You Can Check In Anytime But You Can Never Leave

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Self Portrait, Ottawa, January 2014

Self Portrait, Ottawa, January 2014

Is there anything more infuriating than showing up at the airport and learning your flight is cancelled?

Don’t think so.

All packed and ready to go, we drove to Ottawa Airport this morning and learned that our flight to Toronto had been cancelled. Well, not just our flight—all the flights to Toronto. Apparently, approximately 600 flights have been cancelled at Pearson International Airport Tuesday afternoon because of the cold weather, thus Wednesday travelers like us were bumped so that Tuesday travelers could fly out.

Makes sense? Nope. Doesn’t to me either.

Shit happens. What I’m furious about is the way Air Canada and Ottawa Airport handled the situation.

First of all, we were not informed our flight was cancelled until a couple of hours before the flight—basically, we showed up at the airport and were told “too bad”. Second, we dealt with the most belligerent Air Canada employees ever. Look, I worked in customer service and I know the “not always right” motto. I also know that employees can’t always fix everything and have limited powers. But don’t treat us like shit, don’t be argumentative when we ask what exactly is going on and don’t tell us “tough luck”. There are worse things in life than a cancelled flight—I agree. It’s still a major inconvenience when you show up at the airport packed and ready to go, with a toddler too. Third, when all flights are cancelled, expect a corresponding number of passengers to look for info and to rebook their flights, so please, have employees ready to help. This is called “crisis management” in corporate language. Two booths with a long line-up isn’t helpful. Telling people to go home and call the 1-800 number (where a pre-recorded message says there is a one-hour wait time) isn’t helpful either.

So, what’s going on for us? Well, we couldn’t catch the Toronto-Cancun flight today since we couldn’t make it to Toronto. We’ve been rebooked to a 6 a.m. Ottawa-Montreal and Montreal-Cancun flight tomorrow—yay, another 4 a.m. departure!

I hope this flight won’t be cancelled. We’ve been given zero guarantee.

Crossing fingers… because I would be more than pissed off to show up at the airport at 4 a.m. for nothing!


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. OMG !! I actually dealt with Air Canada in Baltimore and they pissed me off so bad ! Bad customer service and snarky agents! Hopefully you are able to leave tomorrow on time 🙂

  2. Oh mannnnn!!! That sounds so shitty. My journey to get back to Toronto was a bit rough too- I missed my morning flight because of bad conditions in Winnipeg getting to the airport. They put me on a flight leaving at 4 pm (so I went home and napped for 2 hours) but that flight was delayed for 2.5 hours. We finally left around 6:30. They at least gave out food vouchers so I got a sandwich. When we landed in Toronto, the wind was so bad I actually thought I was going to die. I almost burst into tears when we landed. It was terrifying. Then there was a huge queue and we sat on the tarmac for over an hour before we could taxi in. Then it took a while for the bags to come. By the time we left the airport in the shuttle it was 1:00 am. I should have been back in Waterloo almost 12 hours ago. Then by the time I got dropped off at my friends place it was 3:30 am. She drove me home, and I was in bed by 4:00 am. And wouldn’t you know it that in the last half hour in the shuttle, my cat just couldn’t hold it anymore and peed in her carrier. Ugh.
    Best of luck for getting to Cancun!

    • Oh wow, sounds like the trip from hell! Strong winds can be terrifying when flying, especially when you are in a small plane (like for most domestic flights). Can’t blame you being being scared and I’m glad you landed safely!

      I don’t think I ever got vouchers from an airline… didn’t get anything from Air Canada, for sure!

  3. Air Canada is the worst for customer service. I try to avoid flying them whenever I can (though I`m not sure what I`m going to do with all my Aeroplan points). Three years ago we flew to France during the crazy snowstorm in Europe. The plane we were supposed to be taking from Montreal was delayed in Paris so Air France gave us substantial meal vouchers and put us up at the Crowne Plaza. When we went down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast the next day, the waiter asked us who we were flying. When we said Air France he said “Oh good. Air Canada’s meal vouchers are only for half as much.” Now I never fly Air Canada in the winter 😀

    • Ugh. Yes, Air Canada’s customer service sucks. And don’t even get me started on Ottawa Airport… I think from now on we will try to leave from Montreal!

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