Nearly 2,000 Air Canada flights were either delayed or grounded this past long weekend, stranding scores of travellers, many of whom voiced displeasure on social media.
“Love the ‘error’ where a flight I was going to book got cancelled (due to the ‘error’) and then the price somehow went up almost $100 when I tried to rebook it. I had to choose a different flight at a worse time. Cool ‘error’ you utter vultures,” an inconvenienced passenger tweeted at Air Canada.
Another Twitter user reported an Air Canada customer service representative kept hanging up on his wife after their flight had been cancelled, prompting the airline to do some online damage control.
One user even tweeted a picture of luggage that should have been on one of the affected planes, but was instead left outside in heavy rain.
Air Canada, which saw 1,965 flights delayed and cancelled between Saturday and Monday, fared far worse than counterparts like Westjet, Flair Airlines, and Air Transit, all of which reported vastly fewer travel disruptions.
Scott Burnham, a traveller from Oakville, was bound for Las Vegas to watch the Canadian men’s soccer team play at the CONCACAF Nations League Finals. However, despite booking the flight and being charged for it, Air Canada cancelled it and kept directing him to his bank, citing a credit card error, which there in fact wasn’t.
Burnham, out $5,000 in total, filed a complaint, which Air Canada will respond after 45 days. He told CTV he might pursue the matter in small claims court.
He isn’t the only one. The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) received 26,840 complaints last year alone and now has in excess of 47,000, creating an estimated 18-month backlog of cases. And as airlines continue giving passengers the short shrift, many are taking to small claims court instead.
The airline industry was besieged by cancellations and delays last summer as well, although that debacle appeared to have been the government’s fault.
In a Twitter thread last June, Duncan Dee, a former airline COO, placed blame squarely on the Liberal government’s shoulders, citing “poor planning.”
“Airlines are not configured to deal w/ 3-4 hr security & customers delays. That crew that was scheduled to operate your (flight)? They’re out of duty time because (the flight) they operated this morning was held off gate for 2 hrs,” Lee wrote.
“The Gov may want to minimize the fallout from its poor planning but airlines are not configured to handle 65+ days of delays. There are simply not enough crews, staff, aircraft or empty seats to fix the Gov’s mess.”
True North reached out to Air Canada for comment but comment could not be provided in time of publication.