If you’ve been hiding in a cave over the last week, you are probably not aware of what has been happening in Alberta, Canada where wildfires have destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres and threatened the very existence of Ft. McMurray, Alberta.
If you haven’t been hiding in a cave, you no doubt have seen the harrowing images and videos made possible by social media showing the devastation and the risks that residents took to evacuate their communities.
As part of evacuation, many had the option to fly out of Ft. McMurray rather than risking being caught in traffic with wildfire descending upon them.
For the privilege of fleeing their homes, Air Canada was charging upwards of $4,000 per ticket that normally costs under $100 for residents to depart Ft. McMurray and fly to Edmonton or other nearby Canadian cities. In comparison, Canadian airlines WestJet and Canadian North were flying people to safety for FREE. What was AC’s excuse?
They blamed fare ‘algorithms’ for artificially driving fares higher when their systems saw the increase in bookings. Funny, for such a large airline as Air Canada, you would think there was plenty of advance notice for them to realize what was happening in Ft. McMurray and they would have had ample time to override the artificial intelligence running their reservation systems. After all, much smaller airlines such as WestJest and Canadian North had no problem being proactive and letting people know that they would be evacuated to safety free of charge. There was no reason to extort those that were seeking a way to safety.
Only after a social media blitz that brought AC’s actions to light did Air Canada acquiesce and offered to refund the difference between the ‘Gouge’ Class fares they were selling and what the normal economy fares should have been for flights leaving Ft. McMurray.