On Monday March 13, I was scheduled to fly from Pearson Airport (YYZ) to Regan National Airport (DCA) in Washington to chair and participate in a series of meetings starting Tuesday, March 14 @ 1 pm. My confirmed reservation was MJBZUR and I had checked in online on March 12. When I got to the airport and checked the departure board, the flight was on time. At 3:35 pm on March 12th, while waiting at gate F66 for my 4:45 pm flight, I received an email message from Air Canada that my flight (AC 7618) had been cancelled; but I received no rebooking information. There was no announcement or any other notification or explanation for the cancellation. Unbeknownst to me, as I had received no advanced notice, despite being subscribed for flight notifications, Air Canada had suffered a major systems breakdown Monday morning and hundreds of flights had been cancelled. I lined up with at least 200 others to talk with an AC Service Agent. After almost 3 hours, most of it while standing (not a good idea with my back issues), I finally got to talk to an agent. She was sympathetic and said she was able to get me on a later flight (AC 7620) scheduled to leave at 8:55 pm that same day, which would allow me to get to my meetings. She handed me a boarding pass with my seat assignment (16D) and a $15 food voucher. I subsequently received another email message from AC advising me that I had been booked on another flight on Tuesday late afternoon, which would have been too late for me to attend my meetings in Washington. Since I thought I already had a confirmed seat, I thought it had to be a mistake. When flight 7260 was called, I stepped forward and presented my boarding pass. I was rudely told by the gate agent that I was not confirmed on the flight and she unceremoniously took my boarding pass and handed me a “standby” pass. Needless to say the flight was fully booked and there were only two seats available that were given to other passengers. I was livid at this inexplicable turn of events. I had to exit the airport through Arrivals and go through customs. I took a limousine home.
After trying unsuccessfully to connect with AC Customer Service on-line, I was finally able to reach an AC Customer Service agent by telephone later on Monday evening. She cancelled my trip and arranged a full refund for the airfare. .
My adventure was not over. Lo and behold, I received another notification on March 14, 2018 advising me that it was time to Check-in on AC7613 for my return flight to Toronto on the 15th, which I had already cancelled!!!!
I realize and accept the fact that delays happen and often they are beyond their control. What I do not accept is Air Canada’s callous attitude towards its customers and poor customer relations. Why aren’t they honest with their customers and simply acknowledge the problem. If we know what’s wrong, we can deal with it.