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Air Canada Conundrum

Discussion in 'Airlines' started by Joshdent, Mar 18, 2017 at 8:34 PM.

  1. Joshdent

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    Hello everyone!

    I purchased round trip plane tickets for 2 adults, 2 children, and an additional lap infant from New York LaGuardia to Ottawa, ON, Canada for a long Memorial Day weekend trip. I purchased these tickets directly from Air Canada in December 2016 for our May 2017 trip. I live in Connecticut, and usually fly from Hartford, but LaGuardia offered non-stop flights to Ottawa, where Hartford does not, and the hassles of traveling from my house to LGA were worth it for the convenience of the non-stop flights.

    I was dismayed to read a few weeks ago a press release on a travel website that Air Canada is moving its Ottawa flights from LaGuardia to Newark effective this spring indefinitely, affecting my travel dates. I am also upset that I have yet to be contacted by Air Canada and that it is only because I am interested in travel and reading travel websites that I even became aware of this change. I logged into the Air Canada website and looked up my record locator and it appears that my reservations are now from Newark to Ottawa- the flight times are the same.

    Flying from Newark is not an acceptable option for me, and if I knew of this at the time of booking my tickets, I would not have purchased them. LaGuardia is enough of a significant drive for me, and Newark involves a further distance that also involves crossing through New York city on a weekday morning. I would like to know in general what my options are. As I see it- A) I can keep the flights and fly roundtrip EWR-YOW, B)I could cancel my flights and request a refund since the itinerary is significantly different and then either cancel the trip or drive (with a one year old its difficult to do the 8 hour drive). I would also think that if I wanted to, I could keep the LGA-YOW booking and just have them switch me to connecting flights via the Air Canada continued service to Toronto or Montreal. I would have to decide if the inconvenience of switching planes is greater than the inconvenience of the new drive to Newark.

    Do I have any right to request a switch to an itinerary change to flying from Hartford to Ottawa? Again, had I known that I could not fly non-stop from LGA at the time I would have not booked from Newark, and if I knew then that I had to fly with connections, I would have considered Air Canada from Hartford with a switch in Toronto or Montreal. If this service change occurred before I made a reservation, I may have booked BDL-YUL-YOW for example. To complicate matters, my ticket at the time of purchase was $240 RT and now the Hartford-Ottawa fare is $515 RT. I do not know if the routing is different if they can just "substitute" it, or if the threat of canceling the flights altogether and requesting a refund provides any incentive to change our routing. At this point, flying from Hartford to Ottawa would be the most preferred situation, but I am not able to pay $515 x 5 tickets.

    I'm trying to have all my ducks in a row, because the phone wait times are extremely long for Air Canada, and that's without all the recent inclement weather. I can't keep calling back and forth trying to figure out what to do. Any thoughts you have on the matter or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
     
    #1
  2. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    Do not cancel and assume you can fight for your money.

    Have you called Air Canada and told them this change is not acceptable and you want a full refund?

    Call them and see if they will switch you to Hartford. They should have contacted you via email to advise you of the change and you should not have to accept a change in airport. Otherwise you should be able to request a full refund.
     
    #2
  3. Joshdent

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    To make it clear, I would not cancel (or heaven forbid not show) and then afterwards attempt to claim my money. I would request a refund unless I can get a routing via Hartford, but I just wanted a realistic idea since the overall origin/destination is different if it is something that they would even consider, or am I just wasting my time. I have not called them yet because I want to have my request plan in place.
     
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  4. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    No you aren't wasting your time. They can't simply change your airport and not tell you or tell you that you have to accept it.

    Request they put you on the Hartford flights and that you shouldn't have to pay extra because THEY stopped flights out of LGA.

    If they refuse then tell them you want a full refund since you can't get to Newark if you cannot fly from Newark.

