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Step One, Show up at Airport, Step Two, Learn Your Flight is Cancelled

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 travellers like us were bumped so that Tuesday travellers 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!

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