Travel

Air Canada cancelled flight between Toronto and HK in March

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 19th, 2020 3:45 am
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Aug 3, 2006
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cheapshopper wrote: I try to see if they can move her to Feb 28/29 flight, which is still direct flight. They cancel all "Direct" flight in MARCH. Her booked flight is Mar 1.
Just keep calling Air Canada Reservations. It took me 1 hr 45 min to get through. Put your phone on speakerphone, turn up the volume and go do something else while you wait. Don't forget to ask Air Canada to waive their change fee due to the circumstances. I have a flight in April and already made backup plans to travel elsewhere.

So much hostility on RFD.
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A secret for us elites who abandoned AC is to call out-stations. Have her - or you - call the AC office in Hong Kong, or Japan, etc., where you should have a faster pickup time if it's open.
- Absolute
[OP]
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Jan 31, 2007
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Based on comment here , I think most people didn't read the REASON of WHY they cancel the "Direct Flight" and WHY I have issue with this change.

My issue is not because they cancel those flight, the issue is WHY they cancel them.

If the reason is to control the virus, I am 100% in support of this action.

However, it is NOT. AC do this just to protect their profitability.

The only reason they cancel those direct flight is to "Consolidate" all the passengers of flying to Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, etc all into single flight to Vancouver, because the demand is lower now.
This is 100% just for their benefit, NOT an action to benefit public safety.

All I want to get to their customer service is to see if there are seat on flight like Feb 27, 28, 29, etc that we move to it.

I have friend got to CS yesterday, he been told his direct flight on Mar 9 is cancelled, but they Don'T know which flight they will put him on.
It MAY OR MAY NOT be the same day, he will only be notify 72hrs from his new flight that which flight they will put him on. It could be Mar 7, it could be Mar 8, , It could be Mar 11, It could be Mar 14. No one know. Again, he will have 72 hours notice.
So, it mean: I just change your return flight to whatever we have room because I want to protect my profit, I set the date of your travel, take it or leave it.

Now how is this acceptable?
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Oct 7, 2007
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webshark wrote: All flights in that area of the world should be grounded until they figure out this virus.
I heard an expert on the radio yesterday saying that if everyone in the affected areas were to quarantine themselves in their homes for 14 days (and strict quarantine meaning NO chance of exposing anyone else to the virus during the period except for the people they live with), then the virus would be finished in 14 days. Now, I also started seeing stuff yesterday saying the incubation might actually be 24 days but I think the same logic applies.
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cheapshopper wrote: Based on comment here , I think most people didn't read the REASON of WHY they cancel the "Direct Flight" and WHY I have issue with this change.

However, it is NOT. AC do this just to protect their profitability.

Now how is this acceptable?
I think most (or some of us) do understand, but don't know what you want to accomplish, beyond venting. Sure, it's done for their profitability - happens all the time with airlines. Out of YOW, UA suddenly cancelled at flights to Chicago for a year for profitability. Now, they're bringing back less Chicago flights in March, and ending all service to Newark. For people who booked flights on those days, it means getting extra transfers, new dates, etc.

How is it publicly acceptable? The airline is accountable to their shareholders, who would raise hell and cause issues if an airline didn't protect it's profit - that would not be acceptable to them, to run profit loss routes. @superfresh89 gave you that answer in the very first reply.

How is this allowed? Because you said they could do this. In your Contract of Carriage / T&C's, you're to be flown from your origin to your destination. Even your dates are _not_ guaranteed. If you want to dive into it, they clearly state they're allowed to make changes to your itinerary, the type of aircraft, timings, etc. Depending on the duration/type of the change, you may be able to make free changes or cancel for a refund. Or, this is where Credit Card / travel insurance is important.

You are NOT guaranteed a direct flight when you buy a ticket - as I mentioned, origin to destination is what is covered.
cheapshopper wrote: All I want to get to their customer service is to see if there are seat on flight like Feb 27, 28, 29, etc that we move to it.
It doesn't seem to be the case - your replies also focus on "how can they do this", not just asking for tips and tricks on how to get through to them.

AC hold times for non-elites have been averaging around 2 hours since they switched their reservation systems back in November. In fact, most people are disconnected after 2.5 hours.

Try Twitter, calling the foreign customer service numbers like I asked, or keep going on hold. Yes, AC has terrible customer service, but it's been that way for months, the new system, weather, virus, etc., have all made it worse, but none of us on here can help you change your trip.

EDIT: At least it's better now, for weeks after they implemented the new reservation system, if people called up with flights a month or two away, they were told that CS was only helping people with travel in the next few days, and to call back later on closer to their flights. Plenty of news articles and public outcry about it, but of course nothing was done.
- Absolute
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Feb 28, 2006
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Absolute wrote: I think most (or some of us) do understand, but don't know what you want to accomplish, beyond venting. Sure, it's done for their profitability - happens all the time with airlines. Out of YOW, UA suddenly cancelled at flights to Chicago for a year for profitability. Now, they're bringing back less Chicago flights in March, and ending all service to Newark. For people who booked flights on those days, it means getting extra transfers, new dates, etc.

