Monday, December 20, 2004

The Air Canada horror show

I love flying. Well, no, that's not exactly true. I love the idea of flying, but I hate the harsh reality of it.

I swear, the next time I hear Celine Dion singing "you and I were meant to fly," I'm going to throw my slipper at the TV (I know, I know. Kind of lame but I don't want to hurt the TV while protesting one commercial).

Has that woman been anywhere near an actual Air Canada flight lately? I'm guessing "no" because if she has, I strongly suspect the lyrics to her little song would go something like, "You and I were meant to fly in private Lear jets because flying economy class on Air Canada really sucks."

Had my own private Air Canada horror show today. Flew from Vancouver to Toronto. Didn't want to fly Air Canada but dammit they had the cheapest fare by about $200.

So I arrived at the Vancouver airport a good hour and a half before my flight. Thought it was a little inefficient that they only had two people working at the check-in desk seeing as how it's four days away from Christmas and all. Hmm...must have blown the budget on getting Celine Dion to sing her crappy song and forgot to save a little bling for some decent customer service.

Despite the fact that I was super early, the ticket agent informed me that there were no window or aisle seats left, only middle seats. Oh god. Not the dreaded middle seat. I was going to be stuck in a middle seat, probably between some guy wearing too much cologne and a teenage girl blabbing on her cell phone about last night's episode of Laguna Beach.

Actually, I ended up in the middle seat between a quiet, book-reading married guy on my right and a chatty, although very hungover and somewhat smelly, frat boy on my left. So not as bad as I imagined.

What was worse than I imagined was the baby two rows over. The kid cried on and off for four hours straight. Even though I was impressed by his lung capacity, I can't even describe how awful this was. He sounded like a squealing pig. But worse, like a squealing pig who escaped from a barn only to be caught in a leg trap in the woods. It was so bad, I had to listen to the enRoute "radio station" just to block out the noise.

I could go on. But I think I'm getting post-traumatic stress disorder by reliving my experience. Anyway, I'm here. In Toronto, where it's minus 20 with the wind chill. My sister Jane arrives in a couple of hours from Boston so we're going to head back out to the airport to pick her up. She's flying American Airlines, so hopefully she'll have had a better flight than me.


Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds like a real "horror show." At least you didn't have to take a 50-hour+ bus ride from Vancouver with people who take their shoes off and fart a lot (just reviving a past experience).
Why are you dissing Laguna Beach? That show is totally rad. If I was flying with you, we would definately gossip about it.
Anywhoo, I gotta jet. Jane's coming home soon!
By the way, that description of the crying baby provides for some pretty gruesome imagery. Yikes!

Sarah said...

I find it a little disturbing that my sister Hilary posted the above comment instead of talking to me, and now I'm replying to her comment while she's in the kitchen. Must teach that girl how to communicate face-to-face and do same in return.

-- Sarah

Anonymous said...

Right now I am pondering why my sister Sarah is now in the kitchen, instead of confronting me about my "disturbing" comment. Hmmm, I'm a little offended...haha

Anonymous said...

sarah arrived like 3 hours ago and the dance parties to britney spears have already begun....
bring on the tylenol
at least anne brought some bc bud home

Sarah said...

Okay. This is getting out of control. I'm just trying to make some apple cider here and the Marchildon sisters are out of control on the computer.

Please keep the comments relevant to the original post, thank you. If anyone has similar Air Canada/Celine Dion horror stories, please feel free to share.

-- Sarah

Anonymous said...

Ahh Sarah, you have me worried. Soon I'm off on an Air Canada flight thinking I'd scored avoiding a local "charter" company. But... no matter what happens I'll survive though as the final desitation - a little Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with its blue water and white sandy beaches - will do me wonders. Now go talk to your sisters face to face. And try not to FREEZE!!! Aloha from K of PSTC

Merry Christmas !!!

The Black Rose said...

Can I partake in these dance parties to Britney Spears? I promised to teach Sarah some of my dance moves while she was in the T-dot...

Anonymous said...

ok, so you want to know if i had a better flight than you by taking american airlines? well, do you consider sitting next to a yappy dog for an hour and a half fun? how about waiting in a freezing cold terminal in the middle of the tarmac? or how about not having a single magazine store or starbuks open in the terminal? or how about being delayed for an hour and a half? yes, i think it was definitely better than your flight!

but i have one question, who lets dogs on planes so they can sit in someone's lap? oh, crazy americans!!!!!!

gingerbread latte anyone? i must try to logon to MSN now so i can chat with hil who is sitting at the computer beside me.

Sarah said...

Yikes. I didn't realize you could have dogs in the cabin. That does sound bad. But I'd rather listen to a barking dog than a crying pig baby.

Karen...have a great time in Hawaii! Rommel...I still want you to teach me the "running man."

Anyway, my sisters are now sitting side by side IMing each other. This is ridiculous.

-- Sarah

Anonymous said...


I don't think you're the only one with AC complaints. I've been poisoned and have had my luggage mis-directed. Here a sample of some letters I have written to previous AC Presidents, to no avail.

October 21, 1998

Attn: Lamar Durrett, President & CEO
P.O. Box 14000
Postal Station St. Laurent
Montreal, Quebec
H4Y 1H4

Dear Mr. Durrett:

RE: Flight AC 527, October 11, 1998

I am writing to lodge an official complaint. On a recent flight on Air Canada, I came down with food poisoning from eating an in-flight snack consisting of red meat on a kaiser/sandwich bun. I believe the meat was spoiled and/or was not refrigerated properly. As this was the last meal before my illness, I can ascertain that this meal was the cause of my sickness for the following day.

I took advantage of Air Canada’s special deals after their strike in September and I was rewarded with severe discomfort. I bring this complaint to your attention in the hope that food preparation and selection on your airline improves.

Thank you for your attention on this matter.

Anonymous said...

I have a whole file folder of these letters, usually for AC.

October 18, 2001

Attention: Mr. Robert Milton, President and CEO
Air Canada
Centre Air Canada,
7373 Cote-Vertu Ouest,
Saint-Laurent, QC
H4Y 1H4

Dear Mr. Milton:
Re: Misleading Advertising

I am writing about today’s Air Canada 'Total Trip' fare sale ad in the Globe & Mail. I find it reprehensible that Air Canada would partake, in my opinion, misleading advertising. The 40% reduction in fares is based on full pricing and at best is comparable to other carriers such as Japan Airlines. I have quoted an example from my travel agent: YVR to HK economy is $1,154.10 from AC but JAL offers the same route for $1,050 with better service and food. The ads quote one-way fares but it does it in a deceptive manner utilizing small print and travel speak such as “based on return-trip travel”. Who flies one-way except for terrorists on a suicide mission?

This type of ‘one-way’ advertising I would find common in other discount carriers but this is a first I’ve seen from Canada’s largest carrier. As a frequent flyer, I would not shed any tears or provide support in AC’s bid for federal support and loan guarantees. I will make a point of mentioning this to my Member of Parliament on my next visit. I am disappointed in your marketing practice, as should Mr. Bredt, VP of New Businesses. Air Canada should be ashamed!