Tarick Ali, 47, of Ottawa, has been planning his wedding for over a year. But now, “Air Canada is going to ruin my marriage,” he fears.
Ali, along with 200 of his friends and family members, flew from different parts of the world to Trinidad for this special day.
“I wanted it to be absolutely perfect,” Ali, who flew to her July 3 wedding destination via Air Canada, told Global News on Thursday.
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But, despite all her meticulous planning, the thing that didn’t reach Ali’s wedding destination was her luggage – wearing her wedding suits.
“Everything is bought, everything is ready. All I had to do was show up in my outfit,” he said. “But it’s all in my luggage and my luggage never arrived.”
“It is absolutely mind-boggling what is happening. This is going to ruin everything we had planned,” Ali said.
Ali has called Air Canada every day since arriving in Trinidad, multiple times on certain days – to try to find out where his luggage is – hoping it will arrive in time for his July 15 wedding.
“It’s an absolute nightmare.”
“You will be on the phone for three hours with no answer. Nobody picks up,” Ali said.
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He filled out a form after getting off the plane in Trinidad – standard protocol for lost luggage – and he even returned to the airport to check again if his luggage had been found a few days after his arrival, without success.
He also checked the status of his luggage online. He says the case with his custom wedding suit is still pending in Canada.
“I’ve spent thousands of dollars to be able to come here, as well as quite a bit of money for a suit that’s actually custom-made – all the cufflinks and buttons. Everything is perfect for a 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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Also packed in the luggage, apart from her costume for her reception, her outfit was chosen to be worn during the Islamic ceremony which was to take place in Trinidad before July 15.
“Both are completely missing.” Ali said. “Nobody takes responsibility for it. They didn’t call us, they didn’t email us.
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Another traveler, Marco Rocha, has been planning to visit Portugal with his wife and daughter since last November. His Air Canada flight has been booked for mid-July 2022.
However, Rocha recently received a “shady” email from the airline saying her flight had been delayed for 15 minutes due to bad weather – her flight was not due for two weeks.
“I find it strange, very strange, that they knew two weeks in advance that bad weather would cause a 15-minute delay,” Rocha told Global News from Montreal.
With airport horror stories circulating and now a delayed flight, Rocha hopes her flight won’t be canceled altogether.
“I’m worried about that,” he said. “My first instinct is that they try to cover themselves if other flights were to be cancelled. I am worried that my flight, my whole vacation, 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, refueling companies, security systems, etc.,” a spokesperson said. Air Canada to Global News in response to ongoing delays.
“All of these organs have to work well and together for the system to work properly. The timeliness of individual carriers can be affected by the performance of any one of these partners, which is why we are working with all of our partners to improve industry performance,” they said.
WestJet, which has also faced massive delays and cancellations, said: “There remain significant operational challenges specific to the Canadian aviation ecosystem and across the Canadian aviation ecosystem that escape our control, which contributes to significant delays.
“We sometimes recognize; collectively, we still fail to deliver the experience our customers expect and we apologize for that. As a result, our number one priority is to ensure that our customers arrive safely at their destination, as on time as the current aviation landscape allows,” a spokesperson told Global News.
Canadian airlines have failed to meet their business goals, according to Gabor Lukacs, an air passenger rights advocate.
“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 claimed the top spots for flight delays. Air Canada has seen 65% of its flights arrive late, according to tracking service FlightAware.
Under air passenger protection regulations, when an airline cancels a flight or delays a flight for reasons within its control, it must pay passengers a lump sum compensation, according to Lukacs.
Although Air Canada and WestJet say they meet the requirements, Lukacs says these provisions are currently being ignored by airlines and still not enforced by the government.
The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has issued 77 warning notices and 15 tickets with $97,450 in administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) regarding the Air Passenger Protection Regulations since their inception effective in 2019.
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