Pique n your interest 

Canada $689.08

Before I bought and paid for a round trip ticket home to Toronto this Christmas, someone really should have told me that Canada 3000 was in financial difficulty. I think I had a right to know before I shelled out $689.08 for a ticket home for Christmas that I may never be able to recover.

That’s not the way a business operates, of course – if they had told people they were in trouble, people would have stopped flying their airline to prevent the misery I’m currently going through. In that case Canada 3000 would definitely have gone down the tubes, instead of just "probably."

It all came down to the same thing in the end. No more flight for me, or for the thousands of other travellers who are stuck with tickets. Over 4,800 employees are out of work, and people are stranded around the world waiting for the other half of their return trips to materialize. It’s not fair.

Even if I get a refund, it will probably come too late to book another flight. If I don’t get a refund, my Christmas is effectively cancelled.

The real question now is where did that money go? To one of Canada 3000’s many creditors? To the employees? Did it wind up in the back pocket of one of the companies’ directors before they resigned? Is my money going towards green fees?

Or do I own $689.08 worth of a jet airplane? Can I walk into their closed head office, grab a computer and walk out the door?

Or is it simply gone, vanished in a trail of paperwork and red tape?

I called my credit card company, assuming that the ticket would be insured or that they were holding onto my money like an escrow until the transaction could be completed, e.g. I get off the airplane in Vancouver on Dec. 28 after spending a pleasant week with my small family.

I even have a Gold Card, and pay an extra $100 a year for a load of little extras – I seem to remember that insurance was one them. I didn’t bother to get extra flight insurance, but then I don’t think it’s available when flying charter – all tickets, according to my receipt, are non-refundable.

The nice lady at the credit card company told me to contact my travel agency. In the meantime, she told me send a letter and a copy of my plane ticket to the credit card company to be added to the list. In the future, the company would try to recover costs of their cardholders through the bankruptcy process, and the sale of company assets – pardon my cynicism, but that particular process doesn’t sound all that fast. It could be Christmas 2006 before I see a dime.

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