    You can get to Newark without going into the city if you get on the Jersey Tpke from Bronx. Or even drive in the the night before and stay at a hotel that offers parking that will shuttle you to the airport. That's what we do when we fly out of Newark.

    What about Boston? Do they fly out of Boston?
     
    #4
  5. jsn55

    Staff Member Advocate

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    It should be a piece of cake, Joshdent. It's not like they moved the airport across the street. Calculate the mileage on the route you would have to drive to get to Newark vs LaGuardia. Just thinking about that drive from CT makes my blood run cold! Have you considered flying on a Sunday so getting there wouldn't be so onerous?

    Figure out what flights you'd like ... they should just make the change without a fuss or a fee. If AC can't get you from here to there, apply for a refund and rebook. If you are unsuccessful with your initial request, please come back and we will guide you up the chain so you can get this handled properly and quickly.

    One word of warning ... LGA is undergoing a massive reconstruction and from what I hear everything is still really a mess, with cabs taking forever to get in for pickup and people leaving their rides and walking to the terminal hauling their luggage. Hopefully it's not as bad as it was when I was there last fall ... they had just started the construction. FlyerTalk usually has the latest news on this kind of subject. Good luck with AC and don't hesitate to come back to us if they're uncooperative.
     
    #5
    Michelle Friedman likes this.
  6. kenish

    Staff Member Advocate

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    And please wait until the weather situation subsides. Airline agents are busy helping stranded passengers. Your specific situation can wait a few days with no harm. Your wait will be shorter, the agent can spend more time helping you, and your chance of a "win" will be greater.
     
    #6
    Patina, krisseye and jsn55 like this.
  7. Michelle Friedman

    Michelle Friedman Editorial Director
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    Neil is right. You can also avoid NYC completely by going across the Tappan Zee Bridge directly into New Jersey if you choose to keep your Newark flight.
     
    #7
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  8. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    They are no longer flying from LGA, they moved his flight to EWR. That's his complaint. He doesn't want a flight out of EWR.
     
    #8
  9. sas80

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    should be easy enough to ask them to switch your flights to the ones you want. If they say no then ask for a refund. You contracted with them to fly you from a specific airport to another specific airport. They cant fulfill the contract. You deserve (at the very least) a refund.
     
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  10. kenish

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    Agree, but there's a possible hidden "gotcha". Airports in many metro areas are considered one in the same (the term is "co-terminals"). Depending on the contract of carriage, Air Canada may consider LGA and EWR to be the same airport.

    @Joshdent , also be sure there's acceptable flights and fares for your Plan B. No use getting a full refund from Air Canada if the alternatives are worse at meeting your needs.
     
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  11. AMA

    AMA

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    United will take you from Bradley with a stop in Newark to Ottawa for around $400 in May. Check out those routes and prices and be prepared to offer those as acceptable alternatives when you call Air Canada.
     
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  12. jsn55

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    I understand that, Neil. Didn't know they had nothing left at LGA.
     
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  13. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    I just can't see them refusing him - they can't just change it and especially since he never received a notice!
     
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  14. Joshdent

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    Happy Ending!
    I spoke with Celine at the Montreal call center and they were happy to switch my flights to BDL-YOW (via YYZ outbound, YUL returning- flights of my choosing) at no additional cost. I was really surprised because there is usually a considerable cost difference from BDL versus the NYC area airports but I am glad they made the switch for me! Celine was wonderful to deal with. She said I didn't receive notification because they wait 2 months before the date of departure in case there's a subsequent change (not sure I buy that....). Thanks for the input!
     
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  15. Patina

    Patina Moderator
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    @Joshdent suggestion: double check the email confirming the updated, acceptable changes. Glad it worked out so easily and quickly for you!
     
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  16. Joshdent

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    @Patina
    Thanks for your suggestion. I double checked the confirmation email and then I also logged into the Air Canada website, entered my booking confirmation number and the new itinerary and seat assignments are confirmed (and yes I will periodically keep checking!).
     
    #16

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