Letter to Air Canada

Posted by on Jul 10, 2001 in Complaints, Letters

Non-changeable really means non-changeable, even when the change might make the airline more money. Never got a response to this one.

To whom it may concern,

I am writing in reference to a trip I took to Montreal with Air Canada. The receipt from my ticket purchase is enclosed.

I planned to fly from Houston to visit family in Montreal on June 11, spending a few days there before flying to Toronto for a scheduled family event on June 16 and then back to Houston on June 18. I noticed that Air Canada ticket prices were significantly higher for multiple one-way tickets than for a simpler Houston-Montreal roundtrip (via Toronto).

I purchased the round-trip ticket, thinking it wouldn’t be a big deal to later notify Air Canada that I would be skipping out on the Montreal-Toronto segment. I planned to sacrifice the seat I had already paid for and stay in Toronto so that I could spend more time with my family and catch my flight to Houston from. I hoped to avoid a needless trip back to Montreal. It seemed to me that Air Canada might even appreciate it since they would be able to sell my vacated seat to someone else and make more money on the deal.

Phone calls to Air Canada, Travelocity (the travel agent who issued the ticket), and a visit to the Air Canada billing desk at Montreal’s Dorval Airport to make the change were futile. I was told that the particular fare that I had purchased was “non-changeable”, and skipping the Montreal-Toronto segment was considered a change. Air Canada made it clear to me that if I was not sitting in that seat on the Montreal-Toronto segment, the rest of my itinerary (including my flight home to Houston) would be immediately cancelled.

On the morning of June 18, I had to spend 5 1/2 hours driving from Toronto to Montreal to catch an Air Canada flight from Montreal to Toronto later that afternoon. This was an exercise in stupidity and a major inconvenience.

I understand that the fine print on my ticket probably says that I am not allowed to make the type of change that I was trying to make. I take full responsibility for my assumptions and resulting inconveniences.

But why does Air Canada have such rules to begin with, and why are they are so inflexible with them? Exactly why would it have been such a problem for me to skip that segment of my ticket? What logistics are involved? A little flexibility on your part would have allowed me to spend more time with my family and made my entire travel experience with Air Canada a more pleasant one.

Perhaps other airlines do more to accommodate their passengers.

Jeff Nyveen

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