Yes, it's Election Day. Yes, I'm a wreck. And yes, I've invoked the feminist rallying cry that is Donald Trump's "nasty woman" remark.
But no, this isn't a political post because...I just can't. This election cycle has frankly crushed my soul.
But when Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton a "nasty woman," we all know what he meant, right? He was just DYING to call her a bitch. And we all know what that is -- the privileged male word of choice for undermining smart, powerful women who threaten them.
What does this tell us? It tells us bitches -- and nasty women -- GET. SHIT. DONE. And since Jen and I got back from Canada, I've had to channel my own nasty woman. In other words, I had to do something I absolutely loathe -- battle an airline's customer service department (or lack thereof).
As you may remember, I had a less than pleasant trip back from Quebec City by way of Toronto, culminating with this:
That's my beloved little red roller, which rolls no more since the Air Canada heathens savagely managed to tear an entire wheel off of it. That's the sole of a shoe sticking out.
Too tired from my trek home, I had no agenda in mind other than to amuse my friends on social media by sharing this.
The folks at Air Canada promptly tweeted me the link for making a damaged baggage claim, and the next day, I wrote up a report. I intended on being gentle, but I was exhausted and I was thinking about the baggage fee and the indignity of the trip home, and as I wrote -- what can I say? -- my nasty woman came out.
I am writing because when I arrived in Dulles last night after multiple inexplicable delays and a terrible flight without air conditioning from Toronto, I was greeted with a severely damaged suitcase. Honestly, it's bad enough that you charge a full $25 to check luggage (and 10 bucks to "choose" my seat...which is what I thought a ticket was for), but considering that it's a hard-sided, sturdy suitcase that has managed to endure airports around the world, I'm particularly impressed at the carelessness with which it must have taken to leave a gaping hole in the bottom corner where one of the wheels once was (see attached photo).
I see now via your website that I should have looked for an Air Canada staff member at Dulles, but a) there was no one to be found, and b) I arrived more than two hours after I was supposed to, and I very much wanted to leave and go home. Further, I see that you would like me to return to Dulles and bring my luggage with me, but I live in Baltimore, which is an hour and 20 minutes away from Dulles, and I do not intend on spending even MORE time messing around with Air Canada.
Please let me know what you can do to reimburse me for my luggage, which is now unusable and unfixable. I'm very disappointed in my first time flying with you.
I received an automatic reply that it takes Air Canada a whopping 25 days to sift through these claims. Do they have only one customer service representative on staff? Do they have so many damaged luggage claims that they are always backed up five business weeks? All possible, I thought. So I stayed silent for over 25 days, largely because I didn't WANT to have to deal with it. I hate having to call customer service phone lines. I hate dealing with shit like that. In my opinion, having to talk to customer service people from, say, insurance companies/cable companies/airlines is the actual worst part of being an adult. In fact, I have been known to "delegate" this task to my father who a) enjoys giving customer service reps hell and b) is very good at it.
So I waited. And waited. And well over 25 days later, I wrote them again. Even if I had wanted to call, which I didn't, they LITERALLY have no customer service phone line. As expected, I got the 25-day auto response. I can only assume that the Air Canada strategy is to keep putting you off 25 days at a time until you give up.
I waited a day or two and still...nothing. So I did bring in the big guns -- my father. Even he could get nothing out of them but directions to keep writing. With no direct line to a customer service department, WHO DO YOU ASK TO SPEAK TO?
Having gotten a response on the Twitter before, it seemed the blue bird was my only recourse. Now, I'm not a particularly huge Twitterer. I use it for the occasional random thought that I think is funny and to promote this here blog. But I am fairly lazy about interacting with other Twizzeeters. However, the past proved to me twice that one can get an extremely satisfactory customer service result -- even if you're not trying.
I was just being snarky because I wanted some gummy bears for the flight to London.
And a day later...
I was just being snarky because it took me 45 minutes to find my doctor's office.
So given my unintentional success on Twitter in the past and given the fact that I did get a previous response from Air Canada (useless as it was), I took to Twitter again.
But this time I was relentless.
See that bird at the end? That's the end of the conversation. There was no response. Presumably the Central Baggage Office is a mythical entity.
So I continued.
And I also managed to find the individual e-mail addresses of five Air Canada execs whom I e-mailed. After relaying the entire story to them yet again, I included this scathing tidbit:
Earlier this week, my father called on my behalf and was only told that I should e-mail YET AGAIN. I can't imagine what the purpose of this is beyond Air Canada hoping that people will just get tired and give up. This is unacceptable. You can clearly see that my hardside suitcase was somehow WRECKED between Toronto and Dulles. Again I took to Twitter and was told only that there is a backlog and that I should contact the Baggage Claims Center. When I asked how I got no response. There does not appear to be a phone number or a direct e-mail, and to be honest, I have to wonder if there is a Baggage Claims Center at all.
While I appreciate the prompt Twitter responses, it appears that rather than hiring social media people, it might behoove Air Canada to hire ACTUAL customer service people. I have to tell you, I am a travel blogger and I travel fairly extensively all over the world, and I genuinely thought U.S. domestic airlines were the worst, but you're right there at the bottom with ours. It's unfathomable to me that an airline as big as yours does not have a single customer service line to call and that you would need 25 days to get through your e-mail! Do you know what would happen if I told MY clients that it would take me 25 days to get their e-mails? They'd laugh in my face and I'd promptly lose their business. Which is exactly what you've done regarding mine -- I will never fly Air Canada again and I will tell everyone I know what a bad idea it is. I'll happily pay extra to save my luggage and my sanity at the same time knowing my money isn't going toward bullshit fees like "purchasing" my seat AFTER I've bought my ticket.
Finally FINALLY I received a generic response telling me I needed to provide the receipt of my (four-year-old) luggage, the specs of it, and photos (which obviously I had already delivered multiple times). But I did. I even managed to provide the receipt. And guess what?
Because this nasty woman is getting back on the Twitter harassment grind -- my voice WILL be heard.
-Staci, Nasty Woman Extraordinaire