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Saturday, May 15th 2021

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YYC." - Chris Myden

Response from Air Canada: 'Our fares aren't guaranteed'

On Thursday I received a reply from the Air Canada executives regarding the deal to South America via airfare.com that didn't pan out. Here's what they had to say:

Dear Mr. Myden,

Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in our response.

Mr. Myden, I can certainly understand how frustrating it must have been for you to have your booking to Santiago cancelled, especially since you found a good price on Airfare.com.

Please know that Air Canada stands behind the fares we offer, but a specific fare is never guaranteed until the actual ticket is issued. I trust you will appreciate that since many customers are accessing our fares, whether it is via www.aircanada.com, through our Call Centre, or booking with travel agents and consolidators, fares can quickly become unavailable. While the inventory of available seats and prices are constantly being updated, the final price paid can only be confirmed once the ticket is issued. This is standard procedure throughout the airline industry and booking agencies are aware of this.

Regrettably, should the booking agency choose not to issue the ticket immediately, that fare may no longer be available at the time of ticket issue. Respectfully, in these situations, we must direct the passenger back to the booking agency.

While your disappointment is understandable, Mr. Myden, we hope this information will be helpful to you when you make future bookings. We look forward to welcoming you onboard Air Canada when next you travel.

In short, they place the blame on the consolidator site, airfare.com (as I expected they would). And of course, airfare.com points the finger at Air Canada. The end result? It's nobody's fault. It's nobody's fault that for 3 full days people are lead to believe they have purchased an airline ticket, when in fact they haven't.

When people purchase an airline ticket, they're not *just* purchasing a ticket. They're also booking hotels, they're taking time off work, they're dreaming of being there. In 2011, to not have the technology in place to let someone know immediately whether they actually have a ticket or not isn't acceptable in my opinion.

The Air Canada executives that were contacted:

Lise Fournel - E-Commerce & Chief Information Officer

Susan Welscheid - Senior Vice President, Customer Service

Craig Landry - Vice President, Marketing

Claude Morin - Vice President, Global Sales

To reach an Air Canada exec, the e-mail address format to use is: [email protected]

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19 Responses to "Response from Air Canada: 'Our fares aren't guaranteed'"

    Has anon been here?
       anon on March 21st, 2011

    Money or world class guest experience?hmm...

    Has metoo been here?
       metoo on March 21st, 2011

    Yet another way large corporations pass the buck. They should be ashamed of themselves! What happened to integrity and honesty?

    Has Yen been here?
       Yen on March 21st, 2011

    It is quite sad that once again, finger pointing game was played and nobody won.
    Agreed on your comment about our current technology situation. It is shameful such problem exist while we can face time thousands miles away, have Mars' picture taken, and missiles smart enough to knock out other incoming missiles.

    Thumbs down.

    Has jettskyler been here?
       jettskyler on March 21st, 2011

    I'm pointing the finger at airfare.com. They're the agent that provides pricing, if they don't buy the ticket right away, and prices go up, how can you blame the airline?

    I think the only blame to lay on AC is them dealing with such questionable organizations.

    Has acbs been here?
       acbs on March 21st, 2011

    Of all the airlines I've dealt with, and there have been many, Air Canada undoubtedly offers the worst customer service... what's happened here just goes to support my opinion.
    Over the last year I've taken nearly 20 flights and of all the flights I had, Air Canada was the worst. When booking my flights, I now will only book with Air Canada when necessary. Unfortunate but a harsh reality; I've rarely had a good experience with any Air Canada representative.

    Has Dee been here?
       Dee on March 21st, 2011

    Integrity and honesty with alarge corporation??? sorry i think that a contradiction in terms

    lets see. the following, in my humble opinion
    1. telus = legalized theft

    2. rogers = legalized theft

    3. and now air canada - in other words for consumers, deal with it

    ( sorry my 2 cents but im VERY jaded by negative experiences Ive had with EVERY large corp)

    Has Anonymous been here?
       Anonymous on March 21st, 2011

    In all honesty air Canada is horrible and if any company wouldn't compensate a little it would be air Canada..... I would probably throw it in their face and let them know how many people read your forum and what you do would send them a reply back and say FYI here's my forum and what you do....

    Has Jodi G been here?
       Jodi G on March 22nd, 2011

    All the more reason to avoid Air Canada!! Try West Jet...

    Has travelnut been here?
       travelnut on March 22nd, 2011

    Airfare.com is a consolidator, they're not affiliated with Air Canada, and you can't blame Air Canada for getting screwed over by bad business practices of Airfare.com.

    If you were to buy something from Expedia and had the same problem come up, as has happened to me before, you would (I hope) blame Expedia, not Air Canada.

    I'm not trying to defend Air Canada, but it's sites like these that make many people uneasy from booking anything through them. I consider them shady in most cases.

    Has Anonymous been here?
       Anonymous on March 22nd, 2011

    I am really disappointed that this happened, and of course am even more disappointed that no one is taking responsibility. I would not recommend Air Canada to anyone. I have officially boycotted this airline. Not only do they not honour pricing, but they lose luggage like its no big deal! I have only taken 2 flights with Air Canada in my life and both times they lost my luggage. And then when they did retrieve it, they delivered to the wrong address! Who the hell is working for this corporation??!! Terrible customer service!

