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Thursday, October 27th 2016

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YVR." - Chris Myden

Response from Air Canada: 'Our fares aren't guaranteed'

On Thursday I received a reply from the Air Canada executives regarding the deal to South America via airfare.com that didn't pan out. Here's what they had to say:

Dear Mr. Myden,

Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in our response.

Mr. Myden, I can certainly understand how frustrating it must have been for you to have your booking to Santiago cancelled, especially since you found a good price on Airfare.com.

Please know that Air Canada stands behind the fares we offer, but a specific fare is never guaranteed until the actual ticket is issued. I trust you will appreciate that since many customers are accessing our fares, whether it is via www.aircanada.com, through our Call Centre, or booking with travel agents and consolidators, fares can quickly become unavailable. While the inventory of available seats and prices are constantly being updated, the final price paid can only be confirmed once the ticket is issued. This is standard procedure throughout the airline industry and booking agencies are aware of this.

Regrettably, should the booking agency choose not to issue the ticket immediately, that fare may no longer be available at the time of ticket issue. Respectfully, in these situations, we must direct the passenger back to the booking agency.

While your disappointment is understandable, Mr. Myden, we hope this information will be helpful to you when you make future bookings. We look forward to welcoming you onboard Air Canada when next you travel.

In short, they place the blame on the consolidator site, airfare.com (as I expected they would). And of course, airfare.com points the finger at Air Canada. The end result? It's nobody's fault. It's nobody's fault that for 3 full days people are lead to believe they have purchased an airline ticket, when in fact they haven't.

When people purchase an airline ticket, they're not *just* purchasing a ticket. They're also booking hotels, they're taking time off work, they're dreaming of being there. In 2011, to not have the technology in place to let someone know immediately whether they actually have a ticket or not isn't acceptable in my opinion. Especially when they have a booking code

The Air Canada executives that were contacted:

Lise Fournel - E-Commerce & Chief Information Officer

Susan Welscheid - Senior Vice President, Customer Service

Craig Landry - Vice President, Marketing

Claude Morin - Vice President, Global Sales

To reach an Air Canada exec, the e-mail address format to use is: [email protected]

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5 Responses to "Response from Air Canada: 'Our fares aren't guaranteed'"

    Has mattk been here?
       mattk on March 21st, 2011

    AirCanada is the *worst* company in Canada. I've had such horrific experiences from them. I wish WestJet would fly outside of North America, as I would use them exclusively instead.

    Open up our airways for competition and let the bloated monopoly mess that AirCanada is go under.

    Has J been here?
       J on March 21st, 2011

    I have to agree with Air Canada (as much as it pains me to say) on this one. Having worked in travel for fifteen years, I know all too well that airfares are never guaranteed until the ticket is issued. Once a ticket has been issued, then it's tough luck for the airline if they filed a fare wrong. But before that, fares can (and do!) change at any time. Different fares offer different options on when a ticket can be held untol payment is required, but any good travel agent knows that until a ticket is issued, fares can change. Once a client has put payment on a ticket, it is then the responsibility of the agent (or consolidator) to issue the ticket at that agreed-upon price. The deal is now between agent and client and if the agent doesn't issue the tickets right away, they stand the chance of the fare disappearing and still having to honour the airline's fare they sold the ticket for. Many a night did I work overtime to ensure that tickets were issued for what I had sold them for. At all times possible, I would issue tickets as soon as paid for to ensure that what fare I had agreed to pay the airline on behalf of the client still existed.

    It sucks when this happens, but it sounds like in this case it was airline.com's fault and as the agent, they are who should be upholding the fares they sold. A painful lesson for any agent, believe me.

    Has Chris_S been here?
       Chris_S on March 21st, 2011

    In the end, in a free market, the airline can set whatever price they want, when they want. If it takes 3 whole days for a consolidator to actually confirm the tickets then, then there is no way for them to guarantee the price, especially when it's a mistake like it appears to have been in this case.

    That being said, I have never been able to understand airline fare policies. You would never walk into a grocery store, pick up a jug of milk labelled at one price, and be charged a different price at the checkout. Maybe an oversimplified analogy, but I think it's valid nonetheless, and I don't think you'll ever get the industry to give a straight answer regarding how they set their fares. I've tried...

    Has Angela been here?
       Angela on March 22nd, 2011

    A friend of mine purchased 2 tickets when the message came out for cheap seats to Argentina. The next day her friend wanted to get some as well but was told by Air Canada that they didn't have that price available anymore. She called to complain about it and they told her the price was an error that happened back east at their head office. Whoever sent the price out only listed the taxes and fees but completely forgot to add the price of the ticket. ($900) That's why as soon as they realized they yanked it! Luckily my friend had already printed her tickets so she was lucky and gets to go to Argentina for under 1300 (2 tickets!!). Air Canada will never admit it was their fault but that's what they say happened.

    Has Jill been here?
       Jill on March 23rd, 2011

    Does Air Canada realize we can see right through their lame response!?
    Why is it so rare for anyone or any corporatioin to own up to a mistake ?
    Consumers don't live in the dark ...we're well informed and have some idea of how the system works.
    Once you've selected your flight and handed over your credit card number you've purchased your ticket ....this isn't 1980". You don't have to wait for
    the ticket to be "issued !! Imagine if we emailed them 3 days later and said we hadn't "issued" them payment so we weren't taking their ticket! Argh.
    My advice, avoid Air Canada whenever possible. It's the only way consumers have a voice.

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