I think I’ve flown Air Canada once or twice when I was a kid, but I don’t really remember anything from back then. It’s also since like 2015 when I really started keeping track of flights, planes, and the like, so that’s what I’m basing most of this off of.
The first piece of joy we had was, upon arriving to the Air Canada check in desks, that area of DUB T1 departure hall was crowded like no other. When we finally made it to the check in counter, I found out that our flight number, as scheduled for yesterday, was cancelled, so there we two DUB-YYZ flights departing at nearly the same time, thus the extra chaos. Although, our flight was scheduled for a 11:40AM departure, and the 2nd flight at 12PM. Delays ended pushing back both flights to a 1:30PM and 12:30PM departure, respectively. Meaning that later flight ended up taking off sooner, but alright.
We had about a 6 hr layover in Toronto to make our YYZ-LAX connection, so we weren’t really worried about the delay. However, after we had left the lounge to make our scheduled boarding time, they announced at the gate that our flight AC 843 would be delayed again. We were finally seated and boarded at 1:50PM. Unfortunately, baggage and fuel still had to make it on, so there was another 20 minute delay. Then we were told the fuel tanker ran out while refueling us, so it had to get fuel. It came back, and we were told it would be another 20 minutes to finish up fueling. All in all, I think we finally pushed back from the gate at 3:15PM, with arrival at YYZ gate clocked in at 6:02 PM (original est arrival 2:20 PM). That’s a 3 hr 42 minute delay.
The reason that’s interesting is that EU has regulations for compensation (EU 261/2004) regarding flight delays, and I think our flight may be eligible. You know, unless AC comes up with some BS reason why our flight wasn’t eligible by claiming that the delays were out of their hands. I sent in a form to customer service (1/7/18) and we’ll see how this process goes.
About the flight; the aircraft was a A330-343, which is an older twin aisle plane, and you could tell by the terrible IFE UI/UX and screen size. With the transatlantic flight time coming in at about 7.5hrs, we were given one meal and one snack, which was alright. Service and food was better than United coming over, but not as good as Asian carriers on transpacific flights. I sat next to the engine in the 2nd row of economy, which meant having the audible hum next to my ear the entire flight, but allowed for faster deplaning.
That faster deplaning was important, as I found out, because Canadian flights to US make you complete US immigration/customs on the Canadian side of the border/pre-flight, so we had to take that into account during our layover. Of course, with connecting flights, we had to go through security checks again, with shoes off, liquids out, etc etc.
Then, we entered an area where US immigration kiosks were set up for us to complete (just like LAX upon int’l arrival), but with no mobile passport options. After that, we were sent into a holding room where I guess we had to wait for our baggage to clear US customs screening before we were allowed to proceed? Eventually our names were called via loudspeaker, and then we went into another room where the actual immigration kiosks were. I think I got sent to the wrong line, as everyone around me had int’l passports whereas I was the only one with a US passport. I eventually asked the guy up front, and he pointed me to the correct line, since I had asked to go my Global Entry interview on site.
Unfortunately, it was just one kiosk doing it, and someone was already there. I stood in line waiting for maybe 20-30 minutes before I was up, and I was asked like 3 or 4 questions before I spent the remainder 20-30 minutes standing at the kiosk as the guy seemed to type an essay or short story into my file. Thennn he found out I’d been rejected for GE before, and continued to add a chapter/sequel to my entry. I know you’re not supposed to rush them/the process, but it eventually hit 7:40 PM, with boarding started at 7:25 PM, and I had to ask him to hurry so I wouldn’t miss my 8:05 PM flight. Eventually, he said it’s going to have to go back to internal review, but he anticipates me being able to get GE in a few weeks time. That was inconclusive. Fingers crossed I guess.¯\_(ツ)_/¯
So he let me go, and I made a mad dash through the terminal to reach my gate, and was one of the last 5 people on board. To add insult to injury, I was reissued a boarding pass at the gate and bumped from my booked seat of 16 exit row to 40 back of plane. I also had no time to stop by the YYZ lounge for dinner (6 hr layover, minus 3.5 hr delay, minus customs/immigration = no time left), and this 5 hr YYZ-LAX flight didn’t offer any food in forms of meal or snack (only food for purchase). They did offer drinks, so that was a bare minimum I guess. (A321 plane, and the same transcontinental LAX-LGA VX/B6 flights offered snacks.. Hmmph.)
We got into LAX 30 minutes ahead of schedule. But seeing as how I was row 40, I experienced the same treatment at boarding; last 5 to board the plane, last 5 to deplane. I grabbed my luggage off baggage claim, called an Uber home, and was eventually home by 11:45 PM. I think that was close to 22 hrs of travel from leaving DUB hostel to getting home from LAX? Fun times.
And one of the best experiences post-travel? That feeling you get when you shower at home for the first time in a while, and then climb into your bed for the night. Yay.
1/7/18 Original email to AC CSR.
1/16/18 Received a declination email response from AC for flight delay compensation citing extraordinary circumstances arising from weather conditions.
1/17/18 Fired off email rebuttal stating no weather issues and asking for evidence.
1/22/18 CSR reply with continued denial of claim with no evidence. I’m not playing this game anymore.
1/28/18 Sent my info in to a EU claim site to hound AC for this issue. They’d take a 25% cut if they can get AC to pay up, otherwise no fee to me.
2/3/18 Friend said he sent a claim directly into AC, they never responded, but they paid out to him. Humz.
2/7/18 EU claim site said they can’t help me bc I got to my final destination on time. That’s not what the EU regulations state. Ugh. I’m at a loss here.