Somewhere in northeastern Romania. Photo taken November 30, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Not sure. We're staying in Chisinau for a week or so.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

First class flying

Air Canada is the largest airline in Canada. It has a wholly owned subsidiary that is a "no frills" airline called Air Canada Rouge.

When I booked our January 1st flight to Spain, I knew that the carrier was Air Canada Rouge. And I knew that Air Canada Rouge does not have a good reputation regarding some things.

But the things that people complain about on the travel forums aren't things that matter to us. And so, when I saw the return ticket price from Ottawa to Barcelona at only $509, we jumped on it. And we didn't (and still don't) care that the flight is with Air Canada Rouge.

All we wanted is to get across the pond the cheapest way possible.

But from reading the review forums, you'd think this was the worst decision ever.

The SkyTrax website of airline reviews and ratings give Air Canada Rouge a rating of 3/10 based on 900 reviews.

Air Canada itself gets a 5/10. Not much better, really.

But wow...if you read the reviews you'd think the plane had crashed. Are people really that high maintenance? I guess so.

The key with any "no frills" airline is to know what you're getting ahead of time, and to know what the rules are. Other than that, some people complain about delays, but if you've done any traveling at all you know that delays and missed connections are very possible...it's all part of travel.

I think these high maintenance travelers would be far better off flying in first class. But that costs a lot of money, right? Well of course it does! Sometimes you get what you pay for!

Surprised by our first class seats on a Copa Airlines flight in Colombia last year.

We've flown first class three times...and each time it was a free upgrade. Sure, it's nice...and it's comfortable. But it's really difficult to justify the price, especially for a shorter flight. I can understand why those who have lots of spare cash do it though...if money is no object, it's a nice way to travel.

But for those of us who aren't independently wealthy...we're quite happy just getting from one destination to the next as cheap as possible. And if that means the seating is tight and we don't get free drinks and there is no seatback entertainment? Then so be it.

After all, you're only on the plane for a short time. Even a relatively long flight does go by quickly in our opinion.

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Really good deal on an HP laptop this morning. All the latest bells and whistles, for a great price...






26 comments:

  1. We have flown first class once and it was a free upgrade, nice yeah but like you we would not pay the extra money,

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    1. I don't think many airlines give away the free upgrade anymore. I know that AC doesn't, we tried a few years ago when we were traveling on our anniversary and the guy at the desk said they couldn't do it anymore but instead he gave us a couple of seats at the emergency exit which gives you more legroom. If we had lots of money we probably would pay the extra but we don't so it isn't an option for us either.

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  2. I flew from Phoenix to Toronto, direct, coach, on Rouge a few years ago, for the first time. No frills means different things to different people. For me seating space does not usually come in this category. The fact that I had empty seat near me made the flight bearable. I would prefer a change of planes rather than a fly Rouge on that leg. An overseas flight will have, hopefully, better seating.

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    1. Swetzel, X2 regarding seating space, especially on a non-stop flight eight hours or longer.

      Dee

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    2. I think that they have to cut down on the size of the seats and legroom so they can pack in more seats for more customers. When they have such discounted prices, they have to get their money somehow.

      We are keeping our fingers crossed that the seating will be a little better for an overseas flight but we have set our expectations low that way we shouldn't be disappointed. ;-)

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  3. First time I ever flew first class, I was coming home from Puerto Rico by way of Aguadilla. "We're sorry sir, but we're overbooked, can we bump you to first class?" Couldn't believe it. Of course I said "Yes!"
    Travelling Companion was NOT amused. I was a once in a blue moon flyer. She flew way more than I, but never got bumped. It was awesome. We've flown first class a few times since then, but unless you can use points or miles or whatever, it's horridly pricey.

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    1. Now that you mentioned your story, I think I remember something similar happening to us as well but neither of us can remember the circumstances or even when. Being the gentleman that you are, I would have thought that you would have given her your seat but I guess all bets are off when it comes to First Class seating, lol!

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  4. I have flown a bunch and I prefer just not to fly.

    Garry

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    1. We both love flying especially when going to a new country but when we are actually in the country we prefer ground travel so that we get to see the scenery along the way.

