why i hate air canada

will somebody please tell my why airplanes work better in europe than they do in north america. does it have something to do with pollution or air density, or maybe some other anomaly that is beyond my comprehension?
my wife and two kids (aged three months and two years) were trying to make a relatively simple flight on air canada from st. john’s, newfoundland to montreal, quebec this summer. i drove them to the airport, helped them check in, even got a gate pass so that i could help get the kids to the gate. when they boarded the plane, i thought that they were on their way, so i left the airport.
turns out that, while they were sitting on the airplane on the tarmac, it was announced that there were some mechanical difficulties with the airplane and that they would be delayed. fast-forward a little, and everyone is being told that the flight has been cancelled and they had to get off the plane where they would be given further instructions. the “further instructions” was a piece of paper that had a 1-800 phone number where passengers could call and book a new flight. however, by the time my wife, the temporarily-single-mom got off the plane, there were no pieces of paper left, and no one to give her any info. so, she’s wandering around the gate, waiting for an announcement that isn’t coming, when finally someone asks if she got the phone number.
now, here’re some things that i have a problem with:
– why couldn’t the air canada staff figure out that not everyone was off the plane yet, and that maybe, since there were people than pieces of paper, they should do something like talk to people.
– if air canada can’t get its plane off the ground, why is it up to the passengers to call god-knows-where to re-book their own tickets? if this was a klm flight, there would be staff with computers there to get you on another plane, not lack-of-staff there to not-pass-out pieces of paper with phone numbers on them.
– why does a person travelling with two small children have to rely on other passengers to corral her children while she tries to talk to an air canada agent on the phone to re-book her flight? couldn’t air canada representatives take some responsibility for the inconvenience and help out just a little?
on top of all this, how about a little compensation for losing two days of a vacation while you’re sitting around waiting for air canada to get another plane off the ground? nope. compare this to klm flying through amsterdam. if your arriving plane is late and you have to stick around the airport waiting for a different connecting flight. you get a human being with a computer to help you sort it out. at the end of talking to them, you not only have a new trave schedule for you and your luggage, you have a little booklet that contains coupons to buy some food at the airport, a voucher for a klm ticket in the future (or some bonus klm air miles) and a coupon to use for a long distance call to tell people that you’ll be late. what does air canada offer? not even a quarter for the pay phone to call someone to come back to the airport to pick you up.
so, i was more than a little irate. and, to put icing on the cake, when we all went back to the airport two days later to get on the alternative flight, exactly the same thing happened again to a different flight leaving for toronto. so, i wonder:
– how many times a week does this happen to air canada?
– why to people still fly with them?

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