Cancelled Flight: Nightmare at YYZ

Old May 17, 12, 4:19 pm
  #1  
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Cancelled Flight: Nightmare at YYZ

On the 3rd of May I was flying on a business trip to PEN from YOW with connections in YYZ and and an overnight stay in HKG for a meeting with a client and some rest.

On the morning of the 3rd, the plane from YOW (AC441) never left the tarmac and 2 hours later all the passengers were de-planned due to a GPS computer malfunction that could not be fixed.. I pleaded with the ground-staff at YOW that my connection to HKG from YYZ was already gone, but they insisted on putting me on the next available flight to YYZ (AC445) and told me that have "tons" of option in YYZ. Basically, the tons of options turned out to be just one...next day flight to YVR and then a connection onwards to HKG!

The AC ground agent was extremely unhelpful and even rude... I asked her why they brought me to Toronto in the morning to spend a night, whereas they could have left me in Ottawa and I could have done some work and spent the night with the family.. also, the YVR routing, is more tiring, and I will miss my PEN connection from HKG, it was right there clearly on the print-out... She had no answer and told me to go upstairs and talk to ticketing if I didn't like the YVR route.

Ticketing was able to "fix" the routing to next day YYZ-HKG connection (the most logical route rather than the stupid YVR routing)... but the whole mess took almost 3 hours to sort out, the baggage retrieval alone took 1 hr as it was on route to YVR.

I wrote an e-mail to customer relation and got a canned reply from Michelle Sturge that summarizes to "too bad... crap happens... there is bad weather, sick pilots, etc,., etc... the best we can do is give you 25% off the next booking for all your troubles".

I missed a very important meeting in HKG due to this and had to incur the expense for the one night stay in a hotel in HKG..

Just want to know if I should be happy with this or should I push them to reimburse me for the 1-night penalty I had to pay to the hotel in HKG.

On a side note, the meal vouchers are a joke, you get $7 for breakfast, $10 for lunch and $15 for dinner... by the time I reached the hotel, lunch was already over so couldn't use that voucher.. the cheapest item on the dinner menu was like $28 and $7 wouldn't even buy a glass of OJ for breakfast...!
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Old May 17, 12, 4:32 pm
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Sorry to hear about your experience.

25% off your next booking seems not bad.

Had you requested a refund of your first night hoterl in HKG? If not, it is a bit tough to go back now and ask for it.
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Old May 17, 12, 4:35 pm
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Originally Posted by The Lev View Post
Sorry to hear about your experience.

25% off your next booking seems not bad.

Had you requested a refund of your first night hoterl in HKG? If not, it is a bit tough to go back now and ask for it.
I clearly asked in my e-mail to AC to compensate for the 1-night penalty I had to pay the hotel for not cancelling 24-hr in advance, but the reply from AC didn't mention anything about this?.
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Old May 17, 12, 5:07 pm
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Cancelled Flight: Nightmare at YYZ

Follow up with them on the hotel costs you incurred, they should fork out the money for that.
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Old May 17, 12, 5:11 pm
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Originally Posted by syntron View Post
I wrote an e-mail to customer relation and got a canned reply from Michelle Sturge that summarizes to "too bad... crap happens... there is bad weather, sick pilots, etc,., etc... the best we can do is give you 25% off the next booking for all your troubles".
Ms Sturge is very busy lately with the copy and paste function on her PC. I received the exact same email from her yesterday concerning a 9 hour delay I experienced last month.

The 25% off makes me somewhat less irritated by the what transpired that evening, however, she did not address the horrible agents I encountered on the phone trying to waitlist on the later flight in order to make my international connection. She referred to weather "back East" and the pilot issue as causes which may or not be true given the myriad of reasons I was given by the check-in staff and gate agents. A poor showing by AC for sure.
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Old May 17, 12, 5:32 pm
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lol.. this is what I got from her...

"We are sorry to learn of the disruption to your travel. There are a variety of factors that can affect our operation, most recently we encountered weather issues in Central and Eastern Canada and an unusually high number of pilots calling in sick just to name a few.

