Crude Observations


Sometimes I write letters.


And it can get me in trouble, but most of the time it just gets me ignored.


I was thinking about this as I sit in the Maple Leaf lounge in YYZ (Toronto) waiting for my flight to take me home and finding myself sucked into doing this blog yet again.


Anyway, back to letters.


Some years back, I was inspired to write a letter to a company named Reckitt Benkiser, which as everyone knows, is the global conglomerate that controls our hot sauce supply – as in they are (were?) the owner of the Frank’s Red Hot hot sauce line (I put that sh** on everything BTW). Why did I do that? Well in the olden times, they had this lid that had a propensity to shoot hot sauce in all directions when it closed. And after the eighteenth (I may be exaggerating) time I got hot sauce IN THEY EYE, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make a difference.


So, I wrote a letter. To the President and CEO. Of the billion dollar company. And you know what? They responded. They let me know that they heard me and that they were in the process of changing their lids to the ones they have today that, conveniently, do not blind happy consumers with vinegar-laden pepper sauce.


I was reminded of this episode recently when I discovered that Air Canada, as part of its re-orientation of flights and trying to manage a post-COVID travel world had elected to rid itself of pesky non-stop flights out of such backwater markets as Calgary and Edmonton to the following undesirable locations: Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Las F-ing Vegas. Look, I know what you are thinking – are they nuts?


That’s what I thought, so as a regular flyer of at least one of these routes, I wrote a letter, to the CEO, which I am including in full in the link below.


Air Canada Letter Feb 2023 v3


Oddly enough, even though I was powerless I the face of the giant corporation and decisions that get made in Toronto or Montreal based on information that I can’t possibly access, my letter did not end up in file 13. Apparently it struck a nerve with Michael Rousseau, the CEO (or, let’s be honest, his assistant) and he let it roll down the management ranks to some of the people responsible for route decisions in this particular area of the country.


So last Tuesday I was treated to a fairy lengthy Teams call with a couple of VP’s at Air Canada wherein they listened to my issues and explained to me in detail some of the factors that had gone into the decisions that were made.


Will it result in any changes in the short term? Absolutely not! I do not have that much power. However, I did feel somewhat empowered by the interaction and there did seem to be a genuine interest in hearing what I had to say.


Why am I bringing this up today? No real reason. But I have flown a lot in the last little while, on a smorgasbord of airlines and, in my eyes at least, the airline industry appears to be pretty healthy right now and choices for Canadians, while different from what we are traditionally used to are in actuality much broader and deeper than they have ever been.


So maybe my complaining, while deeply personal (because I like me those aeroplan miles) is misplaced given that while my preferred airline wasn’t available, there were other, better and cheaper options staring me in the face.


That said, I am a creature of habit and I am in the hole for a big chunk of dough on flight passes that aren’t available to book as advertised so I will expect a little love there.


But – WestJet, Flair and Lynx all provide non-stop service to the US destinations I want to get to. Porter is now flying out of Calgary to eastern Canada and Air Canada will be bringing back their direct flights sometime in the fall. And every one of them seems to be using brand spanking new equipment in the delivery of their services.


And the flights are all full. Which is a good thing.


Finally, if all else fails, I can drive, which has the added benefit of supporting the Infernal Combustion Energy over Elon Musk – making full use of my unadulterated 640 km of range at 120 km/h.


Oh, and as it regards letters – old time correspondence. It works. Sure there are customer service portals that you can send your complaint into the ether through, but nothing gets attention more than a well reasoned complaint to the person at the top of the food chain. Letters are also exciting to receive, like when I got one from Sad Bill. There is even a classic song about letters! And Joe Cocker does an awesome version…


Link to classic song about letters.


So, if you run into a problem, you know where to go and what to do. Write a letter to the boss and you have the best chance of seeing some action. And as tell all my clients while we negotiate deals – if you don’t ask, you don’t get. So ask.


My next letter is going to be to our illustrious Prime Minster, none other than Justin Trudeau, to talk about LNG and business cases. Pretty sure I will get some traction with that one.


Then a letter to the EIA to get rid of their “adjustment” entry on the oil storage report which sends prices bananas.


Maybe a letter to the NYMEX to point out ow useless Henry Hub is as a benchmark.


And a letter to AECO to… I don’t know. Maybe to just make them stop.


I’m sure I can come up with more. Maybe I can make it a whole blog theme.


I wonder if my flight is boarding yet?

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