Air Canada
Mistreatment by Air Canada Cargo

Calgary, Alberta
21 September 2012

Air Canada

Subject: Mistreatment by Air Canada Cargo


I have a complaint about the treatment of myself and my two cats by Air Canada Cargo. We were supposed to travel on AC81 from Lima to Toronto and Calgary on 11 September 2012 at 1:40 am.

I arranged the shipment of my 2 cats 6 weeks in advance of this flight. Air Canada Cargo in Lima does not arrange cargo itself but I was recommended Pompeyo Cargo S.A. in Lima by an Air Canada Cargo attendant to handle the shipping of my cats. The cats were booked on this flight AC81 and flight AC 125 from Toronto to Calgary and I booked and paid for my ticket with the same flights 6 weeks in advance.

The day of the flight, I brought my cats to the warehouse of Swissport in Lima at 12 pm. They were weighted again and I paid the charges with Pompeyo Cargo that afternoon. All was arranged and the cats were waiting in the warehouse to be shipped to the airplane at night.

During boarding about one hour before the flight, I was told by an Air Canada attendant that my small cat would not be shipped. I was told this with a straight face and I was also told that this was nothing to do with Air Canada but this was Air Canada Cargo and we can’t do anything about this. In other words, sorry, we can’t help you, sort it out yourself.
Horrified, I applied pressure to the flight attendants to find a solution as this situation was not acceptable. I lived in Cusco for 1.5 years and was moving back to Canada with my 2 cats and am told that one of them can’t ship? What is this? What am I going to do? What is going to happen with my cat? I can’t leave her behind. I know no one in Lima and she would be sitting in the warehouse and no one would be there to get her out of the warehouse. She would die. Clearly, that was of no concern at all to Air Canada.

To their credit, the flight attendants tried to find a solution. Air Canada Cargo was asked if they could leave a package weighing 7 kilos behind so that my small cat could ship with me and my other cat. She weighs 4.5 kilos, perhaps 6 or 7 including the kennel. This was not possible. Air Canada Cargo was not willing to find a solution. Finally the boss of the stewardesses or flight attendants said he would ship her in the luggage compartment. This was someone willing to help. I sat in my chair in the airplane for 20 seconds and I was called out of the airplane. I was told that my cat could not ship. Air Canada Cargo was insisting my little cat would not ship. Image that. My cats are my family, they are like my children. They are living feeling animals who are capable of suffering just like you and I. Would you say to a family: sorry, your 10 year-old daughter can fly with us, but your 5-year-old daughter can’t fly. We have to leave her behind. She is sitting on the tarmac. Sort it out.

I cannot leave my cat behind so I had to leave the airplane. My suitcases were unloaded and my other cat was unloaded out of cargo again. My cats were taken back to the Swissport warehouse where they arrived 4 am. I had to go back to customs to have my exit visa cancelled.
The flight crew gave me a new reservation for 13 September. I would fly with my small cat with me in the airplane under the seat and my other cat would fly with the luggage. This was to avoid any involvement with Air Canada Cargo and to ensure that my cats this time would ship.

Peruvian customs would not release my cats. Peruvian documentation procedures are extremely lengthy and onerous. There was no paperwork for my cats as the papers were on their way in the airplane to Toronto, minus me and my cats. Because of a lack of paperwork, customs would not release my cats. In this case, a special resolution would be necessary and that would take a month. Customs would actually insist on this and expect my cats to sit for a month in the warehouse, without any thoughts to practicality or suffering of animals and the owner. Much like Air Canada Cargo. Pompeyo Cargo did some fancy talking and footwork from 7 am until 4 pm to get my cats released. Upon release of my cats at 4 pm, they had been in the warehouse for 25.5 hours.

I have a letter from Air Canada Cargo that says that my cat could not be shipped because of an excess of weight and number of pets per flight. I heard, but don’t know if this is true, that Air Canada gives preference to passengers with pets over cargo. Someone showed up with a little dog. How on earth is it possible that while I arranged the shipment of my cats 6 weeks in advance, another passenger can show up and one of my cats is refused? This boggles the mind.

This treatment by Air Canada Cargo is entirely unacceptable. This is no way to treat your passenger and her animals. This treatment is draconian and without heart. It may be easy to do this for Air Canada Cargo as they did not have to face the customer. That was left up to the flight attendants.
Please do not say to me that this is an Air Canada Cargo rule. I was not aware of this rule and even if it is, the rule needs to be changed. You need to deal with your customers and animals in a reasonable and compassionate way. If this is the rule, change it because it doesn’t work and causes much suffering. If this is the rule, it is unfair and unreasonable and you need to find a better way to serve your customers as this doesn’t serve them. This treatment is the height of arrogance and insensitivity to your customer and her animals and basically gives the message that you don’t care what happens with your customers, and you don’t care what happens with animals. They are not dead cargo, carton boxes without feelings, they are alive and feeling and suffering.

I expect and insist you pay back the expenses I had to make because of this treatment. I also insist you pay more for emotional and physical damages to me and my cats because of this experience. My cats were traumatized and lost more weight than necessary because of this situation not to speak of my own traumatization and stress when told my little cat would not be shipped and would basically be left behind on her own to die if it had been up to Air Canada.

This treatment is entirely and utterly unacceptable. I will be filing a complaint against Air Canada that is accessible to the public.

I await your response.

Offender: Air Canada
Country: USA   State: All USA
Address: POB 14000 Station Airport Dorrall Quebec WY H4Y-1H 4 Canada

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