They said it. They did it.
I wrote a critical report in late June after Porter Airlines diverted a bunch of customers, myself included, from Toronto's island airport to Ottawa because of storms the G-8 Conference. I didn't like their disorganization on the ground in Ottawa late at night after we arrived (the service was awful), and I didn't like that they weren't compensating customers for the cost of hotel rooms, taxis, etc....in Ottawa.
I wrote a column to that effect for the Saturday paper(link), and we posted it online a couple days early. Within a couple hours of the story appearing on our website, Porter chair Bob Deluce sent me an email and said the policy was changing and that Porter would, from now on, compensate people who incurred expenses after a diverted flight.
A couple weeks later, officials said they were contacting folks on board my plane. A couple weeks ago, they said cheques were going out to people who had contacted them.
Late last week, I got a note from a reader who said they'd been given full compensation.
"I just wanted to let you know that Porter reimbursed us for our flight and for half of our car rental," one person wrote. "So we are back to being Porter fans."
(I spent a couple hundred bucks of the Star's money on a hotel and taxi, but I didn't ask Porter for reimbursement, preferring to see how they handled requests for the general public.)
Another person wrote that they got a cheque for their "exact expenses" but that they were "hoping to get some extra compensation for the inconvenience and hassle of the whole situation."
(I doubt it)
That same reader said they know someone "who slept in the airport because they couldn't afford anything up front, and of course, he didn't get any compensation."
That's unfortunate. But it's hard for Porter to reimburse someone when they don't have receipts. I guess they could cough up something for the guy, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
Either way, I wanted to be fair and to give credit to Porter for doing the right thing. Yes, it might've been in part because of public or media pressure, but the final result is one that's much more fair for consumers.CRAZY AIRPLANE SEATS
Don't you love this photo in today's Star of what looks like stand-up seats for future airplanes. I can't tell if this is a joke, but somebody ought to put a stop to this RIGHT NOW.
Can you imagine that for even 15 minutes? Cripes. Airplanes aren't rides at the Ex or Canada's Wonderland, folks. Airplane customers deserve respect, not this.
Debra Black in the Star today wrote that Aviointeriors, an Italian aircraft seat design firm, "has come up with an airplane seat that looks like and feels like a saddle, providing only 58 cm of leg room. That’s well below the amount of leg room found on most airlines, including Air Canada, which has seats that give 81 cm of leg room."
The seat was to be unveiled at the Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas conference in Long Beach, Calif. (how much fun would that be, by the way?) And company officials say many airlines have expressed interest in the seat.
Please, no. A billion times no. If any airline tries it, I saw we all launch a massive boycott.TERRA COTTA TERRIFIC
Thanks to the folks at Cathay Pacific for a nice reception the other night at the Royal Ontario Museum to celebrate the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit. It's a wonderful exhibit of one of the great archaeology/history finds of all time; thousands of clay warriors found in the 1970s by a Chinese farmer digging a well.
There are life-like warriors on display; very chilling, as well as, ahem, some lifelike sexual aids used by women a couple thousand years ago. I couldn't help thinking what former mayor Allan Lamport would think, but that's just me.
Anyway, it's on until the end of the year at the ROM and very much worth seeing.
Cathay Pacific, by the way, is expanding their flights from Toronto to Hong Kong (and back) by two a week, boosting their numbers to 12 flights weekly.
RITZ CARLTON TORONTO DELAY...RITZ LONDON UP AND AWAY
A burst water pipe at the Ritz Carlton hotel site on Wellington St. in downtown Toronto has pushed the
opening back to January of next year, I'm told. They had originally hoped for late this summer, then November. Now it's January. But it should still be a nice addition to the city's growing stock of high-end
They're talking about a 23,000 square foot spa that's being called an "urban sanctuary," as well as lots
of great views and amenities.
As for the Ritz in London, I'm told they did a massive renovation a few years back and have some pretty cool fall deals, including a businessman's special where you get a room, breakfast and a free suit pressing for 260 pounds, about $420. Pretty good for a property with the history of the Ritz. Not to mention the rooms and the decor and the Mayfair setting.
Apparently they have a very strong connection with the Royal Family, being only a stone's throw from Buckingham Palace. The casino in the basement is a former ballroom and looks quite luscious, as does the restored Rivoli Bar.
Rebecca Werner, who does their p.r. in North America, told me today that the hotel tries to stay pretty much the same, with a concierge who's been there 40-plus years.
"It's a very British experience," she said. "At dinner you need a jacket and tie. Even in the lobby there's no jeans allowed" for guests.
A touch of old Britain, indeed.
On a somewhat related note, you might find it interesting that the Ritz London isn't connected in any way to the Ritz-Carlton chain. Neither is the Ritz London connected to the Carlton hotels in London or other cities in the world. And the Carlton hotels in London and other cities aren't part of Ritz-Carlton. Make sense? Perhaps, but understand, also, that the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Chicago isn't part of the Ritz-Carlton chain, either. Instead, it's a Four Seasons property. Crazy, eh?
Thanks to the folks at Maui's Kaanapali Beach Hotel for a brief meeting and a few goodies (I might share the chocolate-covered macadamia nuts with my colleagues here at the Star...or I might not). I'm supposed to stay there in a month or so and can't wait to check out what's been called the Most Hawaiian Hotel in the state.
Check it out at www.kbhmaui.com.