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OH (Air) Canada! (Dumb Ass Stupid Management: Hall of Fame)

OH (Air) Canada! (Dumb Ass Stupid Management: Hall of Fame)

Every Canadian I speak to on the subject seems to loathe Air Canada. Here’s my most recent experience:

1. Going from Providence to Toronto, the plane is listed as increasingly late until it reaches three hours. No one from Air Canada (or their local representation, Star Alliance partner Continental) tells us anything. I figure out the arrival from Toronto, which is the incoming flight, will finally get to Providence at 1:40, yet Air Canada lists their departure from Providence at 1:30! I get all my information from Flight Tracker on my iPhone.

2. The Beach 1900D is finally ready, after 2:00, to depart. There are four of us on the 18-seat plane. The copilot gives us the normal briefing, and says, “The flight time is an hour and twenty minutes. The lav does not work. We’re hoping you can hold it for an hour and twenty minutes.” (I am NOT making this up.)

3. We arrive in Toronto, where the walk to immigration is at least two miles. There is no signage indicating that forms must be filled out or where they are. Air Canada has not provided them. I have to retrace my steps to find them. I ask the immigration agent, after the hike, if the intent is to only allow fit people into the country. She ignores me, asks me the usual dumb questions about whether I’m stealing jobs from indigenous peoples, and I proceed.

4. Air Canada originally had me on a 4 pm return from Toronto the next day, after my meeting. They told Amex that there was a “schedule change” and the plane would now leave, same day, AT 9 AM! I told Amex that we would call that a cancellation, not a schedule change. I had to take a flight into Boston instead of Providence.

5. Because of the changes, Amex mistakenly put me in coach on the way back to Boston. When I asked them to change it to business, Air Canada told them it would cost AN ADDITIONAL $1100 for the hour’s flight by jet to Boston. I refused to enable this kind of stupidity. At the airport, I asked the gate agent for an upgrade and she said, “Fine, but it will be $120.” That worked for me.

6. In the Priority Pass club I belong to through Amex in Toronto, I encountered six Air Canada pilots. “Is club membership a perk of flying for Air Canada?” I asked. “Are you kidding,” said a copilot, “we just spend so much time here (in the airport) without any amenities that we  join on our own.”

7. I can report that the US Global Entry System worked beautifully coming home, though the ticking timer in the upper right reminds me of a bad game show.

Canadians apparently have no choice but to fly this airline, or so I’m told. No wonder they all live in just a few populations centers.

© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

Comments: 6

  • Alan Weiss

    October 5, 2011

    I love their mission statement, as you articulate it.

    It reminds me of what I perceive as the mission statement of the Institute of Management Consultants: We want every member to be as successful as our least successful member!

  • Phil Symchych

    October 5, 2011

    Air Canada’s mission: “We’re not happy until you’re not happy!”

    That’s probably why Chad drove to Toronto for the Breakfast Breakfast seminar. And, he did beat me home. Mind you, I was flying Air Canada.


  • October 6, 2011

    Hello Alan,
    My sympathies. Would WestJet out of Boston work for you, in case nothing works with AC?


  • Alan Weiss

    October 6, 2011

    I’d certainly consider it, though Boston is an hour away for such a short flight. But Air Canada does offer business class. I’m not familiar with WestJet.

  • Chris_in_Calgary

    October 7, 2011

    Yes, Air Canada has a wonderful reputation in Canada as well 😉

    I have personally had no end of trouble with them. I can recount tales like the time they didn’t have enough staff at the arrival gate, so I missed my connection and had to stand in line for two hours to get a hotel assignment. ‘Nuff said.

    After WestJet came along in 2003 or so, I switched to them and have loved it ever since. WestJet has grown a lot at Air Canada’s expense. Though they aren’t quite as cheery and service-oriented as they’ve matured into a bigger corporation, they’re still a mile ahead of Air Canada.

    WestJet doesn’t have business class. But they did sign a partnership with Delta recently. You might give it a try should you want to travel further into Canada than Toronto.

  • Alan Weiss

    October 7, 2011

    I don’t fly coach. It’s an allergy.

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