United Airlines in San Diego
We have been planning this trip for MONTHS. On all the tourism and travel websites that were out there, they all said that if you are an american citizen, all you need is your drivers license to travel to Canada. In fact, John and Russell were traveling in Quebec, Vermont and Montreal this past fall and they were driving back and forth across the border all up in that muthafucker and all they needed was their licenses. In short, there's no way that after all this research that we'd just purposely leave important documents just because.
When we get to the United counter here in San Diego they were downright HOSTILE towards us because we didn't have other documents. First they didn't want to book us, then they were going to do it after they consulted among themselves and then their manager told them to give us our passes, but that they needed to write a note on the computer saying that whatever happened was our fault, they weren't responsible if were turned around at the border. Then they were STILL rude and nasty and one of them went as far as telling my buddy Russell, 'You know, Canada IS a foreign country. At one point or another you WILL need a passport.' No shit, Sherlock. However, EVERY site we've been at says the contrary. Here's a snippet from the Tourism BC website:
"Notice to US Visitors
US passports are not necessary at this time to visit British Columbia or other parts of Canada. The proposed Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative has not been put into effect yet."
So fine, we go through all that but we are still amazed at how nasty they were to us. I decide to dig through 411 and get the number for the Canadian Consulate in L.A. I finally get an operator and she unequivocally confirms that yes, in order to travel into Canada you need to have your license AND a government issued ID such as a passport or birth certificate. Only those two will do. Do you think it would be nice if other sites would say that? I think so too. Since we were at the airport early, John and Russell hopped on a cab, got their stuff and then they came back.
We get boarded on the plane. Once all the passengers are seated, United decided that now would be a great time to change a tire on the plane. This caused us to be about 40 minutes late and miss our connection in San Francisco.
United Airlines in San Francisco
It would've been nice, since we were going to be late for our connection, if United had placed SOMEONE (an agent, a stewardess, a customer service person) to at least tell us which gate we were supposed to go or to try to get us on the earliest flight, but NOPE. Nobody was there. We had completely missed our flight and nobody was there to help us get on the other one. Since we're going to Canada and we saw on the board that the next Air Canada Flight was going to leave like...THREE or FOUR hours later, we haul our shit the 20-25 minute walk to the international terminal and the Air canada counter. The incredibly useless woman there (you'll know why she is useless in a minute) told us that, 'Oh no, we don't have any flights going out. All the other flights going to Canada are at United." Never mind that we got our tickets at Air Canada and maybe she could've looked it all up or something but no. Off you go. So we walked back the 20 or so minutes to the Departure section and United where the lady there told us that the 'codes' on our tickets were for Air Canada flights and that Air Canada had to 'give the flights over' to United. So there was nothing she could do. The Air Canada Cunt should've looked at our reservations and done what she needed to do but she didn't.
We were going apeshit. We demanded that someone took responsability and it actually seemed like these ladies at the San Francisco United Terminal were just improvising and seeing what they could do to help. Did I mention that at least six other people were in the same predicament? Oh yes. So fine, the lady does her mojo and we get boarding passes for the uber late flight into Vancouver. Did I mention that we got to San Fran at around 6 PM and that there WAS an outgoing United flight to Canada at about 30 or so minutes later and that we WOULD'VE made that flight if someone would've helped us? So, fine. Off we went to Vancouver.
United Airlines in Vancouver
We finally get to Vancouver and we discover that our bags are missing. They should've followed us to Vancouver, but they did not. We go to the baggage section. We fill out reports. We find out later that if the airline messes up and losses your baggage and you are staying more than one night at that location, that they are supposed to give you a complimentary toiletry bag. Of course, at the time, they did not. We were told very vague information as to when would the bags show up. Maybe noon, maybe in the evening, of the NEXT day.
We get to the hotel. Try to make the best of it. We are without baggage, some of us without toiletries. And we have to spend at least a full day like that. During the day, John was calling Air Canada's customer service and United's customer service groups located in Mumbai or whatever the fuck Egypt they are. From their screens some details began to surface: our bags got lost in the shuffle because the baggage numbers from one airline to another got botched up, the bags got as far as San Francisco but didn't get further the United employee in Vancouver that took our claim should've done the legwork to get them there earlier, but didn't. Nobody was taking responsability. We couldn't speak to anyone in the actual baggage areas at any airport.
Finally the bags show up, one day and a half later.
Both United Airlines and Air Canada SUCKED at taking responsability for their actions. Nobody was helpful, nobody did what they were supposed to do. They fucked up part of our trip and nobody cared about us, our baggage or our trip.
As far as I'm concerned, I will do my best never to fly with either airline in the future.