Take No Prisoners

New Years Resolution: Never Fly Air Canada Again.

I avoid Air Canada like a biblical plague, because every time I fly Air Canada, nearly everything goes wrong. It’s truly amazing AC hasn’t gone bankrupt. I recently tried to explain to this pathetic purveyor of human misery what they were doing wrong. Enjoy.

Dear Air Canada,

I fly Air Canada only when no other airline is available. I’ll pay more for tickets on Westjet, or just about any international carrier to avoid Air Canada. Unfortunately, I recently had the bad luck to get stuck with some flights operated by Air Canada when booking with Lufthansa. It’s as if Air Canada employs customer service reduction specialists who sit around dreaming up new ways to make my life miserable. Here are some examples from this most recent trip.

1. Seats

Why is it that your seats are concave when the human spine is convex? Ever hear of ergonomics? Why is there a ridge, that is supposed to be where your neck is? Have you not realized that people come in different heights? For anyone over 5’10” tall, said ridge pushes on your shoulders, making it impossible to sit up straight. Worse yet, there was so little leg room on my INTERCONTINENTAL flight that I couldn’t even relax in the barely reclined seat because my legs hit the seat in front. This is no big deal on a short flight, but when the flight lasts for 9 hours, or is overnight, it becomes a big deal in a hurry. I am not unusually tall. There is no excuse for this.

2. Touchscreens

Whose brilliant idea was putting touchscreens in the back of the chairs. It didn’t occur to anyone that people would keep the passengers ahead of them awake by tapping constantly on the back of their seats. People don’t realized they should touch the screen rather than bang on it. First, you should have used a trackball mouse rather than a touchscreen. Failing that, the interface should at least warn passengers to press rather than tap!

3. Seats that do not Recline

Being in front of the emergency exit row is no excuse for seats not reclining. You should just leave more room. Furthermore, why did I get the crappy seats? I checked in nearly 24 hours before that flight began and at least half a dozen people were flying standby. If seats go on a first-come first-serve basis, why did I get placed in the worst seats on the plane? And why don’t I get a discount? If airlines can charge more for seats with more legroom in the emergency exit row, they should charge less for the less desirable seats in front of said row.

4. Luggage

What is wrong with your baggage handlers? I had eight bottles of wine, wrapped in bubble-wrap, placed in a box, which was then wrapped in bubble-wrap and placed in another box, which was marked fragile. When it arrived at my destination, it looked like something salvaged from a bombing in Baghdad. Needless to say, my french wine had long since quenched the thirst of two boxes, the plane, the runway, and perhaps the baggage cart. After several trips with Air Canada, my regular luggage is now easily identifiable by the duct tape that barely holds it together.

5. Children

Would it kill you to put all the screaming children in the same part of the aircraft? I mean, if everyone knew that kids go in the back of the plane, and everyone wants the seats up front anyway, then you’d have a fair way of determining who gets to sleep: whoever checks in and grabs their seats first, gets to sleep. Late comers bring ear plugs.

6. Stop talking to me like I’m an idiot

Every time there’s an announcement asking me to do something, it’s always ‘for my continued safety.’ How dumb do you think your passengers are? Turning off my cell phone has nothing to do with my safety. The studies on cellular interference with aircraft are done, the results are in, and cell phones do not pose any risk. Next thing you’ll be asking for exact change, ‘for your continued safety.’

7. Contagious Disease

People who arrive at the airport sick should be kindly asked to don a complementary surgical mask so they keep their germs to themselves. Every time I get on a plane I’m surrounded by people with obvious flu symptoms. What right have they to spread their illness? Anyone entering an aircraft while manifesting symptoms of contagious disease, including coughing, sneezing, fever, etc. should be required to wear a mask. This is common in many workplaces in Asia, and it should be adopted in North America as soon as possible.

8. Response Time

Air Canada claims that it will take 3 or 4 weeks to respond to comments. THREE OR FOUR WEEKS??? That’s completely unacceptable. You should be responding in no more than two business days. People complain because they want things fixed. Good organizations respond promptly and act quickly to resolve problems. Did no one in the whole company ever pass a marketing course?