Air Canada Rouge – A Very Bad ExperienceBack to Forum
Anonymous5 Jul 2014
I have never travelled with Air Canada or any of their subsidiaries prior to my journey with Air Canada Rouge. Therefore I was quite looking forward to travelling with a new carrier on a route that I have been travelling on regularly for the past 12 years. But this excitement soon dissipated as my journey very quickly turned into a nightmare that I have never experienced before. It all started before I even arrived at the airport. As per usual I checked to see if my flight was running on time and to my absolute horror I saw that my flight, which was from Manchester to Toronto, was scheduled for 23:30, over 12 hours late! My immediate thought was that this was a mistake but after a quick but helpful phone call to the airport information services that this was in fact accurate. Whilst I understand that delays are inevitable, and whilst this was excessive, there was nothing that I could do about it and it was something that I would have to live with, because as I’m sure many of you agree with, I’d rather fly on a safe aircraft 12 hours late than an unsafe one. However, what follows, is nothing short of disgraceful and unacceptable.
After my flight was supposed to land in Toronto I then had a connecting flight on to Washington Dulles with United. I had planned for there to be a 2 hour lay-over in Toronto airport. However, because of the delay I was going to miss this flight. After travelling to Manchester Airport to try and solve this issue, I discovered that in fact there were no Air Canada representatives in the airport! The only thing you could do was go to the ‘Star Alliance’ desk situated in Terminal 1 and see if they could be any help. But of course, Air Canada had frozen all of our flights, meaning that all they could tell us was that we had been rebooked on a flight at 16:55. Considering that we were now scheduled to land in Toronto at 02:00 I was not pleased. Even worse, they could not guarantee me food, water or any sort of accommodation, something which they are legally obliged to do! They told us just to sort it when we get to Toronto. After a quick unhelpful phone call to their call centre in India, we discovered that there was nothing that we could do.
At this point I was not very happy at the way I was being treated and there was no communication whatsoever. But, after a quick phone call to a family member in Washington, they contacted Air Canada in Canada and they put us on the 06:00 flight to Washington, which was at least something.
Finally, after having gone back home, I arrived back at the airport ready to check in. But, despite being told to come back at 19:30 and having the entire flight there ready to be checked in, obviously the staff didn’t get that message, as they didn’t arrive until 20:30! Then, when they did finally stroll into the check in area, they announced that the computer systems had broken and that they would now be doing everything by hand. Obviously this is unavoidable and just unlucky, but it really summed everything up for us. After a long 2 hour wait at check in, I finally made it through and got to the gate at around 23:00. But again, there was another delay. This time, it was the check in staff tidying up before they let us on the aircraft! Again there was no communication and I only found this out after another passenger told me. We didn’t get off the ground until 01:00!!
At last we were in the air though and I finally managed to get some rest. But, the nightmare was not over yet, it had one final twist to go. At Manchester we had been assured that my bags would be checked through to Washington. Considering now that we were landing at 04:20 (EST) and that our flight was at 06:00, this would’ve been fantastic. However, of course, Air Canada’s incompetence once again showing through in all it’s glory as we now had to recollect our bags, and check them back in! By this point not only was I exhausted, I had been treated like I was a bit of cargo, not a passenger or a even a human! However, thanks to the fantastic Toronto airport staff (not the Air Canada ones) and United staff, I made it to my connecting flight as the gate was closing.
This route is but a few days old and Air Canada Rouge itself is only a year old yet this was absolutely disgraceful and something that should NEVER happen. I will never part with my money to fly with them again. As somebody said to me, they were the silent airline.5 Jul 2014
I took my first MAN to YYZ today with Rouge and I am equally unimpressed. An old aircraft dolled up to look like a mere teenager. Seats in Premium not as shown on the advertising. Bulkhead seats meant that in upright seating, my toes actually touched the bulkhead! Recline was almost non existent.
No lounge access at MAN – despite being a Star Gold holder
…80 mins delay and very poor announcements prior to boarding.
Booked seat 1A only to find overhead bin space for 1A and B full of oxygen tanks…… My suitcase, a small, 4 wheel hardside, which I take on all North American flights with other carriers, wouldn’t fit in the overheads & had to be moved.
