My wife had an interesting experience yesterday with AC
that had me thinking about the carrier and the influence being a government supported/crown corporation has had on them.
First off, don't get me wrong, I fly AC
all the time, I have over 30 flight segments this year so far. They are obviously improving their performance as a company, and I can't help but wonder how much a real change in the customer orientation from the typical "bored government worker who doesn't need to worry about competition or losing their job" to a more customer centric busniess model would further improve their performance.
Over the past couple of years I have seen AC
's employees act less like the type outlined above, but in my experience it is still the norm. It seems as though true care and concern for customers and the ability to make decisions at the right level in the organization are still issues.
Yesterday my wife was on AC
flight from YYC
, an A320. The story from the flight deck was that one of the baggage handlers had damaged the cargo door seal and repairs would be required. Although the skill of the baggage handler is in question, the need to complete the repair is not.
The passengers ended up staying on the plane for 3 hours, with the offerring of a bag of sesame snacks and a bottle of water.
My wife had a connecting flight in YVR
, so she informed the crew as they were going through looking for folks with connections. Unfortunately she would miss her connection, but not to worry we will have a hotel room for you in YVR
After the delayed arrival into YVR
, it turns out that in fact there are no hotel rooms available. My wife calls me, we get into action with our corporate travel agent who finds a room at a budget hotel right across from the airport. (Not sure why AC
couldn't find this, possibly not on the list of "authorized hotels"). No worries my wife tells them, I found a room. So sorry says the AC
staff, we can't put you up there. We have however found a room in Langley (I think this is an hour cab ride away) that we will put you in.
Now this is the interesting part. The room across the street is $150. The room in Langley is $150. The cab ride is going to be $150 or more to Langley and back. Most rational folks would see the simple economics in that, not to mention the customer service aspect. In this case, the passenger even did the job of the airline for them. Unfortunately there is no one in YVR
on duty with AC
with the level of decision authority to authorize doing the right thing. This is the where I still see AC
acting like an autocratic, inflexible government entity.
In the end, she stays across the street on her own nickel. The cab and hotel voucher for Langley are given to a nice homeless person outside the terminal for a nice night's sleep, courtesy of Air Canada.
Again, I like AC
, but think their leadership needs to have a good hard look at this aspect of their business.