wondering about Air Canada Vacations what kind of service they have.
Hi Georgina ~
As far as I know they are a coordinator, a in-house travel agent. They arrange your flight and transfers and hotels, perhaps even destination activities/tours. You're on your own at destination, with a number to call if necessary. If you go in a group of 10 or more, there is a Travel Rep at the destination. They don't guarantee the group seats together on the plane (because they're not Air Canada) or hotel rooms together (because they're not the hotel). They don't really do anything that you can't do yourself.
You might try doing a Google Search for "Air Canada Vacation Reviews" to see what shows up.
They provide the same type of service as most charter vacation companies in Canada like Sunwing, etc. However, they only use Air Canada routes and planes. I personally like that . If you call them, they answer the phone quickly, and they seem to havv good customer service.
One disavantage is you don't get a free meal on a NA or Caribbean flight. As always, check their prices vs the competion. I have seen times when they are very costly compared to others, yet on some trips they have great pricing.Edited: 2:18 pm, January 17, 2013
We've flown to Cuba with Air Canada Vacations 10 times and what Maple G says is accurate. (We don't use them to actually book the trip, having an agent who handles that for us.) The service is comparable to Air Canada flights in-country. Meals (more like snacks) and alcoholic drinks are available for a cost (credit card only). No problems with bringing your own snacks on board (although on our last 2 trips they've announced someone on board had a peanut allergy and to please discard peanuts before boarding). Soft drinks and water are free. On the Cuba route FAs usually speak English, French and Spanish.
A benefit for us in using ACV is that we can get a connecting flight from Fredericton to Toronto or Montreal (which have a much greater range of destinations) at a very reasonable cost when part of an ACV package.
If you have specific questions don't hesitate to post here or PM me.
ronnieEdited: 6:48 pm, January 17, 2013
They are not very consumer friendly.
Their package pricing fluctuates and they will not honour the web prices they post.
They will also not honour incentives +/ price drops anytime after booking,even if it's only a few days after.
If you must use their services, then use another travel agent to book through, as secondary agents will often give price match and drop guarantees
Agree with mapleg and ronniecat.
I have booked both flight-only and packages from Calgary with ACV. Both were really good deals but many times ACV pricing is not the best deal.
I find the ACV website a bit difficult to find the best deals on and usually check tripcentral.ca first (grid style listings including tax/fees and indicate package supplier on the booking page). I will then look at the ACV site with specific destinations/dates/deals in mind and book directly.
The ACV upgrade to executive option is pretty nice.
I have found that the call centre staff are helpful and fairly knowledgeable.
I would warn you to determine if the destinations you are considering are serviced by AC's new "rouge" service. The seating in the regular cabin has been reported as a bit "cramped" (!), the reviews have been mixed. Go to the the Air Canada website to see which routes are Rouge if this is a concern for you--29" seat pitch is not generous. (It is a concern for me.....one of "us" is well over 6' tall.) See: www.aircanada.com/rouge/en/your_flight.html
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I have used ACV foe over 20 years, and while they are not perfect, compared with a lot of other package services, I would rate them high. What is perhaps the best value is the upgrade to Executive Class; no matter how you crunch the numbers if you were purchasing Bc seTs and hotel separately, you could not do any better.
The transfers are usually included but depending where you are, this may not be worth a lot of money.
Ias,for customer service, whenever I have called ACV, they seems good, but I have a fantastic travel agent who works for Travel Counsellors, who takes care of all that, and manages to get me good deals she is the BEST ever.
Other than Air Transat's Club Class, I don't know where else you can get an upgrade with a Canadian package.
As a previous poster mentioned, note the AC Rouge Flights: I believe they do all of Cuba now, a lot of Mexico, St Kitts, Curaçao, some Jamaica, etc. They are totally different from Air Canada regular flights,
We had several awful things happen to us when we flew with Air Canada. I had never gone on an AC Vacation before. The Air Canada website was really confusing, I couldn't figure it out so I booked our trip with the online company we had used before. After the trip was booked, we called Air Canada and after being put on hold for 45 minutes we were told that they wouldn't book our seats for us and they wouldn't tell us if any upgraded seats were available. We were told that we could only do that through the other online travel company. This has never happened to us before. Sunwing and Singnature were always happy to help us when booking our seats or upgrading to Premium Plus, regardless of what company we booked our vacation through. We did book our seats through the online company but they told us however that upgraded seats were unavailable for them to offer to us.
We flew on a rouge plane from Toronto and our trip down to Mexico was okay. We had an empty seat beside us so we felt like we had enough room to stretch out. We noticed that several seats were available in the upgrade section. We used the inflight entertainment service and it stopped halfway through the flight. Even though we told the Flight Attendant about this, it never was fixed and I didn't get to finish my movie. On the AC website they advertised first run movies like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 and Gravity, the actual movies offered were much older and included really old films like Home Alone, Meet me in St Louis and some other movies from a year or two ago. The app was free and people who didn't download it ahead of time were unable to use their devices to watch the movies. They had to rent an AC device.
