We have flown all over the world. We've flown on third-world country airlines. After our recent, and certainly last, encounter with Air Canada both of us can say that it is the worst we've ever flown.
Sept 7, 2016: 1-1/2 hour takeoff delay from Nashville due to our plane's having no air conditioning, and with the air blowers at only 10% of capacity. Problem was not fixed and the cabin temp was nearly unbearable for the 2-hour packed flight to Toronto.
The delay cost us a missed connection to London Gatwick because the airline schedules only 1-1/2 hours to connect from the Nashville arrival to their once-a-day London Gatwick departure.
To make matters worse, in the process of de-planing from the Nashville flight there were no airline personnel directing US citizens to the shortcut past Canadian customs, which forced many US citizens on our flight, including us, to spend an hour waiting to go through customs, then another hour reclaiming our baggage, checking it back in, and going back through security, none of which US citizens at Toronto are required to do.
The airline had booked us on the next Gatwick flight, 24 hours later, but we were able to get a flight that night to London Heathrow, which was then delayed by 2 hours due to unexplained technical problems. We finally left at midnight.
Through this ordeal every single Air Canada representative was as rude and discourteous as I've ever experienced, with one woman outright lying to us. When I confronted her with her lie she became quite defensive and belligerent, which sparked several other passengers speaking out also to confront her. Before I could get her name, she had covered up her name badge and escaped. Even the Air Canada service desk guy who re-booked us was rude, snickering at our questions. The airline would do nothing for us except give us $10 food certificates which bought us 2 bottles of water.
We had not eaten anything by this time for 7 hours and did not get anything to eat until 2 hours into the London Heathrow flight. Because our rental car had been paid for at Gatwick with return of the car to be made there we were forced, upon arrival at Heathrow, to take a commuter bus, at our cost, from Heathrow to Gatwick, taking nearly 2 hours. By the time we finally got the car we were 7 hours behind schedule and had missed an important business appointment, which we were never able to re-book.
Sept 29, 2016: The return flight from Gatwick to Toronto was delayed by over 4 hours due to the failure of an Air Canada ticket agent at Gatwick to give a fellow passenger more than one claim tag for the two bags she had checked in. This failure caused an extra bag to show up in the system as well as mass confusion on the part of the airline. Airline personnel were in an out of the cabin for the 4 hours trying to determine the bag's owner.
As a last resort, the airline ordered all the passengers out of the plane and down to the tarmac to personally identify their own bags! Outrageous! We had to do their job for them. Naturally, the delay caused everyone on the plane to miss their connections in Toronto. The next available flight to Nashville was, surprise!, 24 hours later. The airline put us in a cheesy hotel 20 minutes from the airport and included 3 meal vouchers which could only be used at the hotel.
Trouble is, the hotel didn't even have a restaurant! In the meantime, it took 1-1/2 hours to get our bags out of the secure area for the overnight stay, and by the time we finally got to the hotel, 9PM, most of the nearby restaurants had closed. The next day we spoke to an airline service representative about reimbursement for our meals, which she said she could do nothing about. She gave us a phone number to call! Now that's real service.
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