Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Two people went to the airport... but only one makes it to their destination...

I decided to go with an ominous title today, rather than the profanity-ridden one floating through my head.

Similarly, I had much more profound plans for my next post than a rant, but circumstances have changed a little.

I am supposed to be sipping apple cider by my parents' fire place at the moment, but instead I am aggravatingly back in my apartment with a headache, close to $60 broker in useless taxi costs.

God Bless Air Canada.

The story thus far...

Today I was set to return to HomeTown for the holidays. The Duke and I managed to get flights to our respective destinations leaving at around the same time. He was smart enough to fly WestJet (Air Canada's competitors), whereas my destination is so small that there is no choice of airlines.

He was greeted by no line up and pleasant customer service, while I was greeted by broken check-in machines, and huge line-ups to check-in, and again to drop of my baggage.

We have lunch, then say our holidays goodbyes (*sniff*), and head off to our respective terminals.

The air is abuzz as I sit down. I overhear phone calls about delayed earlier flights, rumours that we will be flown to a town midway between BigCity and HomeTown and bused from there, etc, etc-- but no word from the airlines.

After waiting for some time, a blinking sign finally informs us the flight has been delayed.

We wait.

An airline worker speaks onto the intercom. She says that unless she calls out your name, you are not on the flight, and even if you get on, she can't guarantee it will make it to its destination.

Names are spouted off through the static. Mine is not one of them. I overhear her telling another passenger that the earlier flight never left due to weather condition, so we have to compensate by carrying the passengers scheduled for that flight. I overhear someone else who wasn't able to get their flight yesterday. People are on the phone, telling their loved ones that if this flight doesn't make it, they are giving up on any more travel attempts.

At the last moment, after most everyone has boarded, they call my name. I clutch my boarding pass with glee, and make my way to my seat.

The flight attendant gives the safety spiel with full accompanying gestures. The pilot tells us the length of the flight. We start speeding down the runway. We stop. We start. We stop. We wait. This goes on for half an hour until that familiar intercom voice, punctuated with apologies, comes back on, and tells us that the flight has been cancelled due to weather conditions at our destination.

A woman with a cowboy hat starts laughing hysterically and shouts to her friend "Your turn to pay for the hotel tonight!"

As there is no flight crew to bring the plane back, we are stuck on the runway. However, we are allowed to use our cellphones. One man speaks to a friend at our destination, who says the sky has cleared and it is remarkably sunny. No matter, apparently.

We get off the plane, only to be greeted by a snappy worker who just hands us pieces of paper with a phone number on it and bids us adieu. I ask her if I could get compensated for my cab fare, as it will easily cost me nearly $100 with the back and forth trips to the airport, and she looks aghast that I would suggest such a thing.

So, yeah, back on the plane tomorrow, with bells on and fingers crossed. My apartment is unfortunately devoid of any remotely perishable sustinence, as I was expecting to be gone for 2 weeks. I'm going to drown my sorrows in a girlie movie with a friend, and sticking needles in my Air Canada voodoo doll.

(To be fair, I understand weather delays can't be helped-- but what can be helped is keeping the passengers uninformed for hours, and being completely unhelpful to those stranded and inconvenienced. I'm just grumpy because it doesn't feel like a holiday right now-- tonight was supposed to be my family birthday dinner, and instead it may be an ichi-ban night).

30 comments:

eric1313 said...

An Air Canada voodoo doll? Sweet!

Careful with the needles, though. A little bit of over-zealous puncturing and your typing fingers might be damaged!

Conditions here are similar. My out of state family were all delayed a day or more because of the "blizzard" (about nine inches of snow. pish pish).

Hope you make it to your family soon, since I know how precious spare time is for you.

God speed you, Princess Pointful.
Whenever the flight gods clear you for take off, that is.

Jeff said...

I'm sorry Princess. Whatever happened to customer service?

Here's hoping tomorrow goes better!

distractedspunk said...

Damn blogger. Deleted my comment.

I'm sorry that Air Canada sucks and deserves to die. Let's send that with United, shall we? Or perhaps, I should hold my tongue until after I return from the holidays. Lovely traveling luck. I'll keep my fingers crossed that both of us take off this week.

And if you need to vent? I'm a pro at travel mishaps. Just come find me.

Airam said...

Aww I'm so sorry to hear about this sweetie!! I hope that you get to be sipping cider with your parents real soon!!!

((hugs))

nicoleantoinette said...

Ugh, I'm sorry hun! Air travel is the best when it runs smoothly and the absolute WORST when it doesn't. I've definitely been there.

Yoda said...

I'm feeling your pain. I absolutely detest flying!! I am keeping my fingers crossed for my new years' eve plans to Columbus ...

Fortunately for me, the holiday trip this year just involves driving over the Hudson river into Jersey :-p

Clueless Cat said...

ugh, those are the only reasons I hate travelling! Delayed flights, especially during winter (or just generally if you ever fly American Airlines, apparently)...ick.

Better luck tmr!!

Tina Vaziri said...

How obnoxious! I hope you make in ok tomorrow. Good luck!

