I booked a flight from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Guayaquil, Ecuador with Air Canada. Scheduled layovers in Toronto and Bogota. It was going to be a long day: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. in transit.
But it become even longer when the first flight out of Halifax was delayed for three hours, for no clear reason. The skies were clear, the runway dry, but the plane just did not show. I approached a customer service desk at that point, asking if it would be best, in light of my missed connection, to sort out an alternate travel plan. He said no: they couldn't do that for me until after the Toronto flight was completed and it was confirmed I missed my connection. I arrived in Toronto more than an hour after the connection to Bogota was scheduled to leave, no surprise.
Now, Air Canada only flies to Bogota every other day out of Toronto, so the customer service employee who set out the rest of my trip once I arrived in Toronto (with no cell phone or home base from which to make my own arrangements) had her hands tied in a number of ways. Several fligths through the States with other airlines were booked full. My 13 hour day became instead 30, with connections to Mexico City and Bogota now, and a 5 p.m. scheduled arrival time in Guayaquil. Air Canada routed me through Avianca, a Colombian partner airline of theirs.
It was an awful day. I had no way to contact people to let them know of my changed plans except to pay exorbitant calling and internet cafe rates in the airports. Air Canada did not offer me any food vouchers or ticket upgrades to make the experience easier, though I asked. I slept in the Mexico City airport that night: no hotel room was arranged for me for either of my long Latin American layovers, including eight hours in Bogota airport, the most boring place on earth, where people sit on the floor in the terminal hallway because the waiting lounges are off limits until your specific flight is on the screen as ready to board. There is no bank or ATM machine or even a currency exchange in the whole place.
I fly a lot so maybe I would've just chalked this up to a bad experience. Except, when I got to Guayaquil, I discovered my only checked suitcase had been broken into, and two cameras were missing. I had purchased them as gifts for two kids in Guayaquil I sponsored through high school, whose graduation was my reason for travel. The helpful airport personality who Air Canada thrust me in contact with who stole my stuff even left behind a ripped box, as evidence (so I wouldn't think I'd just forgot to pack them?) Photo attached.
I kicked myself for not carrying them on, of course (but then I'd have had to add them to my own two cameras, books and change of clothes that I packed and carried around for thirty hours).
In conclusion: Air Canada's airport partners steal cameras. Not the best flying experience, and one I'll try not to repeat.