Let me back up to Wednesday morning when we were first able to "check in" online for our 9:00am Thursday flights from Ottawa to Toronto and Toronto to Regina. At that time, our seat assignments for the first flight from Ottawa to Toronto came up normally. We had seats side by side and on a larger jet that had economy seating three rows on each side with an aisle in the middle.
But on the Toronto to Regina leg of the trip, I noticed that things seemed abnormally "full". In fact, when the system tried to assign seats, it put Ruth in an upgraded seating section with no extra charge, and me in a single seat in the economy section at the rear of the plane.
When I saw how few seats were available, I cancelled check in all together. That still left us with our assigned seats though, because we couldn't reverse it once it was assigned.
When we arrived in Ottawa, it was a foggy start to the day...
Foggy morning in Ottawa.
We got on an earlier flight than what had been planned from Ottawa to Toronto, and that was fine. We arrived in Toronto and got ourselves settled at the next gate. Some time went by, and eventually Ruth went to check on getting some food for us. While she was doing that, an announcement came from our gate agent saying that our flight was oversold and they were looking for three volunteers to go on a later flight.
I was up in a flash. I left our bags alone right where they were and I went straight to the gate agent. I said that I had two tickets that we were willing to give up for a later flight. At first, the guy said that we would be offered $400 CAD vouchers to be put on the 4:00pm flight, but he quickly realized that the 4:00pm flight was also sold out in economy. He called his boss and asked if we could be put in business class, but the boss declined on that.
Then, I said that we would be quite happy to fly tomorrow (Friday) morning. The gate agent heaved a sigh of relief and said "that flight is wide open, and we'll give you $800 each in vouchers plus a hotel room" He asked if we were still interested.
"Yep. That's fine"...I said, trying to keep my enthusiasm muted.
There was no negotiation involved. We were happy, and so were they. I spoke to the gate agent afterwards and he said that sometimes they actually have a hard time finding people to volunteer. We don't get it.
Funny enough, there was only one other woman from economy who came forward. She wasn't happy with the $400 voucher offer, and chose to keep her seat. But a guy from business class came forward and accepted the $400 offer and flew on the next flight out.
Everybody was happy.
They gave us our new boarding passes for Friday morning, and I went to the customer service counter to pick up our vouchers. What a deal... $800 each to spend towards another flight, and they are transferable if we wish (with some conditions). You can't put them towards taxes, so we still have to pay the taxes and fees on any flight that we choose.
The woman who gave us the vouchers and hotel coupon was not the most cooperative. It almost seemed like she was trying to get away with reversing whatever had been offered to us. Anyhow, I kept a smile and stood my ground.
She gave us the two $800 vouchers, a one night hotel stay at the Radisson Suites Hotel near Toronto airport, and lunch and dinner coupons worth $50 in the hotel restaurant and upgraded seating for our 8:00am flight Friday morning.
There wasn't any kicking and screaming from us! What a deal! We can't figure how anybody wouldn't accept something like this. No negotiation on our part at all.... we were totally happy with what was being offered.
Made it to our hotel room at the Radisson...
And so, we had to try to figure out what to do with our new found time in Toronto. We decided not to go to downtown. It would have cost either $12 each on the train (each way) or minimum $14.00 on city transit in rush hour traffic. We've been to downtown Toronto many times before, so we just decided to go for a walk.
Every day in Toronto.
Lots of construction, even near the airport.
Some kind of hawk.
This is the same bird. He flew to the top of the hydro pole.
We walked almost 10 kms (6.2 miles) of urban roadways near the airport. Not the best scenery, but we needed some exercise!
Had dinner and a couple of drinks at the hotel restaurant and ended up out of pocket $20. Not bad, but it was way overpriced. Good thing Air Canada paid the better part of the bill!
Good deal on new towels...