>Also available on The Calgary Herald

Complaining about Air Canada’s crappy service this past holiday season is as common as Albertans voting conservative. But I feel compelled to share something strange that happened on my flight back to Calgary.

My story is similar to thousands of Canadians that were left stranded by Canada’s largest airline (by default). Our flight was delayed because of a missing crew, then half the passengers were kicked off the plane only to be replaced with a different group of angered passengers. (I avoided being kicked off by secretly moving over one seat. Sorry 17A). We then sat on the tarmac for an additional hour because…well they never told us why.

Obviously this isn’t the great customer service, so what did Air Canada offer the Calgary bound passengers of flight AC 113? A complimentary alcoholic beverage at 9:30 in the morning (or 7:30am mountain time.). Even Ralph Klein doesn’t start drinking that early. Anymore.

Now being a native Maritimer, I found this more amusing than alarming. Mostly because for Atlantic Canadians, drinking that early in the morning is reserved for several key life events including: if Tim Hortons is closed, your thirteenth birthday and the day you have to start paying back your student loan. Since this was not one of those defining moments, I passed on the offer of a free drink, at least until they came around for the second time. I chose to enjoy a rye and coke not because I needed to have a drink. But because I wanted to “stick it the man.”

Obviously Air Canada doesn’t want to provide horrific customer service, but truth be told they do more often than not. No matter the time of day, you do have to admire Air Canada’s strategy. If you can’t provide decent service to your customers, why not get them at least a little tipsy? After all, maybe they’ll continue to drink and forget the whole experience. I know I wish I had.

Do you have a horror story from trying to fly this holiday season? Did anyone have a bad West Jet experience? Share your stories in the comments section!

Mike Morrison