Lufthansa & Air Canada Share their own Near CoDE-Share Miss with Overbooking PR Disaster
In terms of a PR disaster, coming so soon after United Airline's epic PR fiasco with an overbooked flight out of Chicago, this was nothing less than a near miss.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported today that an Ontario, Canada woman, Esther Sinanan, shared the story of how her 50th birthday celebration in Europe was ruined when she turned up with a close friend, Sheila Young, at Toronto Pearson International Airport last week to embark upon a journey to Spain, Portugal and Morocco.
Make a long story short - at check-in at the Lufthansa desk at Pearson they were told that the flight was over-booked, that one of them was on stand-by and that the other wasn't even on the flight manifest.
Lufthansa also reportedly told them that they'd been booked on a code-share flight and that Air Canada would be the operator to accommodate their journey. Canada's flag carrier had no record of their booking, hence all were denied boarding.
Also to make a long story short, a technical communications breakdown has been blamed for the fiasco and that none of the stakeholders - Lufthansa, Air Canada, Flight Centre or Globus, the parent company of Cosmos Tours - has put up their hand to accept the blame.
"The bookings for these customers did not appear in our system so the airport agents had no record to board them. We are investigating the technical cause," Air Canada told CBC Toronto Wednesday in an email.
This tale is likely to rub travellers the wrong way, especially after reports emerged this week that United Airlines, in a desperate attempt to respond to an overbooked Chicago-Louisville flight - ejected an Asian physician from the airplane in order to accommodate off-duty UA staff.
In an ironic twist, Shinanan works at two hospitals in Ontario and is said to have a had a hard time to take time off again to make up for the airline, travel agency fiasco. And by the way - as she works part-time she doesn't receive paid vacation time.