The safety of our customers and employees is always our top priority. Please be assured considerable efforts were made to take care of our customers during this time and many employees continued to do everything possible to get people on their way as quickly as possible. We do apologize that we let you down. As a measure of goodwill, we are pleased to offer you a one time saving of 25% off of the base fare on your next booking at aircanada.com."


It is quite irritating.. it took me quite a bit of time to put together that three page e-mail with all the facts... and all I get back is a lousy cut and paste..

Also, what's up with AC these days.. my flight back home from HKG-YYZ (AC16) was held up at the gate for more than 2-hours, because of non up-to-date maintenance records. This plane flew-in from Canada to HKG, didn't someone in Canada notice that the maintenance records were not up to date before the flight left Canada?, or have we outsourced our aircraft maintenance compliance to the Chinese also?!

It's not a Honda Civic that you lose your oil-change receipt, it's a friggin $290mil aircraft!


Originally Posted by PointWeasel View Post
Ms Sturge is very busy lately with the copy and paste function on her PC. I received the exact same email from her yesterday concerning a 9 hour delay I experienced last month.

The 25% off makes me somewhat less irritated by the what transpired that evening, however, she did not address the horrible agents I encountered on the phone trying to waitlist on the later flight in order to make my international connection. She referred to weather "back East" and the pilot issue as causes which may or not be true given the myriad of reasons I was given by the check-in staff and gate agents. A poor showing by AC for sure.
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Old May 17, 12, 5:36 pm
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Originally Posted by syntron View Post
I clearly asked in my e-mail to AC to compensate for the 1-night penalty I had to pay the hotel for not cancelling 24-hr in advance, but the reply from AC didn't mention anything about this?.
So then write back and ask for your file to be escalated.
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Old May 17, 12, 7:27 pm
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Hotels are like airlines, if you book the cheaper rates, there is no canceling. If this is an issue, you should be booking higher refundable rates.

Does it suck that your flight was missed and your trip messed up?

Yes

Does aircraft issues happen?

Yes

Did you have a back up routing either on AC or on another *A carrier, or any other carrier for that mather?

Any seasoned traveler would tell you that if you *HAVE* to be somewheres, be there in advanced, as delays can and do happen. If not, and things go sideways and you get a 25% discount voucher, then be happy and stop waisting your time with AC. (Typical voucher is only 15%).

Also as an FIY, if you are flying AC in executive class, you have acess to the concierge service that is usualy much more helpful (Especialy those in YOW).
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Old May 17, 12, 7:31 pm
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I think in general AC is far too cheap with compensation when it is warranted, so I'm not surprised by the disappointing response you've gotten.

For your own sake I hope you have a good credit card to help with with travel hiccups when they inevitably occur (to everyone but me, it seems!)

There was one minor inaccuracy in your story. You didn't actually have an important meeting in HKG. If you can miss a meeting due to a two hour delay of one of your flights, it wasn't important. For actually important meetings your plans should include more than one chance of getting there on time.
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Old May 17, 12, 8:49 pm
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As someone who works at an airline I can tell you the excuses you hear about delays are normally very generalized. A plane doesn't have a "GPS" like a car has, rather it uses a variety of ground based navigational aids as well as gyroscopic/inertial systems to calculate it's current position. The "maintenance paperwork" in HKG also sounds iffy to me.
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Old May 17, 12, 8:58 pm
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I understand all you're saying.... if AC doesn't compensate for the hotel, it is not a really big issue, neither was the missed meeting, I was able to reschedule it, the client was understanding... however, the run-around by AC staff was the most disconcerting. They could have easily processed me at YOW; sending me to YYZ and putting me up in hotel cost them money and was not a pleasant experience for me.

Originally Posted by hearna View Post
Hotels are like airlines, if you book the cheaper rates, there is no canceling. If this is an issue, you should be booking higher refundable rates.

Does it suck that your flight was missed and your trip messed up?

Yes

Does aircraft issues happen?

Yes

Did you have a back up routing either on AC or on another *A carrier, or any other carrier for that mather?

