When a good gesture gets slammed

When Canada — actually, the world — was watching the tragic story of three RCMP officers killed on the job in Moncton, N.B., it had people appreciating more the work of men and women in uniform.

As the public funeral for the fallen was held, it saw hundreds of law enforcement personnel from across the country descending on New Brunswick. But how did they all get there so quickly? Air Canada played a big part in it — but not big enough, according to some critics.

The airline reportedly sent two charter flights from Toronto and Ottawa to Moncton specifically so people could get to the area to pay their respects. They also reportedly offered 30 per cent discounts to officers wanting to attend the public service.

People have been blasting the airline on social media for not offering free flights for any officers wanting to attend the service at the beginning of June.

As much as I’ve had my run ins with Air Canada, I have to say that I agree with what the company offered. At the end of the day, it is still a business. It stepped up far beyond what so many other companies did and either tweet their condolences or lower their flag for a few days.

The actions Air Canada took probably did cost the airline tens of thousands of dollars. But to say, “Hey, you’re a police officer. Wanna fly to the East Coast for a few days?” seems a little generous even for the most philanthropic companies.

Had Air Canada sent everybody over there, doesn’t that set the precedent that all other companies should offer freebies? The travellers might need ground transportation, so hit up Budget rent-a-car. They’ll need somewhere to stay, hit up the Fairmont. They’ll need to eat, so hit up Subway.

While I appreciate that people are often justified in their criticism of Air Canada, it does seem like it is asking a lot for the country’s biggest airline to commit to moving an entire industry of people from one side of the country to another. And they’d probably lose money and have to raise their fares and the public would be outraged again.

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