Although I’m usually lucky enough to get business class when I travel to Europe, domestic travel is always in cattle class. In order to help dull the pain, I pay a fair amount of money every year to for a "Maple Leaf Club" card with Air Canada. This allows me to use the lounge and executive class check in facilities. It’s been a good deal but I’m starting to think about whether it’s worth renewing next year.
I got to the airport in Toronto this morning with plenty of time to check in, go to the lounge and then wander down to the gate. Or so I thought. There were about 30 people in line waiting for one harried Air Canada agent. I finally got through and heading off to go through security. It was hell but that’s not Air Canada’s fault.
Got into the lounge without problem and immediately noticed a few things:
- Coffee machine out of order
- Real glass glasses had been replaced with plastic. Not only is this wasteful but it sure sends an incredibly cheap message to your best customers.
- The entire lounge was messy. Lots of staff standing around, just no one doing anything. Where are the supervisors?
- The men’s room (usually a treat when compared to the standard terminal facilities) was out of toilet paper and messy. Hello? Doesn’t anyone check these things on a regular basis?
The flight was fine. Flight deck was unusually chatty which is always a good thing. Watched Caddyshack and had a good laugh and saw some incredibly high thunderheads which were stirred up by Hurricane Ike. Left rainy Toronto and landed in sunny Vancouver.
Air Canada, you’re letting the beancounters ruin what was once a proud, great airline. You’re sacrificing decades of goodwill to save a few bucks. I know times are tough but you need to think these things through. And don’t even get me started on your Jazz affiliate pulling all the life vests off their airplanes. Somehow the phrase "penny wise and pound foolish" is stuck in my mind and won’t go away.