Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Still crazy after all these years 

You know, as a confirmed progressive-leftist type, I should probably be opposed to this: 'Open skies' talks take wing: "The federal government is launching formal talks to open up the Canada-U.S. air industry to more cross-border competition and potentially lower air fares."
It will undoubtedly compromise Air Canada's attempts to become profitable, thereby risking Canada's national airline, etc. etc.
But, Lord help me, I just can't work up a sweat over this.
Air Canada doesn't deserve it.
The last time I flew across country, to an event in Fredericton NB with a pause in London Ontario, I had to take a total of six flights. Five of them were late. And I mean LATE -- like mostly by two or more hours.
And at good old Air Canada, no one seemed to care. Apologies are for wimps, I guess.
At one point during this odyssey, I remember, they switched a flight to a different gate. Without changing the sign. I only knew because I asked at the old gate. The rule is, never believe their signs -- always ask.
So while I was waiting at the new gate -- because, of course, the flight was late leaving -- a little old man came up and asked the crew why flight such-and-such hadn't left yet. Well, it had -- from a different gate, which they hadn't bothered to post signage for or to announce either.
Nobody seemed particularly concerned about this -- they just told him to sit down, they're get him onto another flight sometime or other.
There was one flight which left on time. It was the one which was supposed to be my last one. I, however, was not on it because I was late getting off my connector flight. The reason I was late getting off this flight was because the plane was late so the Air Canada gate crew had left the gate before we got there.
So when they finally showed up, I tore down to the final flight's gate, hoping it would be late too -- please, please be late, every other flight on this benighted trip has been late so why should THIS flight leave on time? But, of course, no such luck. THAT flight had left exactly on time, five minutes before. Five minutes! And they KNEW I was coming on the connector flight, me and a couple of other people too. So I asked why it couldn't have waited for us, considering that it was flying across the country and could have made up the five minutes pretty easily, and got told, patronizingly and haughtily, "Well, we have to leave on time, you know!"
Choke, gasp -- I was speechless!
Of course, they booked me onto the next flight, leaving four hours hence. It, however, was late. It couldn't leave because the flight crew wasn't there. They had been on a Chicago flight, which was late. The flight finally left an additional six hours later -- a new lateness record!
The next time my husband and I flew Air Canada, we were trying to get to Vancouver. The flight was -- you guessed it -- late. It was, in fact 20 hours late -- so we missed a full day of a four-day little vacation.

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