I thought KLM is one of the worst outfits gracing our skies (well, I am excluding US airlines, of course), but I have since discovered that AIR CANADA is by far the worst outfit disgracing our skies. It is basically a state subsidized organization run very much incompetently, and with no concern for its customers. Its customer complaints people churn out message after message generating platitudes explaining why its failings are 'acts of god', 'bad weather', 'name your preferred excuse of the day'.
I failed a few weeks back to get to Hong Kong because 'weather' supposedly prevented my flight to Hong Kong from leaving. It goes without saying, plenty of flights left my airport, despite the 'weather', but hey, AIR CANADA's excuse generating software is routinely up for some unintelligible explanation or other. According to its excuse generating software (presumably sent from an overseas based excuse generating computer) 'bad weather' permitted flights to leave at 6 am, and at 8 am, but the very same bad weather prevented the 7 am flight from leaving. It goes without saying that this is utter bollocks (utter bollocks is a short for 'AIR CANADA customer disservice department's unintelligible explanation').
A friend tried to leave on AIR CANADA for an overseas trip yesterday. The weather was actually really bad, and one would have expected the flight to be canceled. AIR CANADA operates another dysfunctional 'service', one in theory at least informing people (NOT) about flight cancellations. So, he calls em up and asks whether his flight is still scheduled to fly out that day. Dutifully AIR CANADA 'informs' him that his flight is on time and that he should go to the airport. Upon arrival there he's told that there were NO flights that day, due to the bad weather. So, he had to scramble last minute to catch a train to Toronto's airport to fly from there. Reimbursement for the flight not operated? Reimbursement for unnecessary taxi fares to the aiport based on AIR CANADA's advice (ie we are flying)? Of course not. The only thing AIR CANADA is truly good at is a prompt response saying 'weather related' or 'act of god' (the airline's standard response should, of course, be: 'due to our incompetence'). So, my friend got an 'act of god' response in lieu of an explanation for why the airline dragged him to the airport when it hadn't operated a single flight from that airport on that day.
One can only hope that the Canadian government will stop sinking tax payers' money in what is obviously a dysfunctional national carrier (it doesn't seem to carry too many passengers to their booked destinations anyway...).
My advice, avoid booking AIR CANADA at all cost. I won't be boarding its planes again. My idea about boycotting particularly bad airlines is to boycott them for a period of, say, five years, hoping that either they'll be bankrupt by then and out of business, or replaced by a more competently run operator, or that they'd have improved their operations to such an extent that they'd be given another chance. So, AIR CANADA, come January 01, 2012 I might reconsider you. Hopefully though, there is an alternative carrier available to me by then.