@AirCanada challenge – 20 days, seven flights – kill me now?



Mummified on Air Canada.

Let’s imagine Air Canada is a good airline.

Do your homework and you’ll discover Air Canada doesn’t suck as much as we think. Don’t believe me? Check out what it’s like to be a frequent flyer on United or American Airlines.

ACs counter service is usually good. I haven’t projectile vomited on the food since the late 1960s. (Or maybe that was BOAC). As a bonus, AC tends to not crash its planes and kill people. (Google ‘plane crashes in Russia’).

Still, it’s not perfect. Air Canada’s public affairs department is clueless and delusional. I frequently, as a CBC reporter, sought quotes for stories and they always failed me. When they did speak, it was crazy talk.

Conversely, the folks who staff the Air Canada Twitter feed are quick to respond and act on complaints. They, evidently, didn’t come from the public affairs department.

Here’s the challenge. Seven Air Canada flights in 20 days. Five with a checked bag. Economy seating. Epic failure or utopia?

Leg #1: Vancouver to Montreal: So, AC switched out the plane I originally booked on for a smaller one. Airbus 320 to the 319. Meant seats got changed. I still got a window seat. My brother got his aisle seat. Sat further away from each other than expected. I’m guessing this made him extremely happy.

Plane is packed, the overhead compartments filled to the brim, but there’s leg room. The barbarian in the row in front has reclined. This always pisses me off.

Flight attendant found a way to save me money on my food purchase, as long as I agreed to buy chocolate. Who could refuse that deal? Since brother is across the aisle, I don’t have to share. Score 10/10. Service excellent. Flight staff cheerful. Left the gate ten minutes early.

Leg #2 Montreal to Quebec City: Arrived at the airport I call Dorval. Which is what I’ve called this airport since I was a child growing up in Montreal. Which I’ll always call this airport. My brother says I have to call it Trudeau airport. This ridiculous practice of naming airports after politicians has got to stop. Because if we don’t we’re going to end up with Mulroney International Airport and Harper International.

Flight delayed for two hours, then cancelled. Then, put on the late flight. New boarding passes issued without hassle. Checked luggage made it. Score 7/10. (Marks lost for a surly customer service rep at Dorval who didn’t want to talk about the delayed/cancelled flight).

Leg #3 Montreal to Vancouver: Check-in fine. Boarding fine. Got space in the overhead bin. Barbarian in row ahead reclined. In-flight service fine. Luggage arrived. Nothing to moan about. Score 10/10.

27/30 – interim score.

Legs #4 & #5: Vancouver to Portland – Portland to Vancouver: Prop plane. Jam packed. ‘Skychecked’ my carry on, so no fighting or crying about overhead bin space. Nothing to bitch about. Score: 10/10 & 10/10.

47/50 – interim score.

Legs #6 & #7: Vancouver to Fort St John – Fort St John to Vancouver: Another packed flight, which I didn’t expect, since oil & gas is in the toilet. Small seats. Big people. Woman next to me and her buddy on the return flight mummified themselves by covering up their heads and faces with scarves, ball caps and a hoodie. I think they were from Alberta. Checked luggage arrived. ‘Plane-ing’ and ‘deplane-ing’ without a hitch. Score 10/10 & 10/10.

  • FINAL SCORE: 67/70. 

I feel like I’ve failed all the Air Canada haters out there.

Next flight: Edmonton on Canada Day. Let’s see how Air Canada performs on Canada’s national holiday.


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