Hub and I have avoided travelling with Air Canada (no one calls it our ‘national airline’ do they?). It’s been so long we’d forgotten why. But booking a trip with Air Canada vacations reminded us big time.
We were enticed by the fact the departure and arrival times meant we wouldn’t lose an entire day at the airport and perhaps get caught in flight cancellations. The long list of Privileges on page 243 of the glossy travel brochure helped and the note that our intended hotel – Occidental Nuevo Vallerta – was a property participating in their program was the clincher. Unfortunately, when we arrived, we discovered the Privileges were basically vapour-ware…for a while. I didn’t learn how to haggle in Thailand for nothing! But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Toronto’s Pearson airport resembles Boxing Day at the Eaton Centre on the best of days, but at 7 a.m. On a February winter morning, it’s three times more chaotic. Folks like us – escaping the brush they cold grey days of a southern Ontario winter – are almost giddy at the prospect of sun and warmth.
The check-in lineups were ghastly, snaking back on themselves three or four times behind those steel and black-roped stands. We had lots of time, but when we got to the check-in, we were greeted by luggage backed up four and five deep. The problem? Uh, the conveyor belt had stopped working. The staff at the desks tried their best, but there wasn’t much they could do. We did get checked in, but figured even if our bags ended up in Rio de Janiero, we had a change of clothes in our carry-ons.
Next, at the gate, a request went out for folks to check their hand luggage at no extra charge, because there might not be enough room in the overhead bins. No thanks. Our lunches were in our bags and they weren’t going anywhere.
Now, if you’ve never flown Air Canada Rouge, try to avoid it. Sure the aircraft might be fairly new, but I’ve seen better leg room in a child’s car seat. And the actual seat seems to be made of a piece of plywood wrapped in a couple layers of paper towel.
Unfortunately for me, the rather large woman in the row ahead of me was already in party mode – tight white shorts, tank top with dark bra straps and lots of back boob showing – you get the picture. If I’m being charitable, I’d say her constant fidgeting was due to excitement, but I doubt it.
When the ‘meal for purchase’ was being served, I asked the youngish steward if he could get her to raise her seat back. What did he say? “The woman behind you wants you to raise your seat.” Thanks, Buddy. Of course, as soon as he was gone, she dropped the seat back even further. Poor Hub spent the trip in a modified knees-to-chest yoga pose. Ugh.
But once we got into that super-hot transfer bus to the airport, all of the aggravation was forgotten. For a while….