- IATA / ICAO Code:
- AC / ACA
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- Hub (s):
- Calgary International Airport, Montreal – Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International Airport
- Year Founded:
- Star Alliance
- Michael Rousseau
Complaints and rants about the airline industry are becoming increasingly common on social media. Still, airlines generally pay less attention to every user and usually provide the same generic responses. However, when an actor or celebrity is publicly criticizing an airline, it does garner a lot more attention. Unfortunately for Air Canada, actor Matthew Lewis called the Canadian flag carrier out for being the worst airline in North America in a tweet made public to his 1.4 million followers of him.
Kicked from First to Economy
Lewis felt the need to make such a statement after a somewhat disruptive flight from Orlando to Toronto, where the actor allegedly claims that Air Canada refused his entry into First Class, despite having provided a paid air ticket for his seat. Instead, the actor further claims that the airline employee had torn up his air ticket. There was also little to no explanation other than saying that the flight was already fully booked.
And without his First Class air ticket, Lewis was reassigned to a seat in Economy Class, and all this allegedly happened when he arrived at the departure gate. The situation was further made worse when Lewis was directed to seek help from the airline’s customer service counter, which was at his destination di lui in Toronto, which meant he could not get immediate clarification or assistance.
Though it was unpleasant for Lewis to get bumped down into different cabin classes than he originally paid for, it was fortunate that Air Canada did not entirely deny him boarding or have him rebooked on a different flight. The actor was due in Toronto for the Fan Expo Canada, where several fans paid money to see him and other actors in person. Had Air Canada denied him boarding, Lewis might have missed the convention.
The unpleasantries pile up
The Star Alliance member airline did reach out to Lewis to settle the issue privately. However, it seems indicative that this resulted from overbooking, which is quite commonly practiced throughout the global aviation industry as means for airlines to ensure that their flights are filled. Unfortunately, the practice only works in the airline’s favor and never in the passenger’s, as Lewis experienced despite having held a First Class air ticket.
Lewis emphasized that Air Canada needed to start improving its customer service, adding that passengers should be treated better and need to start holding their ground and calling out these problematic practices, saying:
“We as a society should not be okay with normalizing the profiteering of overbooking and kicking people off flights.”
And in response to Lewis’ tweets, social media blew up with several more users condemning and narrating their unpleasant experiences with Air Canada, most of whom agreed with Lewis’s bold claims. Reasons included the airline’s alleged refusal to take a passenger’s baggage to London, resulting in the passenger having to pay an additional $ 500. Other reasons included delayed flights with zero compensation from Air Canada or sudden last-minute flight cancelations.
Worst airline in North America?
As more disgruntled passengers shared their dismay, a handful of others came to Air Canada’s defense, saying they would have felt the same way if anyone had been in Lewis’s position. Furthermore, since several other airlines practice overbooking flights, Lewis’s claims are biasedly exaggerated. Others have also argued that they had similar unpleasant experiences when flying with Air Transat and WestJet and even more horrible experiences with US carriers.
Then again, Lewis’s claims come after Canadian airlines and airports have faced continued criticism over constant delays and regular mass cancellations, highlighting a bigger problem than just Air Canada but within the Canadian aviation industry as a whole. Especially regarding the issue of Canadian airlines, not just Air Canada, not paying passengers their rightful compensation.
The situation has gotten so bad for passengers that the Canadian Government is making amendments to its Air Passenger Protection Regulation, which will see Canadian airlines making more of an effort to provide compensation or risk being fined $ 25,000 per incident of non-compliance. So it might seem, given how chaotic airline services have been not just in Canada but the rest of North America, Air Canada might not be the worst airline on the continent.