Any seasoned traveler would tell you that if you *HAVE* to be somewheres, be there in advanced, as delays can and do happen. If not, and things go sideways and you get a 25% discount voucher, then be happy and stop waisting your time with AC. (Typical voucher is only 15%).

Also as an FIY, if you are flying AC in executive class, you have acess to the concierge service that is usualy much more helpful (Especialy those in YOW).
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Old May 17, 12, 9:33 pm
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Originally Posted by The Lev View Post
25% off your next booking seems not bad.
On the right routes, 25% off the base fare is not bad at all. Like a Z fare to SYD... that's how you make it count! Please don't spoil that code on a small hop!
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Old May 17, 12, 9:43 pm
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Originally Posted by syntron View Post
I understand all you're saying.... if AC doesn't compensate for the hotel, it is not a really big issue, neither was the missed meeting, I was able to reschedule it, the client was understanding... however, the run-around by AC staff was the most disconcerting. They could have easily processed me at YOW; sending me to YYZ and putting me up in hotel cost them money and was not a pleasant experience for me.
Happens all the time, most read the script and shut their brains off too more logical solutions. If that is the main issue in this thread, then I am sorry to say; Welcome to AirCanada.

As I said, concierges for executive first or SE members typicaly have more leeway, understanding, and willingess to go around the the rules, and rarley read the script.
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Old May 17, 12, 10:13 pm
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Originally Posted by hearna View Post
Happens all the time, most read the script and shut their brains off too more logical solutions. If that is the main issue in this thread, then I am sorry to say; Welcome to AirCanada.

As I said, concierges for executive first or SE members typicaly have more leeway, understanding, and willingess to go around the the rules, and rarley read the script.
There was a time when I believed this. Perhaps it was even true.

But recent experience has suggested otherwise to me, and played a part in my decision to look for greener fields.

As for the concierges, their spirit is willing, but their flesh is weak. Which is to say that many of them truly want to help you. But it seems rules have been bolted into place to preclude them doing anything that a regular agent cannot.

A couple of years ago I was stranded in YYC during a snowstorm. I discovered that a flight the next morning was showing J2 so called and asked to be put on it. I was told there were only business class seats available so they could not put me on that flight.

My initial take -- they should have taken anyone, status or not, and put them on that flight. But instead of reducing the massive problem they were having, even a little bit, it was better to make things worse than give away a J seat.

My second take -- clearly they are going to have to op-up someone, why not a status member or two, then put two more people on the plane?

My third take -- why not ask if I had upgrade certificates that I was prepared to use? After all I was calling the concierge, clearly I had status. But that was never offered.

But here's the real point - I was on an absolutely, no-possible-way-to-pay-more, completely unrestricted, full fare business class ticket. Not Z. Not D. Not even C. But full up J.

'Course once I pointed that out, I was put on that flight. But that would have happened whether I had status or not, and could have been done by anyone, not just a concierge. In other words, the concierge was unable to do anything for me.

More recently, stuck in the BOS area during last summer's hurricane, my BOS-YYZ flight was cancelled. I did all the leg work and figured out I could easily fly PWM (Portland, ME) to YYZ instead. But no one at Aeroplan or Air Canada could do anything about it, including the concierges. They had a million reasons why they couldn't do anything, including there's no Aeroplan space available on the PWM-YYZ flight (never mind the IROPS and the flight is wide open), to they could not change my departure point from BOS to PWM because they were more than 200 miles apart. (Here's a trick question, how far apart are BOS and PWM.)

The concieges went to bat for me big time, and were clearly as frustrated as I was. But they were completely impotent.

In the end I rented a car and drove to YYZ, picking up my connection there. Apparently changing my departure point from BOS to YYZ was within the 200 mile limit.
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Old May 17, 12, 10:21 pm
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Sorry to hear of your bad experiences with the C's Ken... but I have had mostly positive encounters. Of course some do not want to step out of line, or perhalps have too much and are being watched. I guess the real stinger in your counts is the given IROP situation, and refusal to help, even though in one count, you would have to move your self to a different airport to get out... That one is just bad. Cancel the whole ticket and re-issue it if they have too, just do it!
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