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Monday 4 July 2022

Is Air Canada the worst airline in the world?

Canada is a beautiful country with so much on offer for tourists.

It certainly deserves a better national airline than Air Canada, a pathetic excuse for an airline with zero quality standards and pitiful customer care.

Ryanair has its its critics. United is not universally popular and Australia's airlines have come under recent fire.

It is not an easy environment for airlines right now. But as post-Covid demand for flights has soared, quality standards have plummeted.

And no airline exemplifies this more than Air Canada, where ludicrously lines, lost baggage and surly service are the norm - and sorry is not a word in the corporate vocabulary.

It is now 10 hours since the last of my four booked flights with Air Canada and I am still fuming. I have vowed to warn as many people as possibly to avoid these charlatans.

Of my four booked flights: Venice-Montreal-Toronto-Montreal-Venice, two were cancelled, all were hours late, my baggage was lost for six days and sent on a crazy tour of Canada, and the care factor was zero. 

My first leg was Venice-Montreal. The flight was several hours late "due to the delayed arrival of the aircraft”. My connection to Toronto was missed. My baggage went astray. 

I spent two hours roaming the thousands of bags dumped near the various carousels in the international terminal before lining up for 90 minutes to lodge a missing baggage report - along with hundreds of others. There was one person doing this job, occasionally two. 

Near the desk were dozens, perhaps hundreds, of lost luggage files left unattended. 

When I got to this buffoon of a clerk I gave him a printed address and phone number of my address in Canada. Which he managed to get wrong.

I had missed the last connection and the airport hotel was full. Zero assistance from Air Canada, who booked me on a flight to Toronto the next afternoon. 

Presumably wanting me to sleep on the floor at the airport. 

For their errors I had to pay for a taxi and a downtown hotel and I also booked a train to my destination in Kingston for the morning. Saving several potentially wasted hours. But hundreds of dollars down the drain. 

Air Canada, hilariously, or insultingly, sent me a refund for my unused flight sector of 8.84 EUR. Gibbering idiots. 

Just a matter of waiting for my baggage to arrive, then at my sister's house. Except it never did. It went to Windsor, Ontario (obviously because my name is Winsor), and was then en route to Kingston before my sister alerted Air Canada to the fact I was already back in a hotel in Toronto.

My bags, lost for six days and containing some key medication, finally turned up 12 hours before I was due to leave the country. This despite the efforts of the helpful Air Canada Twitter team. 

My trip back to Italy was via Toronto Island Airport and Montreal. Perfect as I was staying on the Toronto waterfront. But that flight was, all too predictably, cancelled and I was put on a new flight from Toronto Pearson (of course!) that would have ensured I missed the Montreal connection. 

I splashed out on a taxi and got to Toronto Pearson Airport several hours early. 

I was repeatedly told all earlier flights were full and "not to worry they'll put you on the next flight to Venice when you get to Toronto". That flight was two days later.  

One undignified meltdown later I was put on an earlier flight that had several empty seats. Hilarious. 

Made it to Montreal; where the Venice flight was delayed by a further two hours. First excuse: security issues. Second excuse: no cleaning team. Apologies: zero. 

We finally got to Venice just a couple of hours late - and my baggage made it too. 

All in all an absurdly stressful week and an airline without morals or a clear plan. 

Air Canada is clearly not worthy of membership of the Star Alliance (My Virgin Australia FF allowance made zero difference). Air Canada also has a four-star SkyTrax rating - surely a sick joke. 

I've flown with Ryanair and several other dodgy budget operators. None came close to match the insouciant incompetence of this mob.  

My advice: avoid Air Canada and the thousands of lost bags piled up at its terminals. Fly with someone else, or stay at home. These people do not deserve your money.        

# Writing this, I became so angry that I had a coughing fit. So beware. Flying with Air Canada could be dangerous to your health.   

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