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Old 04-16-2012, 09:26 PM   #1
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Air Canada Drama

Normally if I am flying I book either Air Canada or Westjet, although I prefer the people at Westjet. With all the hassle Air Canada has been having in the past year with strikes, work stopages, etc. I am nervous to even consider booking a flight with Air Canada. I have no idea whether I would make it or not.

My partner and I are going to WDW the end of September. I think we are going to book on Westjet, even if it costs us a bit more. Air Canada just makes me too nervous. Of course if Westjet has outrageous prices and Air Canada doesn't, I may have to consider it. I do have a Westjet MC and have enough for one leg of my trip in Westjet dollars so that makes a difference too.

Anyone else have misgivings about Air Canada these days?

Would love to hear your opinion.
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:46 PM   #2
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I just booked for July... one way home from WDW. It is our only option for non-stop air service on the day wen need and the non-stop was cheaper than the connection flights on all other airlines!
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Old 04-17-2012, 07:06 AM   #3
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For the last few months while helping clients book their flights, everyone by choice has steered as far away as possible from Air Canada as an option when I list their choices. Canadians have really lost confidence in Air Canada. Even if the Air Canada rates were less expensive then the competitors my clients still went with the other airline. No one wants to go through the stress and the aggravation of their flight being cancelled or being effected by wildcat strikes or lockouts. Also the availability and cost of trying to find a last minute/second flight
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:00 AM   #4
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We travelled AC over March break; tickets were booked long before the labour unrest. Our first thought was Great! The strike was due to start the day AFTER we travelled - extra week in Cabo anyone? Unfortunately, that strike was cancelled and turned into work action instead.

I guess we were lucky, as we only experienced minor disruptions. YOW-YYZ leg we waited forever for baggage. When it finally arrived, it was coming up the belt at about 1 bag/30 seconds. (Think about that - it's about an hour for 120 bags to come up!)

Our flight next morning to Cabo got off without any events.

Return flight from SJD-YYZ was okay, but we hit YYZ on the day of the first pilots' "sick out". Lots of cancellations. Our flight boarded as scheduled, but was packed because an earlier flight to YOW had been scrubbed. Despite starting boarding on time, we were about 45 minutes late pushing back (ground crew delays), then stood on the tarmac for another 15 min while the pilot reconfigured the guidance system.

Landed at YOW an hour late (near midnight). Stood off from the gate for 20 minutes; they couldn't find a ground crew to bring us in (there were no other planes visible on the tarmac; until Westjet arrived about 15 minutes later). Finally got to the gate, they wouldn't open the door. Couldn't find a ground crew to unlock the doors on the jetway. Another 10-15 minutes. DW was getting worried that my fusebox was ready to short circuit.

So, in all the evening flights were dismal with delays, but we got where we going. I am sure the folks on the Westjet flight that left Toronto an hour after us, and then glided up to the gate in Ottawa ahead of us were having a good laugh.

The most frustrating thing? On every flight the FA's would announce "Welcome to Air Canada, voted Best North American Airline for International Travel" by Business Traveler magazine. Really? Business people don't care about arriving on time?

Another frustration. Just looking at prices for our trip next March. AC is about 2X the price of WJ to MCO. Guess they don't care that all their customers are walking (jogging, running, sprinting) away...
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:33 AM   #5
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It's the cost of Air Canada that dissuades me from utilizing it more than anything. Case in point:

Parents are travelling to France. They were originally booked on Air Canada Toronto to Paris, business class one way, economy the other. Cost: well over 6000$

Told them to check other airlines, they're now booked on Air France, FIRST CLASS BOTH WAYS, Cost: at the lower end of 4000$.

AC is highway robbery IMHO.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:54 AM   #6
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I'm in the same sitch. I think I'll end up WJ for our cruise this fall. AC is less $$, but w/ a cruise I can't risk a delay.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:29 AM   #7
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We will avoid AC at all costs until the labour turmoil is resolved.

I'll even consider driving to Halifax for more flight options.

It's not worth the stress wondering if and when the next dispute will develop. We'll pay more $$ for peace of mind and fly WJ or another carrier if available.
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:19 PM   #8
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Even though we had a horrible time in Orlando with AC, I was going to fly WJ this time but am thinking of reconsidering. My issue is that Westjet (in my opinion) doesn't have the capacity that AC does *if* something goes wrong. I know that AC has more flights out per day and lots of Star Alliance partners to help me out if need be. That little piece of mind makes my decision a little harder on who to choose for our next trip.
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Old 04-17-2012, 03:51 PM   #9
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Our experience with Air Canada in Orlando was bad - the WJ and AC counters were side by side. Both had a big line up at about the 2-hour mark, and the same number of agents, but all of the AC agents were taking 'First Class' people over the regular line, even though the regular line was 10 times as long.

Eventually we peasants revolted and stood right behind the people being helped, so they couldn't ignore us.

I really prefer WestJet and their cheesy jokes any day. Best lines - "We're proud to have some of the best flight attendants in the world. Unfortunately none of them are on this flight" and "Let's get this Boeing going". That's how you start a Disney vacation! No one on AC can even bear to crack a smile.
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Old 04-17-2012, 04:48 PM   #10
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I am worried too! Have flights booked with AC this July to Newark. Going on a Disney cruise. For next March break I will be booking with WJ. One thing I noticed this week is AC has dropped prices to Florida for December and March. Maybe trying to do some damage control.
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Old 04-17-2012, 05:01 PM   #11
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After reading this thread I thought I would check some prices for March Break, leaving on Saturday the 9th, returning Saturday the 16th. From London to Orlando. All of the flights had a connection in Toronto and the cheapest cost for three of us was $3700!!!! I think we will continue to drive to Detroit or Buffalo.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:56 PM   #12
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Just got a contract that requires me to fly about 6X to Vancouver over the remainder of the year. I'm only 90 min from Buffalo and will fly from Buffalo to Seattle and drive across the border rather than give Air Canada any more of my money! They just don't get it!

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Old 04-18-2012, 10:31 AM   #13
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I won't fly AC anymore Westjet keeps having seat sales so for my next two trips I am flying with them Like them so much more.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:15 PM   #14
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I am going down for Marathon weekend in January and am already starting to dread the decision I will have to make...

Unpleasant option 1: Fly WJ from Charlottetown. Due to limited schedule, I would need to leave a day earlier than I wanted to and need to overnight in Toronto

Unpleasant option 2: Fly WJ from Moncton. Extra Confederation bridge charges, parking, need to get up extra early or overnight in Moncton for a 6:15am flight. Will not arrive back in Moncton until midnight...then need to drive back to PEI.

Unpleasant option 3: Fly AC out of Charlottetown. Very convenient schedule and I live just a few miles from Airport. But like everyone else, they lost my confidence. We went in November when the flight attendants were threatening to strike, and have lots of friends who were affected by the shenanigans this spring.

In the end, I think I will end up holding my nose and going with AC from Charlottetown, with the only reason being second week January is not prime travel time so I am guessing/hoping the AC and the unions will not chose that time to make the travelling public pawns in their disputes.

Last edited by LuzzBightyear; 04-18-2012 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 04-18-2012, 02:29 PM   #15
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I am stuck now....bought our tickets back in DEC, with a 15% off pin from AC, we are flying back to Edmonton from Orlando with AC.....Going with WJ....hopefully AC won't pull any stunts that will affect us negatively. My hubby is flying AC to LONDON, England in Sept as well....the only direct flight option from Edmonton, so he'll be at their mercy too Hoping for the best
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