Friday, August 15, 2003

Is the massive power outage on the east coast causing you any grief?

I am sitting at my desk as I have been for the past hour and fifty-one minutes, an unseen shackle keeping me from venturing too far from my seat. What is this shackle? My position in the phone queue.

Due to the outage, the missus, Banana and McMonk had their summer holiday flight cancelled out from underneath them. I've been on hold, waiting to re-book their cancelled flights and get them on their way to Ontario. At least I think I'm on hold. There hasn't been any hold music or queue notification messages. Even some muzak would be nice to let me know I'm not on a dead circuit.

Air Canada's customer service is currently stressed to its limits, and it shows. The website, although pretty, hasn't been helpful at all other than to give the information that "all flights cancelled until we get our sh*t together". The phone lines were jammed this morning - we couldn't get through to as much as a recorded announcement after 15 minutes of calling and calling. So, we went out to the airport. Big mistake. 36 hours worth of cranky, sleep-deprived travelers being forced to stand in line. We joined the queue there just in case a flight opened up. After standing for 30 minutes, what do I see but a food services worker with a cart, making her way down the line handing out coffee, tea and soft drinks. "Ah, a glimmer of hope," I think to myself. "Air Canada is making an attempt to placate these poor, weary travelers."

When the woman reached our spot in the line, she meets my grateful glance and quips, "Just so you know, this isn't complementary from Air Canada. There's a charge. Do you still want something?"

Sigh. Too bad, Air Canada. You are blowing this one big time. You had a chance to shine during a crisis. You blew it.

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