Canada’s two major airlines


Originally uploaded by moaksey

I like to try new things and that seems to extend to long experiments upon myself.

A few years ago, the little sister, MY, and I took the train from Halifax to Toronto. It was a mind-numbingly long ordeal requiring 20 hours just to get to Montreal. (It’s just a 90-minute plane ride.) We left Halifax at noon and arrived in Montreal at 8 a.m. We spent 12 hours exploring Montreal and got on the overnighter train from Montreal to Toronto. While the 20-hour train was a throwback to the 80s and icky and smelly, the second train was sparkling and new. With the sliding glass doors, good lighting, and new furniture, I felt like I was on a newer starship Enterprise! Geeky, I know.

Our most recent experiment on ourselves was to fly on Canada’s “other” airline, WestJet. I have so far been such an Air Canada fan – Aeroplan member since ’95!! – but I make the cross-country trip several times a year so going WestJet could be a welcome reprieve.

It was on the long-haul flight (4+ hours) where the biggest difference was felt. MY had warned me that the seat on WestJet seemed more shallow so that even if you’re as short as I am, you can feel more of your leg hanging over thin air. Despite having our two seats’ room to spread out and try to sleep, it was horribly cramped. For the first time on an airplane, I felt claustrophobic and slept intensely poorly.

My trip back to Vancouver was on Air Canada and by the luck of the draw (I think a long connection time helped), I had fantastic selection of seats on my second and longer flight. For both flights, I selected the first row in coach after executive class. On the first flight, the two classes were divided only by a curtain so I did not have extra leg room. It was a beautifully refurbished aircraft anyhow (soothing blue) and I was adequately distracted by watching 47 minutes of “27 Dresses”. The second aircraft was not refurbished :S but I had a stupid amount of legroom as a proper wall divided coach from executive class*. While seated, I could extend my legs and still have 8 inches to hit the wall. Even most people in executive class could not boast of so much legroom. I could stretch in my seat, stand up, strike a pose, etc.

I wouldn’t expect to get that seat for most flights that I’m seriously tempted to pay the premium ($20) to reserve a good seat in advance for my long-haul flights. Especially if I managed to get a nice little seat sale on the ticket….

* Had I checked SeatGuru for the aircraft, I would learn that my seat (12K) was considered to be in the Elite selection and normal blokes could not reserve them.

On this day..

One Comment

  1. Michelle says:

    I love SeatGuru! They’re so helpful, especially when you can pick your seat when you book it. I’ve got a long flight coming up and it was helpful…though in Coach it seems as most of the seats are about the same.

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