Flight ****, July **, **** from La Guardia to Montreal, attempting to make our connection with AC*** to Geneva:** Called over a week ahead to ask if there was a quiet place our son with autism could rest. Were denied the ability to access the Maple Leaf Lounge, despite offering to pay.** Emailed over a week ahead to ask about other quiet places we could take our son and support materials for people with autism available at the LGA airport. Received a helpful response — after our flight had left LGA.** Flight delayed due to “thunderstorms” in the NYC area. There were no thunderstorms. The sky was clear. The weather report had no foul weather listed as possible.** We were on time, over an hour ahead at the gate. No lines in security.** Delayed flight caused us to believe that, when we landed, we would be within * minutes of missing our flight to Geneva for a wedding I was officiating. (These circumstances would have been extremely stressful for anyone. They were over the top for a kid with autism heading to Europe for the first time.)** On *st Flight:* * Odd seat (at border of *st and cabin ***) has one in-flight entertainment screen for both seats.* * The one screen that was there froze shortly before take-off and would not work.* * In-flight wifi and other communications broke both in the cabin and for the staff, so that we were not able to learn if the other flight was also delayed.* * Flight **** even more delayed waiting on the tarmac to get out of LaGuardia. We gave up hope and started making plans to stay somewhere in Montreal.** When we arrived in Montreal, we learned that our flight (AC***) had also been delayed. We were told that, if we ran, we could make it. So, our party of * sprinted through the airport, were extremely distressed when the automated customs terminal crashed in mid-entry, and finally made our way to the gate — where there was a long line of passengers.**July ** - July **, Flight AC*** to Geneva:** You are probably already familiar with the trials experienced by passengers on this flight. The flight was delayed due to:* * A malfunctioning AC on the flight from Toronto to Montreal.* * An emergency evacuation of the international flight when exhaust from a generator was accidentally taken into the plane when a supplemental generator was employed to try to cool the plane and allow efficient boarding.* * The combination of the faulty AC and the emergency evacuation led to the flight being delayed until after midnight. (Thankfully, it did take-off, though it was quite hot on board.)** In addition to what everyone on this flight suffered, our party experienced the following additional trials:* * For no reason that we know of (though I imagine it was well-intentioned) our party of * was re-assigned to a flight to Lisbon, Portugal. We were not informed of this change by email or phone. Our original flight was not informed of this change. As a result, as we were waiting to board some time near midnight, an announcement came over the intercom asking our party to report to a different gate. We had separated because (thankfully) there was a quiet area designed to support people with sensory issues near the gate. (No one on your staff knew this, but we found it.)We had our child with autism and a caregiver in that area while other members of our party were making last-minute bathroom visits. The members of our party in the hallway heard the full message and realized that we were being summoned to a different gate. Those of us waiting in the sound dampening area near the AC*** gate only heard that we were being summoned to a gate and reasonably assumed that we were being given permission to board first due to our child with special needs. When we arrived at the counter, the flight crew were quite agitated with us (not that I blame them* they were having to deal with extenuating circumstances and hadn’t called us, so they were confused about why we were holding up the already complex boarding of this embattled flight). Their irritation with us pushed my husband over the edge, and it took all of my remaining energy to drag him away from the gate, manage my son, and get us back in line — not knowing why we had been called and from where or where the rest of our party was.* * The portion of our group who had been at the bathrooms, ran to the gate to Lisbon where we had been summoned, learned that we had been reassigned, talked them into letting us stay on our original flight to Geneva since it hadn’t left yet, asked about the status of our luggage, were told it was “floating” and then had to run back in response to the call to board our flight to Geneva.* * Some time after midnight, all five of us FINALLY made it onto the flight. We got settled in our seats and, while there was extreme time pressure for everyone to get settled due to the malfunctioning AC and the need to move quickly or they would have to close the cabin and halt boarding, another family approached us with matching boarding passes claiming that we had their seats. They had gotten on in Toronto, already dealt with having to be evacuated from the flight and now, upon finally being allowed back in, found us in their seats. We all were civil about it, but when the mom of the other beleaguered family pointed out that since they had those seats from the flight to Toronto, they had dibs, my ** year old daughter burst into tears and said that, if they made us get off the flight now, she was going to completely “lose it.”* * Thankfully, the mom was willing to go find a stewardess who eventually was able to fight the tide of human beings boarding the plane and get the mom and her family settled in a now empty row. (Apparently, some people had given up on the flight at that point.) So, we were able to resolve that conflict.* * The final complaint of the actual flight was that the inflight entertainment system broke completely and did not work for the entire trip to Geneva. * * We were served dinner at around *am, though that was too late for my daughter who had to take her medicine on an empty stomach and, as a result, woke-up quite ill the next morning.* * But, honestly, at that moment, since my daughter fell asleep on my arm, and I was going to make it to the wedding, I didn’t care that I just had to stare at an empty screen in a boiling hot cabin for hours while the adrenaline gradually left my system. The one positive thing I can say about that flight was that it did, indeed, get us to Geneva.* * The final blow — Our luggage was indeed lost. In fact, we spent the first two days of our * day trip to France with our party of * borrowing clothes from other kind wedding guests and washing underwear in the sink. My child with autism had packed his computer — which is kind of his security blanket, so when our luggage still hadn’t been found by the end of the first day in Geneva, he was starting to have major stress.* * Air Canada did indeed refund $*** of the $****.** we paid for the * tickets for these flights. They didn’t explain why. Someone told me that European laws require a flight to refund something if they lose your luggage for more than a day. My feeling is that Air Canada BARELY met the lowest bar of what we paid that money for. They did get us to the place we were going, but only with exceptional stress and unreasonable suffering given what we had been led to expect.* * I believe a fair compensation for such a disastrous flight would be at least one voucher for an international plane ticket, maybe one in a higher class?* * I chose Air Canada for this critical trip because I heard that it was a high quality airline. I am hoping that it, at least, has high quality customer service that will own that we did not get what we paid for out of this trip. If not, I plan to post the above story on Trip Advisor — where I am a regular contributor — because I didn’t imagine such a trip was possible with Air Canada, and without appropriate compensation, I think that other potential passengers should have some warning of the extent to which Air Canada can go wrong and not apologize. * * On a kinder note, the problems we encountered seem to have been systemic in nature and not due to the crew. With the one extenuating circumstance when we approached the gate while they were trying to board, we found the crew to be kind and compassionate. They did their best to help us, but they were constrained by the failure of the system as a whole.
GetHuman-airliesa did not yet indicate what Air Canada should do to make this right.