Last summer, in the interest in getting the best possible price on our flights, we chose to overnight in Madrid on the way home from Portugal to take advantage of an Air Canada seat sale. All went well until, in the Madrid-Barajas airport, our names were called over the loudspeaker.
The plane was oversold. By a lot.
They asked if we would consider bumping ourselves off the flight. We paused, looked at each other.
And before we could ask anything, Raphael (who would soon become our best friend in Madrid, heck, maybe in all of Spain) told us that Air Canada would provide us with vouchers towards a future flight in an amount that exceeded any expectations we might have had, would put us up overnight, feed us, and guarantee us a spot on the next day’s flight.
The price was indeed right, and we figured the minor inconvenience was more than balanced given that we were hoping to travel to China this coming summer.
Altogether, seven of us were bumped from the flight.
Although we didn’t get to see much of Madrid that day (outside of the neighbourhood where our hotel was located), we had a fun experience. We got to cheer with the locals and watch Spain’s basketball team go for Olympic gold on a department store television. We were put up in a beautiful hotel, were treated to three course meals for the 24 hours (including a masive welcome meal featuring steak and many bottles of wine), and were generally treated like gold by the hotel staff as well as by Raphael, our go-to guy for Air Canada in Madrid.
Those vouchers have been sitting in our bedroom for almost a year, with the silent tick-tock of the clock towards their expiry (after 12 months) and the higher-than-expected prices of a flight to Beijing….until today.