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Friday, December 19th 2014

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YYZ." - Chris Myden

2014
10
December
Air Canada Gift Cards and the Case of the Missing PIN


The backstory:

I'm attempting to use an Air Canada gift card to book a flight. On the back of these cards there is a section you need to scratch off (similar to a Lotto card), to reveal a 4 digit PIN number. The problem is, when I scratched mine (in the middle of booking a flight), I discovered the PIN was only 3 digits instead of 4. I simply used my fingernail to scratch it, so I know I didn't accidentally scratch too hard and remove one of the PIN numbers.

"No problem" I thought, I have 3 of the numbers, so I'll just try guessing the missing number, from 0 through 9. No dice. I tried both in front of and behind the 3 numbers, even though it's apparent the missing number is at the end of the PIN (based on lining it up with another card).

No matter what I tried, the Air Canada booking website would not accept the gift card as being valid. Nor would the 'Check your gift card balance' section of the website. Something is clearly amiss. Time to reach out for help...

Attempt #1 - Calling the number listed on the back of the gift card

1-855-281-1761

"Hello, how may I help you?"

"Hi, I'm having trouble with an Air Canada gift card. The PIN number is supposed to be 4 digits, but mine only has 3."

"I'm sorry to hear that you're having difficulties sir. I will give you a number to call. do you have a pen?"

"Sure, go ahead."

"1-888-247-2262"

"Ok, thanks."

After hanging up, I Googled the number, and confirmed what I already dreaded. It was the standard booking and reservations number for Air Canada. Great.

Attempt #2 - Calling the standard Air Canada booking and reservations number

1-888-247-2262

"Thank you for calling Air Canada. All of our customer service representatives are currently busy. Your expected wait time is ... 45 ... minutes.

Hmmmm, too long to wait while calling on a cell phone. Let's try again, but from Google Talk....

dial...

click (disconnected)

re-dial.... (disconnected)

re-dial again... (disconnected)

Wonderful. Apparently Air Canada doesn't accept calls from Google Talk.

Attempt #3 - Calling the standard Air Canada booking and reservations number from a LANDLINE

After 40 minutes on hold...

"Hello sir, how may I help you today?"

"Hi there, I'm having trouble with using an Air Canada gift card to book a flight. The PIN number is supposed to be 4 digits, but mine only has 3."

"I'm sorry to hear that sir. Let me give you a number you can call. Do you have a pen?"

(bracing for what I know is likely coming next)

"Ok....go...ahead..."

"1-855-281-1761"

"I just called that number, it's the one on the back of the gift card. They told me to call you."

"Sir, try calling that number and explain the situation in detail, they will be able to help."

Attempt #4 - Calling the Air Canada Gift Card Help line, AGAIN

"Hello sir, how may I help you today?"

"Hi there, I'm having trouble using an Air Canada gift card to book a flight . The PIN number is supposed to be 4 digits, but mine only has 3."

"I'm sorry to hear that sir. Let me give you a number you can call. Do you have a pen?"

(sobbing) "Please, it's not the standard Air Canada bookings and reservations number is it?"

"No sir, this is the number for Gift Card Customer Service"

"Ok, go ahead."

"1-800-642-4235"

Googling this number, it comes up as being the customer service number for Michaels.com (the Arts & Crafts chain).

This does not bode well. I really need to learn to start Googling before hanging up the phone.

Attempt #5 - Calling the number given by Air Canada for alleged 'Air Canada Gift Card Customer Service'

"You have reached the customer service line for Michaels..."

(sigh)

Attempt #6 - Calling the Air Canada Gift Card number, again, and asking to speak with a supervisor

"I'm sorry sir, we are only a 3rd party provider and can't do anything to help. You will need to resolve this with Air Canada directly."

Attempt #7 - Reaching out to social media


No response yet.

Update: I have heard back from the Air Canada Twitter team, at least to tell me they're looking into it.


Update 12/19: It's been one week and the @AirCanada twitter team has not followed up with any response.



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