Air Canada Bumps Woman, Misses $10,000 Dream Trip

Air Canada
image: Aero Shots

Recently, I wrote about a family that received $11,000 for giving up their seats on Delta Airlines. The family agreed to voluntarily give them up and cashed in!

On the opposite end of the spectrum you can be selected to be bumped when a flight is over sold. This can cause many headaches, especially if you have a pricey dream trip already booked at the destination you are flying to.

This is what happened to a woman who was supposed to fly with Air Canada to Miami.

The woman, Vicki Russell had booked a Galapagos cruise which she considered the “trip of a lifetime,” according to the BBC.

Russell was supposed to fly from Toronto to Miami when Air Canada bumped her on April 1. The flight was booked two months in advance. The bump had a ripple down effect causing her to miss a connecting flight where she was supposed to meet the cruise ship.

The problem began two hours after checking in and receiving her boarding pass for the Air Canada flight. An agent told her that the flight was oversold and she didn’t have a valid ticket! I’m trying to understand why she was checked if she didn’t have a valid ticket. Something just doesn’t add up…

Russell showed her travel docs and had the tour company e-mail the receipt for her trip to show that her ticket was valid. Regardless, the flight left without her.

Besides the inconvenience of being bumped, Russell claims that the agent was extremely rude.

Air Canada customer service wasn’t of much help. By the time she go to speak with an agent, there weren’t any flights to Miami which would get her to the connecting flight in time.

She filed a complaint with Air Canada the next day. Russell received C$800 ($592US) from the airline.

Russell was supposed to go on a National Geographic cruise which cost $10,00 which was organized by Lindblad Expeditions. The company had been in touch with Russell throughout the situation. Luckily, she’s been rebooked (at no charge). They also included airfare from Miami to the Galapagos.

Air Canada says that the flight was oversold. They claim to have tried to help Russell out by getting her directly to the Galapagos even though she had only bought a ticket with them from Toronto to Miami.

In the end, it sounds like Russell will (or did) get to go on her dream Galapagos trip however with a lot of unnecessary added stress.

10 thoughts on “Air Canada Bumps Woman, Misses $10,000 Dream Trip

  1. Looks like the Aviator Flu is spreading outward from Patient Zero at United, through other domestic US airlines and on up to Air Canada in the Great White North. Perhaps if we quarantine all airline CEOs in stocks on the public square we could contain the contagion? We could then inoculate the CEOs with a serum made from rotten eggs, cabbages and overripe tomatoes.

  2. Booking 2 separate tickets to arrive at an international destination the day before a $10,000 trip is poor planning on her part. I’m sure AC could have handled it better. They could have looked at her overall trip and made the decision to bump someone else. I think the agent probably was rude. Unfortunately, many airline employees just try and pass off the passengers and let another colleague deal with them versus actually getting the passenger where they agreed to.

  3. Shaun- When we book trips, we def try to not book separate connecting flights for same day, although I am considering it for one next year… It seems as though that was the work of Lindblad who made good on the situation.

    Based on what happened with the UA doctor, it doesn’t sound like the airlines take other circumstances into consideration when bumping a passenger. If your name is selected, it seems that you’re screwed.

  4. No othe business in the world is allowed to sell a product that does not exist or had already been sold…which is exactly what airlines do when they overbook flights intentionally. It is illegal to sell anything else in this way and should be for airlines as well. Period.

    1. Thank You ! Finally someone agrees with me. The airline has 100 seats they sell 100 seats and get the money. Simple. But no they want to sell 110 seats (10 of which they don’t have) in case they have people miss the plane, etc. Should be illegal. I don’t say this as some novice, non-business flyer as I fly a lot. Why should I book a plane ticket if there is no guarantee that I’ll get what I paid for?

  5. It is absolutely ridiculous the situations airlines put people in. They need to rethink how they pick and choose who gets screwed over in these situations that are becoming more and more it seams……stress people do not need.

  6. Roxie- I’m not sure of the legality of over-selling but it must be if it is still being done. It does sound ridiculous though.

    JAXBA- That video explains very little. Considering we can’t cancel a flight for free on the majority of airlines, it does sound a bit ridiculous that airlines can sell something that was bought by another person. It’s definitely more complex than that basic video.

    Susan Pierce- It definitely does seem unfair.

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