How is it publicly acceptable? The airline is accountable to their shareholders, who would raise hell and cause issues if an airline didn't protect it's profit - that would not be acceptable to them, to run profit loss routes. @superfresh89 gave you that answer in the very first reply.

How is this allowed? Because you said they could do this. In your Contract of Carriage / T&C's, you're to be flown from your origin to your destination. Even your dates are _not_ guaranteed. If you want to dive into it, they clearly state they're allowed to make changes to your itinerary, the type of aircraft, timings, etc. Depending on the duration/type of the change, you may be able to make free changes or cancel for a refund. Or, this is where Credit Card / travel insurance is important.

You are NOT guaranteed a direct flight when you buy a ticket - as I mentioned, origin to destination is what is covered.
Can they do this? Yes. But should we just bend over and take it? Big companies likes to pull this kind of shit all the time, it's not customer friendly. Normally if we buy something, it's a mutual agreement, if one side decides to unilaterally change the conditions of what you buy, that's usually unfair. It's not that consumers like it, it's just that we have no choice.

To be honest, this cancellation was half-assed. If it's to control the virus, well anyone can still get to Toronto via Vancouver and Montreal, so that doesn't do it. If it's profitability, I'm sure that despite lower demand, it's not at zero, they don't have to cancel every single flight in March, they probably lose money cancelling all flights. I think they just don't want to deal with the outrage with why you cancel mine and not theirs if they do partial cancellations.

Yeah none of us can really help OP with his problem. But it's a forum, I think it's nice to share, and there may be someone who's dealing with the same problem.
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2004
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cheapshopper wrote: Based on comment here , I think most people didn't read the REASON of WHY they cancel the "Direct Flight" and WHY I have issue with this change.

My issue is not because they cancel those flight, the issue is WHY they cancel them.

If the reason is to control the virus, I am 100% in support of this action.

However, it is NOT. AC do this just to protect their profitability.

The only reason they cancel those direct flight is to "Consolidate" all the passengers of flying to Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, etc all into single flight to Vancouver, because the demand is lower now.
This is 100% just for their benefit, NOT an action to benefit public safety.

All I want to get to their customer service is to see if there are seat on flight like Feb 27, 28, 29, etc that we move to it.

I have friend got to CS yesterday, he been told his direct flight on Mar 9 is cancelled, but they Don'T know which flight they will put him on.
It MAY OR MAY NOT be the same day, he will only be notify 72hrs from his new flight that which flight they will put him on. It could be Mar 7, it could be Mar 8, , It could be Mar 11, It could be Mar 14. No one know. Again, he will have 72 hours notice.
So, it mean: I just change your return flight to whatever we have room because I want to protect my profit, I set the date of your travel, take it or leave it.

Now how is this acceptable?
You are lucky that the flight hasn't been cancelled outright yet. I think it should be. All direct flights to China are already cancelled by Air Canada. It's inevitable that Hong Kong should also be cancelled being effectively a part of China. The US has already banned all flights from China and most American airlines have also cancelled all Hong Kong flights.

The world and ongoing crisis is bigger than your petty complaints inconvenience. I pity the airlines who have to deal with such selfishness and ignorance of world issues.
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2004
4354 posts
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Calgary
quantized light wrote: Can they do this? Yes. But should we just bend over and take it? Big companies likes to pull this kind of shit all the time, it's not customer friendly. Normally if we buy something, it's a mutual agreement, if one side decides to unilaterally change the conditions of what you buy, that's usually unfair. It's not that consumers like it, it's just that we have no choice.

To be honest, this cancellation was half-assed. If it's to control the virus, well anyone can still get to Toronto via Vancouver and Montreal, so that doesn't do it. If it's profitability, I'm sure that despite lower demand, it's not at zero, they don't have to cancel every single flight in March, they probably lose money cancelling all flights. I think they just don't want to deal with the outrage with why you cancel mine and not theirs if they do partial cancellations.

Yeah none of us can really help OP with his problem. But it's a forum, I think it's nice to share, and there may be someone who's dealing with the same problem.
Air Canada is a private airline with shareholders to protect.

Be thankful we have a clown PM who is thinking more about his image than worrying about protecting Canadians as best as possible. Air Canada is doing what should be a federal government decision, but we have a weak leader.

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Deal Guru
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Dec 20, 2003
11062 posts
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Ottawa
quantized light wrote: Can they do this? Yes. But should we just bend over and take it? Big companies likes to pull this kind of shit all the time, it's not customer friendly. Normally if we buy something, it's a mutual agreement, if one side decides to unilaterally change the conditions of what you buy, that's usually unfair. It's not that consumers like it, it's just that we have no choice.

