Air Canada - Cancelled Airline Partner's Flight (United Airlines)

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Jun 11, 2019
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#1
The summary of the situation that occurred on March 13-15 is set out below and a draft letter is attached. I would like feedback on the letter and my requested remedy. Thanks in advance for your help.
  • I booked two business class tickets through Air Canada from Nanaimo, BC to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I used Aeroplan miles to book these seats, paying credit card fees for several years in order to save sufficient miles for business class seats.
  • The United Airlines flight from Vancouver to Denver was cancelled due to weather, however, we could have been back on schedule to our destination that day if not for poor Air Canada customer service (sending us away for an hour and then when we returned, refusing to assist us, telling us we had to go to another line-up for United Airlines).
  • Air Canada cancelled our re-booked business class flights from Vancouver to Rio de Janeiro, citing a flaw in United Airlines method of attaching the ticket to the booking. United Airlines denies that there was an error, but regardless of the situation, Air Canada should not have cancelled our booking without notice either to United Airlines or to me. I had no knowledge of the cancellation until I went to choose our seats. According to one Air Canada agent I spoke to “the seat was needed for another customer.”
  • I spent all night on the phone on March 14-15th between Air Canada and United Airlines seeking assistance to rectify the problem, which I had no part in creating. Air Canada’s customer service was, for the most part, extremely poor. Rather than acknowledging responsibility for the ticket cancellation and trying to correct the situation, I was repeatedly told that it was United Airlines problem. This was despite issues with their reasoning - e.g. Air Canada told me that United Airlines assumed control over our tickets when re-booking our flights due to the weather delay, yet Air Canada somehow managed to assume control over our tickets when cancelling the flights.
At minimum, I am seeking a refund of the Aeroplan Miles relating to the difference between business class and economy class tickets for the flights between Vancouver and Rio de Janeiro.
 

Attachments

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
18,181
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www.promalvacations.com
#2
I read your letter and what a mess! I’m sorry this happened to you. The sum up of what happened really doesn’t reflect how badly these airlines bungled your booking.

Did you have Travel insurance? You could file a claim for the hotel in Vancouver and some policies might also cover any lost days.

We have company contacts for Air Canada here:

https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/air-canada/

And this is how to take it up to the Executives one at a time:

https://forum.elliott.org/threads/resolving-consumer-complaints-and-developing-a-paper-trail.8903/
 
Likes: jsn55
Jun 11, 2019
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#3
Thanks for your response, Neil. Yes, it was a dreadful start to our holiday. The letter is fairly long but I'm not sure what to cut out. Should I be writing to United as well? Would I begin by just inputting the letter into the Air Canada customer service complaints page? Yes, we had insurance for trip interruption so that covered our hotel and meals while we were in Vancouver.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
What a dreadful travel experience.

I would try and shorten the letter a bit.

There are sentences that should be taken out

“Before leaving the counter, I could hear that the flight the agent was trying to re-book was short-haul (to Los Vegas) and I wondered why there had not been triaging based on urgency.”

During cancellation most people have urgency. It is hard to claim that one person’s vacation is more urgent than another’s.

Shorten the letter — you deserve the difference in miles and then some more.
 
Nov 11, 2018
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#8
Sorry to hear of your problems with Air Canada. My experience with Air Canada for the one and only time I booked flights with them was just a bad. Our short flight from SEA to Vancouver was delayed twice and then cancelled. We finally reached Vancouver only to learn the Economy Comfort seats we paid for on our flight to Toronto were not to be. We managed to get row 29 by the lavatory and exit doors in seats only 16" wide rather than the usual 18" width. On our return trip from Toronto, again we lost our prepaid Economy Comfort aisle seats and were assigned seats in row 37. We did finally get Economy Comfort seats but not the aisle seats originally booked but a center and window seat.
So much for flying Air Canada. I refuse to give them another chance to screw up. Canadian friends recommend West Jet for superior service which is how we'll fly in Canada in the future. I hope you have your miles returned as they should be but don't hold your breath.
 
Jun 11, 2019
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#9
Thanks for your comments. I do usually travel WestJet but that airlines doesn't go to as many international locations as Air Canada. An example of the difference between the airlines is that on a trip with WestJet a few months ago, my flight between Edmonton and Vancouver was delayed a couple of hours due to weather. This was not a problem for me as I was going to have to wait for my next flight to Vancouver Island anyway. I arrived home on schedule. A couple of days later I received an email from WestJet saying they were going to deposit $100 WestJet dollars into my account due to the flight delay. That was totally unexpected since the delay was due to weather.
 
Jun 11, 2019
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#11
Yes, I used the on-line form for Air Canada and sent it in two days ago. So far, I've just received an automatic response confirming receipt. I'll post the result to this forum once received.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
18,181
16,298
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#12
Don’t use their online form- use the email address we show in our contacts and don’t add an attachment, copy and paste the letter.

