC to the skies about how they'd managed to accomodate me after my screw-up; if they'd simply said "You've missed the flight, and we're sorry, but there isn't anything the fare rules allow us to do", I would have been here posting "Why you need to get to the airport before the gate closes - an object example"

It's being taunted with possible solutions that is [redacted] me off.

Actually, there is a plan B; I'm going to speak to my boss and see if he will permit me to book future YYC-TXL flights in J on BA / AB. We're a small enough company that they might be willing to accomodate me.

TB-ES
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Old May 17, 12, 11:33 am
  #10  
 
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Always OLCI......... opens 24-1 hour prior to departure.
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Old May 17, 12, 11:40 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by The Blue-Eyed Sheikh View Post
I'll still fly them - the company I work for has an arrangement for discounts off fares with AC / LH, and I'm not senior enough (yet) to effect a change in that regard.
Originally Posted by The Blue-Eyed Sheikh View Post
Actually, there is a plan B; I'm going to speak to my boss and see if he will permit me to book future YYC-TXL flights in J on BA / AB. We're a small enough company that they might be willing to accomodate me.
Before anyone tries to call me out for an inconsistency between these two statements: I'm saying I'm not going to be able to change the default air service provider for my company (we have at least 4 and maybe up to 10 SE on the payroll, including the head of operations and the head of international projects), but they may be willing to accomodate me personally.

TB-ES
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Old May 17, 12, 12:30 pm
  #12  
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  1. As ght said always do OLCI - reduces these kinds of manageable risks.
  2. You could have done this on your smartphone on the way to the airport.
  3. In the absence of above, once you are SE, you can call the Concierge who can print out a boarding pass (and baggage tags) for you.
  4. I usually find that AC staff will go the extra mile to bend the rules to help a traveller in your situation - which they tried to do. Every once in a while, you get an agent who is a total stickler for the rules. Easiest thing to do is hang up and phone back and explain the situation to another (hopefully more sympathetic) agent.
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Old May 17, 12, 12:34 pm
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my understanding is that the computer does not permit a user (regardless of a pax using kiosks/OLCI or staff to check in) within the last 1 hour.

but taking one step back......... why is the airline being blamed for being inflexible etc etc, while the ticket holder cannot follow the rules outlined in the ticket to begin with?

this discussion has happened time to time, regardless of circumstances or carrier, if the airline makes an exception for you......... how many others do they have to make exceptions to?

unfortunately, i dont have much sympathy in such circumstances.....
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Old May 17, 12, 12:45 pm
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Originally Posted by The Lev View Post
  1. As ght said always do OLCI - reduces these kinds of manageable risks.
  2. You could have done this on your smartphone on the way to the airport.
  3. In the absence of above, once you are SE, you can call the Concierge who can print out a boarding pass (and baggage tags) for you.
  4. I usually find that AC staff will go the extra mile to bend the rules to help a traveller in your situation - which they tried to do. Every once in a while, you get an agent who is a total stickler for the rules. Easiest thing to do is hang up and phone back and explain the situation to another (hopefully more sympathetic) agent.
1) Yes, not doing OLCI - naughty Sheikh, naughty boy.
2) Still, doing it while driving to the airport (I was using Park & Jet because of the Aeroplan star challenge) is a nice trick if you can manage it and not get in an accident or get a ticket for distracted driving.
3) not SE, and, after this, not particularly inclined to get it.
4) I'm calling shennanigans on this one - the ticket agent had identified a solution twice, but wasn't willing to commit to it either time. Fair enough - she was under no obligation to do so (I keep repeating this, because I did not try to pull DYKWIA at any point during this process). But taunting me with solutions - pretending that they might break the rule just this one time - and then not givng them to me doesn't inspire me to fly on AC in the future. Just say "No." rather than waste my time and yours.

TB-ES

Last edited by The Blue-Eyed Sheikh; May 17, 12 at 12:45 pm Reason: grammar fix
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Old May 17, 12, 12:50 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by global_happy_traveller View Post
my understanding is that the computer does not permit a user (regardless of a pax using kiosks/OLCI or staff to check in) within the last 1 hour.

but taking one step back......... why is the airline being blamed for being inflexible etc etc, while the ticket holder cannot follow the rules outlined in the ticket to begin with?

this discussion has happened time to time, regardless of circumstances or carrier, if the airline makes an exception for you......... how many others do they have to make exceptions to?

unfortunately, i dont have much sympathy in such circumstances.....
And I'm fine with this - but I'm more irritated with AC pretending to try and accomodate me when they had no intention of doing so.

TB-ES
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