To be honest, this cancellation was half-assed. If it's to control the virus, well anyone can still get to Toronto via Vancouver and Montreal, so that doesn't do it. If it's profitability, I'm sure that despite lower demand, it's not at zero, they don't have to cancel every single flight in March, they probably lose money cancelling all flights. I think they just don't want to deal with the outrage with why you cancel mine and not theirs if they do partial cancellations.

Yeah none of us can really help OP with his problem. But it's a forum, I think it's nice to share, and there may be someone who's dealing with the same problem.
I don't disagree at all - companies get away with these things because people aren't willing - or in such a large country with few transportation options, able to - boycott them to force change. They're big, one of the only options, and they knew it. It's why those new "Canadian Air Traveler Rights" were written the way they were; the original versions protected PAX, the final versions have the airlines fingerprints all over it. Fairness doesn't matter to AC - look at the CBC articles about those same passenger protection rights, where a husband was given money due to a delay, while they told his very own wife on the same flight that it wasn't eligible for compensation. Kinda a comedy, if it wasn't screwing over customers.

You're right about the publicity and outrage they want to avoid, but regarding the conditions of what the OP bought, as I mentioned, they state in there that the airline can make whatever changes they want, providing they get them from point A to point B. Those conditions aren't fair - they're legal-speak and burried deep, but it wasn't a change of agreed upon conditions.

I'm all for the OP posting, but that's why I wrote only after the OP said "All I want is to get their customer service". If the OP said they also wanted to vent, see if someone else experienced the same thing, wanted to confirm AC can legally do this, or ask for ways to publicize the issue and speak to journalists, etc., then awesome! If the OP did only want that... then our approach of advising them of ways to contact AC, and how they can legally do this (so they don't get AC on the phone, and claim it's illegal, not allowed, etc. which would immediately cause the CSR to hang up or invoke their legal department for protection) has accomplished their goal.

I'm probably more biased, spending more time on planes and dealing with airlines than most people on here, where I've seen how little we can change as individuals, and that the best policy is to talk to the CSR as friends, asking for help, and ensuring you don't talk in anger/frustration or ask them to do something impossible.
- Absolute
Deal Addict
Jun 15, 2015
2538 posts
1691 upvotes
Mississauga, ON
cheapshopper wrote: Based on comment here , I think most people didn't read the REASON of WHY they cancel the "Direct Flight" and WHY I have issue with this change.

My issue is not because they cancel those flight, the issue is WHY they cancel them.

If the reason is to control the virus, I am 100% in support of this action.

However, it is NOT. AC do this just to protect their profitability.

The only reason they cancel those direct flight is to "Consolidate" all the passengers of flying to Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, etc all into single flight to Vancouver, because the demand is lower now.
This is 100% just for their benefit, NOT an action to benefit public safety.

All I want to get to their customer service is to see if there are seat on flight like Feb 27, 28, 29, etc that we move to it.

I have friend got to CS yesterday, he been told his direct flight on Mar 9 is cancelled, but they Don'T know which flight they will put him on.
It MAY OR MAY NOT be the same day, he will only be notify 72hrs from his new flight that which flight they will put him on. It could be Mar 7, it could be Mar 8, , It could be Mar 11, It could be Mar 14. No one know. Again, he will have 72 hours notice.
So, it mean: I just change your return flight to whatever we have room because I want to protect my profit, I set the date of your travel, take it or leave it.

Now how is this acceptable?
I think you underestimate how many logistics come into play when it comes down to cancelling a route. I am not disputing or making excuses for the inconvenience it causes but I don’t think you see the bigger picture.

#1. The Corona Virus is fluid situation and completely unforeseen - NOBODY knows if the situation will improve OR if the worst is yet to come. Will this be next week? 2 weeks from now? Or a month from now? Nobody knows. Hence, at some point a decision needs to be made to include travel dates which unfortunately has affected you.

#2. Regardless of the present situation in Hong Kong keep in mind the flights (including the direct flight in question) is not full of passengers who’s final destination is terminating in Hong Kong. That flight is sold with codeshare agreements and allows passengers to connect onwards in HKG ... that CAN include (but is not limited to) mainland China and/or neighbouring countries.

#3. The demand to travel to Asia is far from its peak right now- heck there’s has even been a decline in demand for areas far removed from Asia (believe it or not as close to home as the US and Caribbean). Will people still travel ...sure. Will others put plans on hold and go elsewhere... naturally.
3b) On the flip side Chinese Tourists (including those in HKG) are in the millions and are also affected given they are being barred from entering a growing list of countries. Your direct flight back to Canada may have had a group of 150 tourists who have now cancelled as well (just an example).

