What an Ordeal

What an ordeal it’s been up until now. I’ve heard horror stories about people missing flights, delayed flights, and lost luggage, but yesterday we experienced all three at the hands of Air Canada.

As all of you know, Air Canada’s customer service and ticket agents were on strike and Air Canada suggested everyone checks in online. Alas we were not able to connect online and complete our checkin which was very annoying. Reaching YVR International we told the Agent (which was management) that we were not able to complete the process, and when we tried the kiosk everything worked well. Alas the flight itself didn’t leave on time and we were delayed by 20 minutes. This would give us 30 minutes to make our connecting flight to Brussels – tight I know.

During our flight we were told that we would be arriving in gate 49 and our connecting flight was in Gate 50. This was possible. On landing our gate was changed to Gate 15. Stressing out about our connecting flight we rushed to our gate with 20 minutes to spare. This is when it all went sour. Air Canada was refusing to let us, and 12 other passengers from Vancouver, on the flight because they said our check in luggage would not make it. There were 2 passengers who had only carry on which refused as well since the system would not let them check onto the flight. 3 Managers at the desk had no idea how to allow this and there excuse was that Air Canada was experiencing a labour distribution. So much for the “business as usual”. The agent pretty much told us to grab our luggage at the baggage claim and then rebook ourselves for our trip.

At the baggage claim, Air Canada could not find my luggage. Stressing out, we headed to at least try to book ourselves back to Europe.

The ticket agents were swamped. From what I could tell, many flights went without their passengers. Looked like anyone that was transferring to Europe from Montreal were out of luck. For me the most frustrating part was that we had eurorail tickets from Berlin to Prague that now were no longer valid. The Manager at the rebooking counter didn’t care. Her response was that we were being booked to Berlin the next day and the rest we were on our own. We asked if they could get us to Prague at least, but she would not do it. After she left someone else came to our aid and she was able to book us to Prague for Saturday arrival. I can’t remember her name, but she was able. She couldn’t give us our new boarding passes, but gave us our booking number and told us to checkin online.

Air Canada booked us at a hotel for the night, and when we arrived there in tried to check in online, but failed. As you can imagine, stress level continue.

This morning there is hope. We got checked in and are booked to Prague. Additionally my luggage is here too and we will be able to get that checked.

What I am disappointed with Air Canada. This is an airline I’ve always had no problem with. I’ve always have been treated fairly and with dignity. This did not happen yesterday. Air Canada failed, and their response was horrible. I have been so close to canceling this trip and going back to Vancouver. What I am out now is a day in Prague, a hotel night in Prague, and 2 Eurorail tickets.

I will be going after Air Canada for this loss.

European Baroque Tour

thousand bells, Prague
photo by: benjetpascal01 (Flickr)

In just 3 weeks time, both Russ and I will be on another trip. This time we decided on a different route and signed up for a tour in Europe. This isn’t a typical tour that most would find and is more of a specialized tour called the “Go for Baroque!” tour because of the many 16th century to early 18th century architecture we will be seeing.

The tour will begin 3 weeks from now and cover three magnificent cities –  Prague, Czech Republic (3 days); Dresden, Germany (the Free State of Saxony)(2 days); and finally ending in Berlin, Germany(4 days). Russ and I have extended our visit with an extra day in Prague, before the tour, and 2 days after in Berlin.

As I’ve never been to this part of Europe before, I’m very excited to see what it has to offer. I’m also scared about it as well. This will be the first time in my many trips that I haven’t spoken the native language at my destination. Yes I do understand that English will be wildly spoken, but it is still hard.

As the trip begins in Prague and ends in Berlin, we had to decide if we wanted to book our flights arriving in Prague and leaving in Berlin, or book our arrival and departure from the same city. After much searching we decided to book our arrival and departure from Berlin, which means we had to book transportation from Berlin to Prague. We opted for a nice train ride through the country and since the train is accessible from the Berlin airport, our decision was easy.

As usual I’ll be document our journey via this blog as well as posting photos on my Flickr page.

This will probably be the last big trip for us for the next foreseeable future. I do have one dream vacation that I want to do in the next 5 years and that will require saving up for.