Psychgrad said...

I flew Air Canada today. While the flight was uneventful, I found most of my interactions with Air Canada staff at the airport were really negative. Please and thank you didn't register in any of their orders to people in line. I got shit from one guy when I asked to have R and I sit together. Clearly, these people hate their jobs. I probably would too...but that's why I'm not working for Air Canada.

As R and I were walking on the plane, I said to R, "haven't we learned our lesson - why are we flying with Air Canada". Unfortunately a lack of competition has lead to high ticket prices and poor customer service. WestJet was more than $100 more each way, so we were forced to suck it up.

I hope you're able to get to your parents' house with less drama tomorrow.

Ant said...

You poor thing - I *hate* how much stress things like that cause.

My experiences of Air Canada have been largely bad too - aside from the TSA who run the security at Seattle airport, I'd say AC come a close second in stony-faced customer (lack of) service that just completely gets your back up and helps no-one...

Good luck tomorrow.

Oh, and you totally can claim those taxi fares back. Keep the receipts and give the customer service desk retrospective shit when you finally get home...

lspoon said...

Dude that sucks. I'm so sorry. Although I might have used that $60 to camp out at the airports bar.

Ashley said...

ewwwww. i do not like this air canada of which you speak. i'd be so mad. It sounds like the equivalent of Spirit Airs, which is this tiny little midwestern airline, that SUCKS. we weren't told that our flight was delayed, oh no, we were just made to wait. and wait. and wait. AND WAIT. ugh. i will never take that airline again. And will threaten my mothers life if she ever books me on that again.

ok now i'm all nervous for flying today! AH! Good luck on your flight today, may we both make it to where we are going ON TIME (or at least today) :-)

Beth said...

What a terrible way to spend the day - and what was to be your family birthday dinner.
Hope you were able to get a flight home today.
Enjoy and relax when you get there...

Miriam D said...

Oh that sounds AWFUL. I'm so sorry you didn't get to go home that day.

I've had similar experiences. Once I got on a plane that was supposed to take off, only to be called back while on the runway (there was a blizzard). We got stuck on the runway for four hours!

And I do not think it was ridiculous to ask for compensation for your taxi fare. That's a lot of money!

Valerie said...

Boo, Air Canada! :/ That sucks, I'm really sorry. They should give you a discount!!!

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

Air Canada Voodoo Dolls....if you could sell them, you'd make MILLIONS!!

Ashley: Spirit Airs is HORRID. I had a last minute flight and got stuck with them...Never Again. I think they are the ones that charge to check luggage, amongst many other things they charge for.

Wendy said...

That's why I hate aireports! the people, the crazyness, ugh.

I hope you finally are able to get home tomorrow with no problems or delay. :)

Michelle said...

that is ridiculous! i hope you are able to get home the second time around. fingers crossed darlin.

La said...

Sorry that Air Canada sucks so bad - I hope you have a wonderful trip when you get there!

:)

Damsel in Digress said...

WOOF. this blows! i'm so sorry. and you're absolutely right - while flight delays can't be helped, the manner in which passengers are treated or informed can be.

you may have joked about the voodoo doll. but can you make one, please? and take pictures and post them? i'm already laughing.

(ps for some reason, this made me burst outloud in laughter: A woman with a cowboy hat starts laughing hysterically and shouts to her friend "Your turn to pay for the hotel tonight!")

brandy said...

There are few companies I hate more than Air Canada (Telus is one of them, but I honestly can't comment further on them without having a seizure due to my pent up rage). However, last year the same thing happened to me (with Air Canada) AND they paid for my cab AND gave me a meal allowance (we caught the new flight in the morning). It sucks you didn't get similar treatment! With that said, I will always do Westjet over Air Canada. The airline attendants always tell better jokes.

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

I once got stranded in Ireland because of the Aer Lingus strike. (BOO A.L.!) RyanAir had the last flight out before the airport shut down, and they jacked their prices from 68EU (or so) to 200EU+ for a one way ticket to Sotherby, UK....the only flight out of Ireland for nearly a week that could get me remotely home. 400EU+, a bus, a subway, and another plane....I got home to the US.

thestoryofagirl said...

Don't bother with specifying which airline you want the voodoo doll for, make it for all airlines. We don't discriminate, we hate them all equally!

Abbey said...

You're more than welcome to visit here! Sunny as always. In fact, expected weather is to get warmer between now and the arrival of Santa.

distractedspunk said...

*keeping my fingers crossed you made it home!*

Sheila said...

I'm so sorry you got the short end of the stick! I'll be crossing my fingers too, that you next flight goes off without a hitch!

libby said...

psh. weather. its all a cover.

i call air canada air crappada. for serious.

Arielle said...

Oh my goshhhh how are you that calm? Airport nonsense is one of the things I hate most in life. Way to go for not tearing your hair out over it!

Jamie Lovely said...

Aw what a bummer. Air Canada is lame!

Lisa said...

I LOOOVE Westjet. I hate when I have to take anything else. I hated flying when I lived in NY. I just want my Westjet!
Bad flights are the worst!