Air Canada Compassionate Discount

Posted by on August 28, 2010 at 2:22 pm.

My first reaction as I sit here in stunned silence is WTF?

Dear Air Canada, Why even bother to pretend to have a compassionate rate?

I read the webpage on Compassionate Rates from Air Canada and got confused. It seemed to be setting up stipulations that made no sense, unless I cared more about receiving a discount, than getting to my Dad before he died.

I thought, surely I’m reading this wrong, so I called.

I spoke to a lovely fellow on the phone, who seemed to cringe as he told me I’d disqualified myself from their compassionate discount because A) I didn’t call them first and B) I booked a one way ticket because I didn’t know if Dad would die in a day, a week, a month or recover completely.

I guess I didn’t miss out on much. According to their website: “In many instances, a lower-priced fare may be found by shopping online at aircanada.com. Bereavement fares are intended to provide maximum flexibility for passengers who must travel during a time of family emergency but are not necessarily the lowest fares available.”

So I ask – why bother?

I am so much more frustrated with Air Canada now for pretending to have a Compassionate Rate than I was when I didn’t think they had one.

Ironically, WestJet offers the same sort of non-rate, with slightly fewer restrictions. The difference is that it’s easy to find their Bereavement Rate information on their website, it’s worded in a way that makes sense to someone who is panicking about getting there in time and gives a hint as to why a bereavement fare is valuable.

Because of the way WestJet explained everything up front and in full sentences, I’m not nearly as irate at them.

I had to do a search to find the compassionate rate on the Air Canada website. After reading their stipulations set out in corporate-speak, I can’t figure out any value for me to even attempt to get the rate. In fact it sounds like more of a time consuming inconvenience for passengers, like me, who are concerned about their family and getting there in ‘time’.

Unfortunately, I HAVE to fly Air Canada to get home at Christmas. WestJet doesn’t fly to Saint John during the winter. The closest airport they do fly into is Moncton. A hour away from my parent’s… err my Mom’s House, and driving down from Moncton isn’t always an option.

If that’s their MO for gettnig business no wonder they’re in trouble!

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