My friends booked their honeymoon flight to BCN on AC. They were scheduled for AC 814 September 15th, departing at 1755. A day before their flight, AC called them and offered $500 to switch to TS. The only catch was that they probably wouldn't be able to sit together on the TS flight so they rejected the offer. They checked ACs website to ensure their seats were the same and discovered that the a/c was change from the non-xm'd 763 (44 rows) to a xm'd 763 (39 rows). I would imagine this change of equipment meant AC had to bump a few pax.
They got to the airport 3 hrs prior to AC 814 departing and were notified that the flight was delayed from 1755 to 2100 due to mechanical issues with their 763. They tweeted AC and AC replied saying there was some engine cowling damage and it was in the process of being repaired. The gate agent told them that a replacement 763 was coming from HKG. This sounded rather suspicious to me as AC operated 77Ls to HKG. The AC gate agent apparently told them “I don't get paid enough to deal with this”
Around 7pm the flight was delayed again to 2230 because the flight crew reached their maximum duty hours and a new flight crew had to be found to operate 814. Then the flight was delayed again to 0030. At this point a group of passengers who were booked on a cruise the next day got irate and the police had be called to the gate. The flight was delayed for the 4th time, now scheduled to depart at 0130hrs.
Would AC and other carriers put less of an effort into finding a replacement aircraft for a low yielding flight like AC 814? Since AC flies non-xm'd 763s to BCN and a handful of other tourist destinations, without the executive first cabin, would AC be reluctant to pull a 763 from other flights like LHR or FRA due to the higher yielding fares on those TATLs? Are all fights dealt with fairly when it comes to delays or does the destination and executive first bookings affect what AC ops would do?
I checked this morning and they ended up taking off around 0120hrs. But AC814 was operated by a non-xm'd 763 after all, C-GHPD. I know this situation could have occurred on any major airline. AC's 767 fleet is highly utilized, I believe AC returned one of the non-xm'd 767 to the lessor recently leaving the fleet even more stretched. I still think that even if AC had extra planes sitting at YYZ overnight, they would be less than willing to pull a 767 from LHR to service BCN, am I correct in that assumption?
I was also under the impression the curfew at YYZ is 0030hrs, so if AC rescheduled the flight to past the curfew they would have to pay extra fees. I remember reading that YYZ charges 16x the regular rates for flights operating past the curfew, is that accurate?