You have more room to put in the details using email instead of their form and you’ll have the original email to forward as you go up the Executive Chain.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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8,136
113
San Francisco
#13
Sorry to hear of your problems with Air Canada. My experience with Air Canada for the one and only time I booked flights with them was just a bad. Our short flight from SEA to Vancouver was delayed twice and then cancelled. We finally reached Vancouver only to learn the Economy Comfort seats we paid for on our flight to Toronto were not to be. We managed to get row 29 by the lavatory and exit doors in seats only 16" wide rather than the usual 18" width. On our return trip from Toronto, again we lost our prepaid Economy Comfort aisle seats and were assigned seats in row 37. We did finally get Economy Comfort seats but not the aisle seats originally booked but a center and window seat.
So much for flying Air Canada. I refuse to give them another chance to screw up. Canadian friends recommend West Jet for superior service which is how we'll fly in Canada in the future. I hope you have your miles returned as they should be but don't hold your breath.
I had the same kind of totally negative experience with AC probably 20 years ago, Toronto-Heathrow. They literally demolished both our flights, the outbound was awful and the return worse. They projected a level of incompetence so prevailing that I've never booked them again.
 
Likes: ADM
Jun 11, 2019
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#14
Hi, Neil. I used the company contacts you sent me and both of the links under "Email Contacts" (see below) take me to the on-line form. The only email addresses listed are those at the Executive level.

Email Contacts

Contact us form
Online webmail page for ticketing, payment, and billing issues.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
18,181
16,298
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#15
Hi, Neil. I used the company contacts you sent me and both of the links under "Email Contacts" (see below) take me to the on-line form. The only email addresses listed are those at the Executive level.

Email Contacts

Contact us form
Online webmail page for ticketing, payment, and billing issues.
I see. Give it a week and if you don’t hear anything then write to the first executive.
 
Jun 11, 2019
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#16
Hello. I received a response from Air Canada offering me a promo code to use for 30% off of the cost of an AC flight in the next 12 months. At first I thought this was some kind of goodwill gesture pending their consideration of my request for reinstatement of some of my Aeroplan miles; however, I received no response to my question on that point. It is hard to believe that this is what they are offering given the situation. I have no current flight plans and if I were to fly to my most frequent travel destination over the next year, using the promo code would result in a savings of about $150 (30% of the flight value of $500). I am now prepared to move my concerns to the next level. Any comments before I do?
Regards, Terry

P.S. The content of the AC response is set out below:

Thank you for writing about your recent experience with us. We are really sorry for disappointing you. We know our customers expect a comfortable and enjoyable trip, while also being provided with exceptional customer service.

We understand why you wanted to contact us. Your comments have been shared with our Management Team for their internal review. We appreciate you taking the time to write as your feedback gives us the chance to improve.

As a goodwill gesture, we would like to offer you a one-time discount of 30% off the base fare on your next booking at aircanada.com. Below, we have provided your Promotion Code and instructions on how to receive your discount.

We hope to have the opportunity to welcome you on board in the future.

Sincerely,
Cathy Crosby
Customer Relations
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#17
Hello. I received a response from Air Canada offering me a promo code to use for 30% off of the cost of an AC flight in the next 12 months. At first I thought this was some kind of goodwill gesture pending their consideration of my request for reinstatement of some of my Aeroplan miles; however, I received no response to my question on that point. It is hard to believe that this is what they are offering given the situation. I have no current flight plans and if I were to fly to my most frequent travel destination over the next year, using the promo code would result in a savings of about $150 (30% of the flight value of $500). I am now prepared to move my concerns to the next level. Any comments before I do?
Regards, Terry

P.S. The content of the AC response is set out below:

Thank you for writing about your recent experience with us. We are really sorry for disappointing you. We know our customers expect a comfortable and enjoyable trip, while also being provided with exceptional customer service.

We understand why you wanted to contact us. Your comments have been shared with our Management Team for their internal review. We appreciate you taking the time to write as your feedback gives us the chance to improve.

As a goodwill gesture, we would like to offer you a one-time discount of 30% off the base fare on your next booking at aircanada.com. Below, we have provided your Promotion Code and instructions on how to receive your discount.

We hope to have the opportunity to welcome you on board in the future.

Sincerely,
Cathy Crosby
Customer Relations
That does not seem as if they actually read the complaint. There should be a reimbursement for the downgrade points.

Is this from the first level of contact? I would think that they should return the point difference and give a voucher.
 
Likes: jsn55

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,218
8,136
113
San Francisco
#19
Yes, this was from the first level of contact. I plan to go to the next level tomorrow or Tuesday.
Absolutely move forward! Thank them nicely for the discount, remind them that miles are involved here too. Whenever I run into a response to a CS issue like this, I want to ask "Could you please give this email to someone who can READ?" Tempting, but not very effective.
 
Jun 11, 2019
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#20
Hello. Thanks to those who read my complaint letter and who gave me feedback. I heard back from the executive level contact at Air Canada last week. She apologized for what happened, agreed to reinstate the difference between my business class points and the economy points for the flights I ended up taking (referring the matter to Aeroplan to calculate) and offered 30,000 additional Aeroplan points as a good will gesture. Aeroplan has now reinstated the points and I am told that the 30,000 credit is in process. So, success! Thanks again for the assistance provided.