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    2. Problem is there is so much I can reach without flying I'll never see all of it anyway. So I really have no desire to visit the countries my grandparents ran away from. I am strange that way i know I had a brother and a brother in law that worked for TWA when it was in its prime they and their wives traveled to Europe every year or so.

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    3. Not everyone likes to fly or travel to different countries and there is nothing wrong in that! :-)

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  5. I think you hit the nail on the head. No frills airlines are exactly that - no frills. You just need to realize what you're getting, adjust your expectations accordingly and enjoy the savings. I've flown first and business class a number of times, but work always paid for it. When I fly personally, I'd rather save my money and spend it eating out etc. while traveling.

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    1. Totally agree with you on all your points. When it is "No Frills" and you paying next to nothing my only expectation is that the airplane is safe anything other than that anything else is a bonus. And if you want to have more than you just pay a bit more for what you want, sort of like an "a la carte" menu!

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  6. I would never pay for first class but a free upgrade is always nice:)

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  7. Wow- never happened to us but sure would like it to- although we don't fly too much now that we have the RV- www.oneincomedollar.com

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    1. We always hope that we will get upgraded and we always ask (never hurts to ask) but I think the chances of that happening are fewer and further between, these days.

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  8. I hate air canada for many reasons but mostly due to the large amount of snarky staff. I also fly no frills and happiest when the people who work for the airline are happy too. It makes a world of difference. I put up with AC crap back when I was a travel agent - they have a very long history of treating people poorly. I flew two very no frills airlines this spring, Transavia and Air Europa on our flights to spain in conjuction with KLM and found their staff very pleasant. It is all about attitude :)

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    Replies
    1. If AC's employees have bad attitudes, it's a good bet AC is treating them like crap too.

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    2. Air Canada has always been our least liked airline but the last few years that we have had to travel with them. they have been surprisingly better than we had expected. Maybe we are setting our expectations low when we fly with them and that's why we have found it better not sure.

      Creigh, you could be totally right on that!

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  9. I don't disagree. However, as a frequent flyer, airlines make tons of money at the cost of good customer service. Things cost money and the profit side is geared towards stockholders and CEOs. But they shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water either. In reality, apart from wider more comfortable seats in first class, the rest should be the same for all passengers. I'd be willing to pay $10 more for open bar, a meal when required, and a much better snack. When you think about it, the cost of some perks is minimal. Yes, I too want the best flight when just wanting to get somewhere.

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    1. We have been on some airlines that have had great customer service and we got a great price too. I think good customer service has more to do with how the airline treats them over the actual ticket price. WestJet is considered a low-cost alternative to Air Canada and the employees all have a great attitude and it is usually a very fun trip with them, maybe it is because they are all "co-owners" of the company, meaning they all have shares in the company so they want it to succeed.

      Willing to may more for the items that you want is what is nice about the "No Frills" airlines, you pay extra for only what you want or feel you need to make you feel comfortable rather than paying full price for things that you will never take advantage of.

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  10. Never have flown first class and probably never will. I don't need anything when I fly...no meals, no TV...nothing. Just get me to my destination safe. That is all I ask.

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    1. That would be much like us. We can brings some snacks onboard to eat and we have our computer so if we need/want to we can watch something on that. Like you, just get us there safely and at a great price! :-)

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  11. I always turn my economy seats into first class seats. Heres how. I stop at Walmart on the way to airport and check the bargain bin where they sell cheap pillows. Generally for about 3 bucks you can pick up a nice big fluffy one and presto, any seat is now a comfy first class seat. And just leave the pillow on your seat when you leave. For 3 bucks its not worth dragging with you. Life is what you make of it.

    See you guys soon. The park here is gorgeous in its fall colours.

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    1. That is a great idea for some flights but on some of these "No Frills" ones you are only allowed 1 carry on luggage and usually 1 personal item which is a purse or small backpack/laptop bag so we wouldn't be allowed to bring that extra item with us.

      Won't be long now, hope those colours are still gorgeous for when we get there and that they haven't blown away by then.

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