#4. Having said this, to operate a flight on large expensive equipment with a quarter of the capacity is very costly. But also rebooking / refunding passengers $$ adding additional staff to handle the administrative things behind the scene costs money too. And yes, it comes down to money but that can be said in pretty much any business practice out there regardless if it’s a service or a product (product doesn’t sell? End production).

#5 I have quite a few family and friends who are crew members (both captains- first officers and cabin crew). It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find staff to work these flights as going back to my first point - nobody knows the situation tomorrow or next week. You can argue that this job always had it’s risks- but there are people who can’t taken risk or are not willing to.

In regards to your friend not being given an actual departure day. Keep in mind in these situations there are dedicated staff who are handed lists of thousands of passengers affected by the affected flights. Priority is always given to passengers travelling within the next 7 days. I would advise your friend to wait closer to the departure day as his affected travel date is still 3 weeks way. Does it suck? Sure. But again with a situation like this things can change drastically day to day.

I would suggest adding “wheelchair assistance” and “meet + assist” to your mother in law’s booking. It’s pretty seamless as she will be escorted off the aircraft and Fast tracked through immigration and taken directly to the gate for her return flight. In the event of any delays - cancellations she will also be assisted.

Edit*** not defending AC as everything I’ve mentioned above applies to ALL airlines (and I believe there’s several) who have cancelled / reduced their schedules serving main land China & Hong Kong.
[OP]
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Jan 31, 2007
2517 posts
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Richmond Hill
Update: I finally got the CSR on the phone. It was on hold from 9am this morning tIll 2:40pm.
I am more lucky than my friend. The CS told me yes the Mar 1 flight is cancelled and they are trying to rebook me to the flight either Mar 1 or Mar 2 connect via Vancouver.
I ask them: Could you please check is there any open seat on Feb 28/29 flight direct to Toronto, which is BEFORE the Mar 1 effective date. He did, found me a seat and rebooked me on Feb 28. So problem solved.

I know a lot of people here mix up cancel direct flight vs ban people travel from China / HK. As I mention before, i have no issue if they ban the traffic from HK or enforce she need to be inspect/ monitor for 14 days.
My issue was they change the route at their will just to protect their profit. Yes, under T&C they CAN do this, but doesn't mean is right thing to do. Plus HOW DIFFICULT TO GET TO THEIR CUSTOMER SERVICE.
4 hrs yesterday, just to get hang up when connected with CS.
5 hrs 40min today.

Lucky i work from home and I just continue my work / conference call when I was on hold.

Now problem is solved.
Last edited by cheapshopper on Feb 13th, 2020 3:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Bright side of RFD: 4 X Koodo $40/8GB plan
Dark side of RFD: Tons of stuff that I don't need but still got them because of RFD
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User avatar
Nov 28, 2007
3075 posts
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cheapshopper wrote:

All I want to get to their customer service is to see if there are seat on flight like Feb 27, 28, 29, etc that we move to it.
Yes there are seats on those dates. I just checked on-line so no need to hassle CSRs.

A return trip coming back Feb 27, 28, 28 is about $1,542. Could you book that and forget the first leg? Or could you book a HKG > YYZ > HKG and abandon the return leg.

But, what were the terms of your Mom's ticket. Was it the cheapest with no cancellation or change options without a fee? Just change it on-line and pay up and don't try to tell AC how to run their airline.
[OP]
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Jan 31, 2007
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Richmond Hill
Marzipan wrote: Yes there are seats on those dates. I just checked on-line so no need to hassle CSRs.

A return trip coming back Feb 27, 28, 28 is about $1,542. Could you book that and forget the first leg? Or could you book a HKG > YYZ > HKG and abandon the return leg.

But, what were the terms of your Mom's ticket. Was it the cheapest with no cancellation or change options without a fee? Just change it on-line and pay up and don't try to tell AC how to run their airline.

She is already at HK since Nov 2019, this is her return flight. I didn't hassle the CSR, I know it will be more useful if I ask nicely for their help, which they did.
See my last update. I finally got to CSR today after 5 hrs + on hold and change the return flight to Feb 28, and they willing to waive the change fee.
******************************************************
Bright side of RFD: 4 X Koodo $40/8GB plan
Dark side of RFD: Tons of stuff that I don't need but still got them because of RFD
******************************************************
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 28, 2007
3075 posts
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Whitehorse, YT
cheapshopper wrote: She is already at HK since Nov 2019, this is her return flight. I didn't hassle the CSR, I know it will be more useful if I ask nicely for their help, which they did.
See my last update. I finally got to CSR today after 5 hrs + on hold and change the return flight to Feb 28, and they willing to waive the change fee.
Looks like you bought a cheap ticket and got around the terms of the ticket. Now, hope not, but what if Mom has to go into quarantine for 24 days? Do we have to make an exception?

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