Tarick Ali, 47, from Ottawa has been planning his wedding for more than a year. But now “Air Canada is going to ruin my wedding,” he fears.
Ali, along with 200 of his friends and family members, flew to Trinidad from different parts of the world for the special day.
“I wanted it to be absolutely perfect,” Ali, who flew in on Air Canada to his wedding destination on July 3, told Global News on Thursday.
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But for all his meticulous planning, what didn’t make it to the wedding destination with Ali was his luggage — with his wedding suits.
“Everything is bought, everything is ready. All I had to do was show up in my outfit,” he said. “But everything is in my luggage and my luggage never arrived.”
“It’s just absolutely amazing what’s happening. It will ruin everything we had planned,” Ali said.
Ali has called Air Canada every day since arriving in Trinidad, several times some days – to find out where his luggage is – hoping it will arrive in time for his wedding on July 15.
“It’s an absolute nightmare.”
“You will be on the phone for three hours with no answer. No one picks up,” Ali said.
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After getting off the plane in Trinidad, he filled out a form – a standard protocol in the case of lost luggage – and he even traveled back to the airport to check again a few days after his arrival that his luggage had been found, to no avail.
He also checked the status of his luggage online. Word is, the suitcase with his custom-made wedding suit is still sitting in Canada.
“I’ve spent thousands of dollars to get here and quite a bit of money for a suit that’s actually custom made – all the cufflinks and buttons. Everything is perfect for the perfect day,” Ali said. “And it’s not here. And no, we don’t know what we’re going to do,” he said.
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Along with his suit for his reception, he also took the outfit he had chosen for the Islamic ceremony to be held in Trinidad before July 15.
“Both are completely absent from action,” said Ali. “No one takes responsibility. They didn’t call us, they didn’t email us.”
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Another traveler, Marco Rocha, has been planning to travel to Portugal with his spouse and daughter since last November. His Air Canada flight was booked for mid-July 2022.
However, Rocha recently received a “lazy” email from the airline saying his flight was delayed 15 minutes due to bad weather – his flight was not due for another two weeks.
“I find it strange, very strange, that they would know two weeks in advance that bad weather would cause a 15-minute delay,” Rocha told Montreal-based Global News.
With airport horror stories circulating and a flight delayed, Rocha hopes his flight won’t be canceled altogether.
“That’s what I’m worried about,” he said. “My first instinct is that they try to cover themselves in case more flights are cancelled. I’m worried that my flight, my whole holiday, will be canceled due to things beyond my control.”
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“Aviation is a complex ecosystem made up of many independent players, including airports, customs, catering companies, fuel companies, security systems and so on,” an Air Canada spokesman told Global News in response to the ongoing delays.
“All these bodies have to work well and together for the system to work properly. The on-time performance of individual carriers can be impacted by the performance of any of those partners, so we work with all of our partners to improve industry performance,” they said.
WestJet, which has also faced mass delays and cancellations, says, “There remain significant operational challenges specific to and throughout Canada’s aviation ecosystem that are beyond our control and contribute to significant delays.”
“We sometimes realize; Overall we are still not able to deliver the experience our guests have come to expect and for that we apologize. As such, our top priority is to ensure our guests arrive safely at their destinations, as punctually as the current aviation landscape allows,” a spokesman told Global News.
According to Gabor Lukacs, an air passenger rights advocate, Canadian airlines have not met their business goals.
“Canadians should be very concerned,” he told Global News.
“The question Canadians should be asking is why the government is allowing airlines to behave this way,” he said.
On Tuesday, Air Canada and Toronto’s Pearson Airport again took the top spots for flight delays. Air Canada was delayed on 65 percent of its flights, according to the FlightAware tracking service.
According to Lukacs, if an airline cancels or delays a flight for reasons for which it is responsible, it must pay passengers lump-sum compensation under passenger protection regulations.
Although both Air Canada and WestJet say they meet the requirements, Lukacs says these regulations are currently being ignored by airlines and not enforced by the government.
The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has issued 77 warning notices and 15 violation notices with $97,450 in Administrative Penalties (AMPs) related to the Air Passenger Protection regulations since its enactment in 2019.
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