The trip by bus to our resort was fine and we arrived around midnight. The next morning at 8:20 I got a call from an AC rep telling me I had to go to their meeting at 10AM in a sister resort. I said I wasn't coming, I was ill. The rep using a very aggressive tone told me I had to come and if I didn't I wouldn't have a ride back at the end of my stay...I felt like she was threatening me and then she said I would have to pay $200 to get back. I said no, I'm ill and I'm not coming. After going back and forth I finally said I would try to come the next day. On the next day I had to travel to a sister resort and when I met with a different rep he apologized for his colleague. I had to fill out a return card but amazingly he couldn't tell me the exact time of our pick-up on the following Tuesday. He only knew the approximate time. We found out the time of our bus trip back to the airport ourselves by going into the travel agency room at our resort. AC reps never came to our resort once during our stay.
BTW We liked our resort. It was very nice.
On Tuesday February 11, 2014, our trip by shuttle bus seemed to be going well, until we started to come upon stop and go traffic. My husband noticed that the fuel gauge on the shuttle only had 1/8 of a tank of gas in it. The driver stopped at a fuel station and put another small amount of gas in his tank...probably around $10 worth. The trip would normally take 1 1/4 hours and it took us 2 1/2 hours and because of the heavy traffic we thought there had been an accident. There were a lot of cars stopped along the side of the road with hoods up, probably because they had run out of gas. We asked our driver if he knew what was going on and he said there was a protest. Around 2 km outside of the airport, the road was now down to one lane and taxi drivers lined both sides of the highways with their vehicles.They stood beside the road yelling and waving. At first you thought, that's odd...people on the shuttle thought about taking pictures but decided against it...it just felt like something was really wrong, then you looked ahead and saw lots of riot police with shields and batons waiting at what looked like the bottom of a bridge. It was scary as we passed between the two groups... even though it was only a few seconds...you became very aware just how dangerous this situation could be and you were in the middle between them.. When I got home I searched on trip advisor to find out more information about this and I discovered that shortly after we had travelled by...there was a confrontation between them and numerous drivers were arrested and several people were hurt. If I understood what happened correctly, the taxi drivers tried to completely stop the traffic and the police intervened. (See the Tulum Forum: Major Traffic Disruption There is a video of the confrontation and it has links to newspaper articles but they are in Spanish) After further research I found another report about an incident that happened earlier this year with a protest near an Iberostar also in this area of Mexico and again the police were called. No one warned us about this before we left the resort, yet someone we talked to who lived in Mexico knew about the protest from radio reports and therefore arrived much earlier at the airport in the afternoon in hopes of avoiding it.
We arrived at the airport and our plane left 15 minutes late due to people being delayed by the protest.
Our trip back home was not very nice. A third person sat beside us and the person in front of me tipped his chair back and there was very little room in the seats. I am not that tall but it was very uncomfortable for me anyways. The inflight Rough service worked this time so I got to finish my movie. The same movies were played on the return flight.
We landed in Toronto after 1AM in the morning. I needed a wheelchair due to the long walk within the airport and the AC assistant said that she couldn't help us until the plane was empty and all of the flight attendants had left. I believe she said she had to lock up the plane?? Since we were tired and already the last passengers on the flight and we didn't know how long this would take, my husband said he would push the wheelchair himself. When we got to the luggage area, we were the last ones there and my husband then had to then push the wheel chair with one hand and the luggage with his other hand in order to get to the transportation area because there was no one there to help us.
In conclusion I want to say that Air Canada Vacations should hang their heads in shame. I am very upset. Even though the driver knew about the protest, we were allowed to be put into a dangerous situation and not warned about it. They have terrible service and I can't recommend them at all.
We have just returned from an ACV holiday in St. Kitts. Everything was exemplary -- Timothy Beach Hotel was friendly, well-appointed, superbly staffed. Prompt transfers. Good value all round. Our one major exception to this A+ report card is the Airbus 319 aircraft used on the flight. The seats were crammed into the plane making for an excruciating five-hour flight. There was no option to upgrade to a more accommodating seat, nor was there any warning in advance about the coffin-ship configuration of the aircraft. At 205 cm in height, I was miserable throughout the whole flight. I don't mean just uncomfortable; I mean I felt like a student of Harry Houdini. AC seems to have a monopoly on Canadian access to St. Kitts and knows that we have no options, except a circuitous trip through the US via Miami. St. Kitts is absolutely lovely, so is the Timothy Beach, but the Rouge Airbus from hell is not. Be warned!
That's why it was so cramped - Rouge! I actually avoid destinations in the Caribbean that are only served by Rouge. If you take an ACV package again, try the actual AC flight, and if possible, I would upgrade to Business, which is what we always do. We take the 320 (not a large plane) to Antigua and upgrade to Business; the trip is very comfortable and the service/food are wonderful.
Overall, you cannot beat the package price as compared with booking air and hotel separately, especially if you fly BC.
AC flights go to Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Turks and Caicos, Aruba, Cayman Islands, Matinique and Guadeloupe (maybe a couple more in there). I heard St. Kitts was nice and I looked at that resort as well! Glad your holiday was good overall.