    Has Anh R. been here?
       Anh R. on March 22nd, 2011

    Exactly why I avoid flying with Air Canada....lazy greedy douchebags. Fly West Jet....it's the only way to go anywhere. I will avoid Air Canada to the best I can. So unless I am trapped in some Gawd forsaken country at war and Air Canada was the ONLY carrier that would take me home, I would consider it only at that time. Unfortunately for Air Canada, everyone I know including myself and my family would pay more to fly westjet.

    Has Jason H been here?
       Jason H on March 22nd, 2011

    I absolutely HATE Air Canada for the numerous poor experiences I've had with them. They've even ruined my Christmas vacation before and I guess they had a lot of problems because they responded to my email a FULL MONTH after I had sent it as they were probably busy responding to all the other complaints.

    I used to only fly with them because I had CIBC Aerogold and had a lot of points but because of my absolute hate for Air Canada, I have just recently changed to a different credit card because I want the freedom to NOT choose Air Canada. CIBC just reconsider Aeroplan and maybe switch to a different flight reward system because it's unfortunate that they are losing my business because of the fact I don't like Air Canada.

    Also, they are so cheeky with their sales. How about be the front runner for once and have amazing fares instead of being that red headed step child that just copies all of West Jet's pricing? They will always be the followers and one step behind the game.

    This brings me to my last point. Dealing with the customer service agents on the phone. I feel like the dinosaurs have worked there too long and don't know what service means. They have a sense of entitlement coupled with the fact that they are in a nice unionized environment. More often then not, they look for every way to NOT help you on the phone as they spend more time looking for reasons NOT to help then just taking the 2 minutes to help in the first place. They will blame "policy" or any other thing they can think of when these same issues have previously been resolved in the past without a problem. They will dig their heels in just to "win" when their priority should be helping the customers feel like both the customers AND the company are in it together.

    Sorry about the rant. Just reading a story like this brings back ALL the negative memories I have recently had with Air Canada and with the following that Chris has on this site, I hope these comments are read by the Senior Executive Team. Air Canada HAS the ability to honor the pricing if they wish to.

    Funny thing is, even if they do honor it, people will still be angry for putting customers through this kind of experience in the first place.

    Has Jason H been here?
       Jason H on March 22nd, 2011

    I urge more people who visit Chris' site to voice their displeasure as the number of angry customers could potentially help and be used as leverage for those that had purchased the flights. With enough public outrage, large companies hate bad/negative press and may be forced to change their position/stance on this matter.

    Has Daheim been here?
       Daheim on March 23rd, 2011

    jetskyler, I totally agree with your comments. While I am not an Air Canada fan by no means (their service is awful and I only fly them to get to Cathay Pacific at Vancouver because they code share) I do believe as well this was the booking agent's fault, not the airline.

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on March 23rd, 2011

    Interesting comment posted on the YVR Deals blog...

    A friend of mine purchased 2 tickets when the message came out for cheap seats to Argentina. The next day her friend wanted to get some as well but was told by Air Canada that they didn't have that price available anymore.

    She called to complain about it and they told her the price was an error that happened back east at their head office. Whoever sent the price out only listed the taxes and fees but completely forgot to add the price of the ticket. ($900)

    That's why as soon as they realized they yanked it! Luckily my friend had already printed her tickets so she was lucky and gets to go to Argentina for under 1300 (2 tickets!!).

    Air Canada will never admit it was their fault but that's what they say happened.

    Has labf been here?
       labf on March 23rd, 2011

    This discussion is getting silly. Imagine if I open up my own half baked self service travel agency website, offered YYCHNLYYC on WS for $141 all in that some people end up purchasing, but WS' system never actually had the ticket available at that price (it's actually $399 each way), should WS honor that price despite it never being available? Who would you blame? The airline, or me?

    Just because one organization purports to sell inventory for an airline doesn't mean they are that airline and that everything should be honored. That's like a homeless person selling you a $50 safeway gift card for $20, then upon realizing it isn't actually valid, blaming Safeway. If I sell $1 tickets on AC from labfs-house-of-travel-deals.ca that were only available for ten seconds, two hours before you purchased the ticket, should AC honor another company's screw up? Imagine the outrage people would have when airfares go up when AC decides to become a charity.

    You guys are blaming the wrong party.

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on March 23rd, 2011

    labf: And what if your half baked travel agency was offering fares that were definitely in Air Canada's system (and available for purchase), but Air Canada made a mistake when entering those fares, realized it later, and then pulled the rug out from under you?

    Has labof been here?
       labof on March 23rd, 2011

    chris: you didn't see the fares that were in AC's res. if it was, why would you go through airfare.com instead of aircanada.com?

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on March 24th, 2011

    Labof: The fares weren't available on Aircanada.com - but it became known the next day that they were available on vayama.com as well. It's no coincidence that they were on both Vayama and Airfare at the same time.

    And there's been a few people now that have told me their tickets were in fact issued. The fares did exist, AC put them out there, and then screwed over (and blamed) the consolidator sites for the mistake.

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