Advertising guff tells you about the on board entertainment suiting “all your go too gadgets”…..what they fail to tell you is that only Apple is supported….forget Android completely!!!
The hot lunch was cold.
No more to add.
PS – I should add that the cabin crew were friendly, helpful & professional.8 Jul 2014
All feedback I have heard and read about AC and “Rouge” is that both are pretty darn lousy. Very long gone are they days when they provided “flights so good you will not want to get off” – they know not to dare say that now.
The AC 77W economy with ultra-compact high density seating is basically contempt class for anyone on a Y fare class ticket, and their toilet-passenger ratio the worst anywhere in the sky, or perhaps even on planet Earth.
They really need some competition – I wonder if WestJet have lookd at serving international markets. They should do.8 Jul 2014
sparkflyer – “I wonder if WestJet have lookd at serving international markets. They should do”.
And indeed they already do!! Dublin in Europe plus US and Caribbean destinations.
Years since I have flown AC but do they still serve milk and brownies on daytime transatlantic services?8 Jul 2014
You’re right about Westjet Tom. Although it’s considered a LCC it does have a good reputation for service. Sparkflyer I’d love to see AC change their mind about their new 4th class Steerage cabin, unfortunately me and others becoming ex customers isn’t going to trouble the new economic thinking in Montreal.
And I’d love to see a return to the days when I could choose airlines that weren’t just good, they were fantastic, and I’m talking about Wardair and in my opinion the best service airline that existed in the industry… CPAir.
Sadly ,just as happens here , were government decisions are weighted to favour one carrier to the total detriment of the underdog competitors. The crown carrier finally became a monopoly. I’ve also heard that the primary reason that AC’s reputation for good service increased was down to the integration of the ex CP & WD personal and the influence they had on embarrassing the existing staff to up their customer service game.8 Jul 2014
DanLee3 – you sum it up well when you say Air Canada treats passengers in Y like cargo. The worst travel experience I ever had was with Air Canada. Delays are sometimes unavoidable, but when the airline staff treat you like dirt it feels horrible. It was the first time I had flown with AC, and I’ll never take that risk again!8 Jul 2014
I have yet to read a single positive review about Air Canada. In the US press there has already been a lot of criticism of the new Rouge product with many people boycotting it.8 Jul 2014
Why is the fact you had to collect your bags in Toronto incompetence on behalf of Air Canada?
On all flights to the US and Canada you MUST collect and clear your bags at the first point of entry, and if they have been tagged through drop them at the bag drop, or if not tagged re-check them in.
Flights from Canada to the US then operate as pseudo domestic flights.
I would have a guess that when you say you had to re-check them you really meant drop them off, so in fact the bags were tagged through to Washington. You just didn’t understand the rules of flights to the US via a secondary airport.8 Jul 2014
We had been assured by the staff at Manchester that it would be checked through, but at the last moment when we were in Toronto, we were told we had to collect them. This wouldn’t have been a massive issue but because we landed 2 hours later than originally anticipated, it meant that we had to run through the airport to get it all sorted and not miss my flight10 Jul 2014
I was just informed by a fellow traveller that Rouge is not part of Star Alliance and therefore, Star Gold counts for nothing and also, no FF miles will be added to my SAS account? ?
Anyone able to confirm?10 Jul 2014
I can collect Aeroplan points with Rouge, so I suspect it’s the same sort of set up that Vueling has with OneWorld or more specifically Iberia? It’s probably designated as an affiliate member similar to how BMI Baby’s relationship with diamond Club.10 Jul 2014
No one at Air Canada YYZ was able to confirm or deny as to whether Star Gold points will be added to my SAS Euro bonus account.
Bizarre in my opinion that no one seems to know anything….the website is unclear.
The booking did accept my FF number and Star Gold is shown on my boarding card but I remain mystified.12 Jul 2014
DanLee3 , you missed my point. Even if your bags are checked through you MUST ALWAYS collect your bags at the first port of entry into Canada and the US and clear customs. If the bags are through checked you then simply re-drop them.
Maybe you found out at the last minute what the correct procedure was, that doesn’t mean Air Canada is incompetent as you implied because you had to collect your bags and clear customs.12 Jul 2014