Calgary couple outraged as Air Canada cancels Hawaii flight without notice

Calgary couple calls out Air Canada after discovering their flight to Hawaii no longer exists

“A Calgary couple is calling out Canada’s largest airline after they showed up for a flight that, despite receiving confirmation only days earlier, was no longer a route in operation.

Jim and Sharon Sherlock booked a trip with Air Canada‘s Aeroplan points from Calgary to Vancouver to Maui back in March. On Oct. 12, they said they got a confirmation that the flight was going ahead, but when they arrived at the airport, there was a surprise.

“We got there and obviously, we’re pretty excited,” said Jim Sherlock. “And the ticket agent went on to tell us – after a while — that there was no flight from Vancouver to Maui. There hadn’t been for some time. At least not with Air Canada. I was really upset and really frustrated when she basically tried to blow us off and said, ‘You’ll have to deal with Aeroplan on this.'”

The Sherlocks pointed out the two companies are in fact, one. They also pointed to their tickets and the flight confirmation email that they had received just two days prior. But they said the airline would not budge. The couple said it was forced to book two tickets to Maui with Air Canada competitor WestJet and decided to worry about getting compensation once they got back to Canada. But they were stonewalled and told the airline was not to blame as their itinerary had changed and they had been notified.

“They told us we had been booked on a flight from Calgary to San Francisco to Maui. But we definitely never got anything like that,” Jim said. “They just lied. We never received anything to go through San Francisco. Nothing through United at all.”

According to the Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency), the backlog currently exceeds 62,200 complaints and some passenger rights advocates don’t expect that number to go down anytime soon.

Air Passenger Rights president Gábor Lukács told Global News, “The number of complaints continues to soar. The government is not dealing with the root cause of the problem.”

Lukács said the government needs to crack down on the airlines, something he said, it was given the go-ahead to do earlier this year.

In a statement, Air Canada said: “During the aftermath of the devastating Maui fires and in consultation with local authorities there, Air Canada cancelled its scheduled flights to Maui for several days while Maui first responders to focus on recovery. Air Canada operated several emergency evacuation flights out of Maui during this time to bring Canadians home.”

The Agency told Global News it launched on Sept. 30, a new complaints resolution process with simplified steps and clear legislated timelines. In that new process, Complaints Resolution Officers or CROs are Agency employees. They deal with the entire dispute resolution process, which is expected to reduce processing times. It added it has already hired and trained 50 or so CROs and will double this number in 2024 as well as: Designing a new digitalized complaint management system; Creating online materials to assist passengers with the new process; and launching a new online portal for industry and passengers to more easily and efficiently manage their complaints.

Air Passenger Rights has been pushing for consumers to actually take the airlines to small claims court instead of the CTA.

Jim Sherlock said angrily, “The airlines can do whatever they want now. There is no responsibility to the public and they really do not care.”

Despite the changes being made, critics believe that the government needs to do more to address the root of the problem and hold airlines accountable. As complaints of this nature soar, the public is left to question not just what happened to the Sherlock’s, but also the accountability of the airline industry as a whole.

This incident has the public concerned about the level of accountability and transparency that airlines owe to their customers. How many other travelers have been left in the lurch and what meaningful steps are being taken to rectify this issue? These questions, among many others, must be answered comprehensively and without bias.”



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