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August 9, 2009

Air Canada Does It Again

After my previous encounter with Air Canada, I was hopeful that our experience getting lounge passes would be smooth and without complications. We logged in today and, sure enough, we could get lounge passes... for our flight from SJ to Orange County. However, we could not get a lounge pass from Orange County back.

I called the number and got Rosie. She tried to be helpful but insisted that we couldn't purchase lounge passes for the flight home because our flight from SNA is operated by United. What the hell? We have two flights owned and operated by Air Canada on the way home, but because of the one flight during the day that we DO NOT want lounge passes for in the first place is not run by AC, we can't get ANY passes for the ENTIRE flight?

I have to admit that I lost my cool a bit with Rosie. I tried a couple of tacts to get her to see our position, but she was a company woman and couldn't see it and didn't want to hear it. I finally asked to speak with a manager. She put me on hold for quite a bit of time and then came back and said she couldn't get anything except voice mail on any manager's line. She took my information and left a message for her direct manager. I made sure to confirm that a call back would happen today.

What we don't understand is why AC would be so insistent that they don't want people to use the lounge if ANY part of their flight is run by another company. This is, basically, free money to Air Canada. If I was AC, I would accept ANYONE who wanted to pay the $30 per person fee, regardless of flight ownership, into my lounge. The lounge is there 24/7, AC has to staff it... why not allow anyone in who wants to pay?

If I were AC, the lounge passes would be just that... passes. You purchase them from AC and it gives you a physical pass that says "Paid - Admit One". If the airport you are in has a lounge, that pass is taken from you, and you are allowed in. Period. End of story. AC has $30 and I have access to a lounge.

Why, oh why would Air Canada, in this economy and with the financial issues that it claims to be having, be turning away found money?


As I was typing the above, I received my first call back from Air Canada on this issue. The manager is checking into the issue and will give us the passes if she can. She said to expect a call back in a half hour or so with the results. Hopefully, for her, the results will be positive as otherwise she's going to get an earful from me on this issue.


Just got the call back from MaryEllen at Air Canada. She's sorry, but because the first flight out of Orange County is code shared with United, there is simply NOTHING that they can do about getting us lounge passes for our return flight home.

I think my wife can verify, I let her have it. I actually laughed out loud at her and said, "From everything I read, your company is struggling in this economy, and, you have a customer who is willing to work with you, wants to pay your company more money, and you can't figure out some way to get him the passes?"

"Sorry, sir, there is simply nothing I can do."

She recommended that I put in a complaint via the online system, to which I replied, "Oh, I'll be putting in a complaint."

My ire prompted her to ask if I wanted the situation escalated to the VP level, and I jumped on that (ironically, that was going to be my next statement to her, so she knew where this was going).

She is passing along my information to a VP-level Air Canada representative and I should expect a call tomorrow on this. M and I, meanwhile, are laughing our asses off... wouldn't it be easier to physically send us passes as a good-will gesture to get me off their backs?

Of course, what they don't know is that I am perfectly willing to keep on this like a dog with a bone until I speak with the CEO of the company. I'll MAKE the time to speak with him. I'll rearrange my schedule to accomodate his, if need be. I will let AC know how absurd this business practice is and how stupid it is to leave money laying on the ground or, in this case, in our pocketbooks. It just makes no sense whatsoever to us.

I'm willing to bet that most any other person we walked up to and said, "Here's $30 for each of us, can we sit in your front room and have access to some drinks and the bathroom for a couple of hours?" would be happy to accept the money and let us in. But no Air Canada!

I'll post another update after I speak with the VP.

1 comment:

  1. The jargon includes the term "paradigm shift," which is simply another way of saying "think outside the corporate box" or, even more basically, WORK WITH ME ON THIS SO WE CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN, the old win-win strategy.

    Companies create their own economic problems: consumers become the victims of poor policies and practices administered by inept management. If the only option an employee can use is to recite the company policy, the company deserves to fail.

    The bottom line should be their bottom line: we need to increase our revenue stream and one way we can do this is to offer a limited number of passes for our lounge areas to those who would not otherwise use them. Keep the revenue stream flowing and make everyone happy in the process.