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Air Canada slammed again over poor service to Bermuda

What a letdown: customers have criticised Air Canada’s flight service to the island (File photograph)

Canada’s national airline has come under fire yet again after expecting Bermuda-bound passengers flying out of Toronto to divert via London’s Heathrow Airport.

A second Canadian couple contacted The Royal Gazette yesterday to explain how their dream trip to the island turned into a nightmare after Air Canada repeatedly switched their flight itinerary at the last minute — and eventually said that, to fly out on their selected dates, the couple would have to make a detour to Britain.

Regular visitors Deanna and Dale Rumohr, from British Columbia, were scheduled to fly to Bermuda on July 11 for a seven-night stay. The couple, who describe Bermuda as their “favourite place in the world”, were married here in 1991 and wanted the island to be the destination of their first overseas trip after several years of lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Their vacation involved a hop, skip and jump flight from their regional airport in Cranbrook, British Columbia, to Vancouver, followed by a connecting flight to Toronto, where they would fly direct to Bermuda, arriving on July 12.

But while driving to Cranbrook’s airport, Dr Rumohr and her husband received a text message from Air Canada explaining that their flight to Vancouver had been cancelled because of a shortage of air traffic controllers.

Arriving at the airport, they were told that they could still get a flight to Vancouver — if they were prepared to make a five-hour drive to an airport in Calgary.

The determined couple took to the road once more in an effort “to save the vacation”.

But an hour into their drive, they received another text message from Air Canada.

Informing them that their second flight to Vancouver had been cancelled because of “technical issues”, the couple were told that they had instead been booked on a United Airlines flight out of Calgary that would get them to Toronto, via San Francisco, California — provided they could get to Calgary Airport within 50 minutes.

Arriving at Calgary long after that flight had left, Dr Rumohr was told that she and her husband could still get to Toronto — if they were willing to fly via London. The delay meant shaving 2½ days off their seven-night trip.

At that point the dogged couple gave up.

Yesterday, Dr Rumohr said that although Air Canada had offered a compensation package, they had yet to receive any refund, even though Canadian airline regulators stress that compensation payments should be made within 30 days.

She added that, because all transactions with the airline had been made electronically, she had no record of her bookings or cancellations.

She said: “We love Bermuda — it’s our most favourite place in the world — and we wanted this to be a special vacation, our first since the Covid pandemic.

“We wanted to come, and we wanted to spend money, but it would seem that both we and Bermuda have lost out because of Air Canada.

“We never received an e-mail as proof of purchase for tickets — it’s all done off Air Canada’s app — and now there is no record of our trip on that app. There is no information there at all. It’s as if we didn’t book it.

“We are also out of pocket on our accommodations and other excursions that we pre-booked.

“We understand that more than 50 per cent of Air Canada flights were cancelled or delayed this summer, yet the company is still making profits — despite all of their nonsense.

“We still desperately want to come to Bermuda, but will never fly Air Canada again. We usually fly out of the US, but Air Canada ticket prices were substantially cheaper this spring. All I can say is, buyer beware.

“We are yet to see any compensation.

Last month The Royal Gazette revealed that one Air Canada customer was forced to cancel her trip to the island after the airline insisted that she could only get to Bermuda via a detour to London’s Heathrow Airport.

In response, an airline spokesperson apologised for the mishap, saying that the London route “should not have been offered”.

Yesterday, The Royal Gazette e-mailed a series of questions about the latest episode to Air Canada’s media office.

No response was received by press time.

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Published August 14, 2023 at 7:53 am (Updated August 14, 2023 at 7:39 am)

Air Canada slammed again over poor service to Bermuda

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