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I'm supposed to be 2+ hours into a flight right now. But apparently I'm not allowed to have nice things, and Air Canada needed to go for a clean sweep. Ten (!) hour delay this time! The mind boggles.

BTW, even though they had my email address and (local) phone number, there was no contact. I knew I couldn't print a boarding pass at the hotel and Internet there was kind of expensive anyway, so I didn't see it before I left. (Though I don't know if it was even posted; someone behind me in line said he had checked a couple hours earlier.)

They wanted to put me on a combination that would get me home around noon tomorrow. I asked if they could do any better and explained the urgency. After more than three hours of standing in lines I have a flight through Newark that gets me there around 8AM. And, learning from history, I confirmed that if that connection fails, there's another flight an hour later. They claimed to be unable to put me on the El Al flight leaving at 4PM for bureaucratic reasons, grumble.

This may surprise some given the comments in another thread, but most of the agents I've dealt with here have been polite. (One seemed to have no respect for the queue, though; she kept pushing me aside because I was going to be here all day anyway, but I didn't want to be in her Internet-deprived office all day! Sheesh.)

I came to the airport hoping to get an upgrade as partial compensation for the difficulties they caused on my trip here. Instead I'm begging for a flight home a mere 10-12 hours late and, of course, I'll get whatever seat nobody else wanted (middle, I assume) and I have to assume I won't be able to eat the meal and plan accordingly. I will be contacting Air Canada's customer service when I get home, and frankly, I want a full refund. This is freaking ridiculous.

I'm done with Air Canada after this. I might also be done with Israel; we'll see when I calm down more. It is too frustrating to try to get there and back from Pittsburgh. At the very least I am done with solo major travel.
Air Canada went for the hat trick, I see. Yeesh. I dislike air travel at the best of times (mainly because I simply don't fit comfortably in most of their seats), but your trip to and from sounds like a pretty bad experience.
I didn't like air travel before this trip; now I feel even more strongly that it's a bad idea.

Part of the problem is the intercontinental aspect, to be sure. If a flight to, say, LA were delayed, I'd probably be able to get another in a couple hours. There are a lot fewer flights to Israel, and presumably Europe etc, so that means fewer options for recovery.

Edited at 2012-07-05 06:53 pm (UTC)
That sounds über-frustrating. I'm sorry you've had such an ordeal....
You were probably better off traveling solo. It's often tougher to find two (or more) seats on alternate flights.

What compensation you should get depends on the cause of the delay. If they can plausibly claim weather (e.g. the incoming flight having been held up by storms), they don't actually owe you anything. But mechanical delays or crews who time out are considered to be their fault.
For the first flight (leaving Pittsburgh) they claimed bad weather in Toronto (so no point in taking off), though when I saw sunny clear skies on landing I commented to one of the ground grew that it seemed to have cleared up quickly and was told it had been nice all day. Anecdotal, but that's all I've got there.

For the long delay in leaving Israel, word on the street was mechanical difficulties, but I never personally heard an Air Canada rep state a reason.
The sunny skies on landing may not mean they were lying. There could have been weather along the route.

I had a delay leaving Cincinnati last week, though it was clear both there and in Washington, as the pilot needed to get a new routing to avoid thunderstorms.

At any rate, I suspect that if you write to them they will offer you some discounts on future flights. It sucks, but their contract of carriage (which you agree to by buying a ticket) pretty much just says they have to provide transportation between points A and B and doesn't say anything about timeliness.
I am so sorry they treated you so badly.
Grah! You'd think you'd used up all the stupid-travel points on the way out.

I can understand why you'd avoid Air Canada after this, and even solo travel, but I'm not sure why about Israel, other than the non-directions-giving of the locals you posted about. I hope it's merely spillover....
(Fwiw, when I was there, I didn't have issues with getting directions from people; no clue why there might be a difference.)
Yeah, I'm really wondering what I did to rate this extra karmic attention. I'm a nice person! Really! (And remained polite and professional when dealing with them, even when they didn't return that courtesy.)

A full answer to the Israel thing will have to wait until after Shabbat. In the sheirut to the airport I was already mentally composing a post about that, but then things happened. I found Jerusalem to be a frustrating city in many ways, and while it's a nice place to visit, I'm not sure it's nice enough to be worth the hassle of getting there. Maybe with a buddy; definitely not going alone again.

It is possible that when it comes to navigation and spoken foreign languages, I'm just stupid. I don't mean that in a self-deprecating way; I know I'm smart in a lot of ways, but these are both especially important in Jerusalem and I seemed to be having more trouble than others, and it frustrated me. More later, I hope.
::waits to read more after Shabbat::
Not ignoring you, but this turns out to be more complicated than I thought. Still processing.
No worries; it's still after Shabbat :-)
Ugh! What a great way to discourage customers. BTW the agent who pushed you aside was rude and emblematic of the problem. An organization can only screw up that badly if it has a culture that permits it. That agent is clearly part of Air Canada's disfunctional culture.