Another Horrible Experience with Air Canada
I’m not sure why I thought it would be any different this time. If you haven’t guessed this blog is going to be a rant but it is also a true story. As most of you know we travel a lot so the experiences we have are often compared to others we have had.

I had sworn off Air Canada forever about 20 years ago and can’t remember if I had flown with them since then. However due to a number of factors (including the use of air miles) I flew with Air Canada yesterday. It was on the 15 minute puddle jumper from Nanaimo to Vancouver. How bad an experience can it be? Since Westjet doesn’t offer service on this route I really didn’t have much choice other than the painful BC Ferries or Harbour Air and I thought the weather might be a factor (which it was).

Check-In Air Canada Online
I did what I was supposed to do and went on-line to do my seat assignment 24 hours before the flight. I was pre-chosen to seat 13A. Surely there is something closer I thought. Nope my access was only to view the seats from 13 to the back of the plane. Either it’s full or blocking me because I’m using air miles. No big deal! I’ll take seat 13A (which on the diagram shows as the middle of the plane).

Boarding the Plane
I thought the way the “ticket taker” at the boarding gate was announcing Zone 2 now boarding was odd (no takers, but she waited 5 minutes to see if anyone would come up… no-one did). Then she called Zone 3 and so on. All very seriously, loud and overzealous. Remember this is a prop puddle jumper it caps out at maybe 90 passengers so it’s not a big deal who gets in line.

One thing she said during her many announcements was a “reminder row 13 is at the front of the plane”. Odd I thought?? But maybe it was a superstitious thing because of the number. My zone was called and on the plane I went.

On the Air Canada Plane
So row 13 is at the front of the plane… because it faces the back of the plane. Not happy, no communication during the on-line seat selection or in the many announcements prior to boarding. I’ve flown facing the back of the plane before (on a 4 seater from Vancouver to Tofino) and I didn’t like it then and was pretty sure I wouldn’t like it now.

As people are boarding the plane it doesn’t look full so asked if I could move to another seat. “I don’t know yet were still boarding”. Hmmm…OK doesn’t the ground crew tell you if you are full or not? She had a pissed off, I hate the world look so I didn’t bother asking. 

Everyone boarded, the flight was half full and I was able to move into the seat across from me. Row 1 with a window. Because the plane was only half full it made me wonder about my online booking experience?? Why were the seats from 12 forward blacked out online. Surely with 24 hours before the flight Air Canada would open them up. Nope! Even for an extra fee like WestJet does. Nope!

Flying Air Canada
The flight was fine smooth and announced by the Captain as 14 minutes in the air. We left 10 minutes late from the gate, spent 10 minutes on the tarmac in Nanaimo (presumably because we were late and another plane had taken our spot). Once in the air the flight was fine until we got near YVR. Then we did a slow 360 circle over the Pacific Ocean, presumably (again) because we were late (again) and the runways were full with on-time flights. I read somewhere one time that Air Canada has the worst on time record in Canadian aviation. Pretty sure it’s true!

Landed and all was good. I calculated the time from the hotel to downtown Vancouver (via the Sky Train). I was 2.5 hours start to finish. That’s how long it takes when you travel with Air Canada to go on a 14 minute flight. I’ve done the ferry (1 hour 40 minute sail) in less the 2.5 hours to get downtown.

I have to take two one day trips to and from Vancouver Island next week. I’m returning to my favourite method to travel there…Harbour Air Seaplanes. I will take my chances with the weather and change to Helmet if needed. See you never again Air Canada!


We, Jeff and Tara Ciecko of CK Golf write two blogs, one is our 19th Hole Blog where we share personal experiences and the other an Industry Blog where we comment on general business and internet marketing best practices, sales strategies and give golf industry related opinions. We have owned CK Golf  for 9 years and provide marketing, social media and business services to the golf and other industries. As of August 2016 our life and our business is ‘location independent’. Our 19th Hole Blog is about the places we visit and the things we do. If you have any questions or comments, or happen to be in the same location as us please reach out and contact us anytime.