Lough Leane as seen from Killarney National Park, Ireland.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Killarney National Park, Ireland.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Back to the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Our flight with Sunwing

I do a lot of research into travel prices and deals. One name that comes up consistently when I'm searching for a great travel deal out of Canada is Sunwing. So when I saw a fantastic price to get us from Toronto to London, England, we jumped on it!

With any travel, when you come across a deal, you have to make a quick decision because prices often change from day to day, so we actually booked this trip way back in February. We paid $99 for the first ticket, plus $49 for the second. Of course both Toronto and London have high airport taxes and fees so by the time we added all that up, we paid $655 for the two of us to fly one way from Toronto to London. A great price, however I did notice that we could have booked last minute for around $299 each. But that would have been taking a chance, and we were happy with what we got.

So, how did our flight go? Well, overall it was very nice.

Checking in for our "Elite Plus" seating.

You can upgrade your seating to get extra legroom for $70 per seat. This also allows you to avoid standing in a long check-in line when you get to the airport. In our particular situation, there wasn't much of a line either way so that was nice. They had enough check in staff on hand that it wasn't an issue. And we had arrived at 8:00pm for our 10:00pm flight. That turned out to be lots of time.

The Sunwing Airlines check in area.

One of things we've learned is that different airlines have different regulations regarding luggage. So you ALWAYS have to read the fine print regarding what you are allowed for both carry on and checked baggage. We purposely had our Heys ePac17 Roller backpack  in order to meet the carry on requirements of most airlines, however Sunwing has a strict 5kg weight limit for carry on items, and we were closer to 10 kg each. I have no problem with this, and it is clearly stated in the luggage requirements. But it did mean we had to check our bags. 

So off our bags went to luggage neverland.

There was no wait to get through security and in minutes we were at the waiting area for our flight. First thing I noticed was that the plane at our gate was not marked as "Sunwing".

Our airplane had the markings of "euro Atlantic".

It turns out that Sunwing sub-leases their Boeing 767 overseas aircraft from euro Atlantic, a Portuguese company.

They began boarding our flight at 9:15pm. I thought this was a little early to be boarding for a 10:00pm flight, and we were sitting near the front anyhow. So we waited until almost everybody else was on board before we went on.

Sure enough we left right on schedule at 10:00pm! By the time we taxied to the runway and actually left the ground it was 10:15pm. Still, the captain came on the speaker system and said that we were planning on arriving 15 minutes early.

The flight was almost full, but there were a couple of empty seats. This was great, because although the extra $70 does give you extra leg room, it does NOT give you additional seat width. We were seated in the 3rd row and the seats in that area were configured with two window seats on each side, and four in the middle. We were sat on the left side of the four in the middle. The two seats on the right side were empty, so Ruth moved over one seat so that there was me, an empty seat, then Ruth, then another empty seat. Nice!

Except, as soon as the seatbelt sign went out, some lady came and sat in the seat beside Ruth. I wouldn't have had the nerve to do that. I always figured that the person who had an empty seat beside them got lucky, and who am I to infringe on their good luck. This lady didn't care though, and just went ahead and sat down. Didn't ask, or anything. Strange. So Ruth got up and moved over beside me. Still had an empty seat beside her, so it was still nice enough, just not as good as it was before!

Meanwhile, the cabin crew were busy. In fact, they never stopped the whole flight. First thing they did was get everybody's champagne out!

Yes, everybody gets a glass of champagne. Not everybody accepted though, so they wandered back up the aisle asking if people wanted seconds. Okay!

Next, they came around with snacks. They gave us a very nice vegetarian pizza. Never had pizza on an airline, it was very nice. No dinner service on this flight though, because it's an overnight flight they gave us breakfast later on. But they did come around with the drink tray, which included free wine. Okay, if we have to!

Now comes my only complaint. We had two problems with the movie. Well, three actually.

They give everybody free headphones. That's great, because I find it pretty cheap when the airlines try and charge you $5 or whatever for the headphones to watch the movie. I know, most people have good quality headphones with them because they carry around their ipod or other music device anyhow. But we don't, so we took the free headphones. 

They started the movie, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. I would have liked to watch it, but the headphones were junk. Ruth had the same problem, so it wasn't just me. You honestly couldn't understand the words it was so garbled. So much for that. Seriously, if you're going to give out free headphones, make sure they are of a good enough quality that you can actually listen to the movie while it's on and in flight. 

Second problem, is that they shouldn't be showing a movie on this particular flight anyhow. This is the time when everybody is trying to sleep. After all, it's an overnight flight. Now, I have a hard time sleeping on a plane anyway, but when I looked around half way through the movie, there wan't anybody watching it. And it's on a big screen, not the little ones you have right in front of you on some planes. So it was fairly bright, and I found it annoying even with your eyes closed. I don't think anybody would have complained if the movie wasn't shown at all. And I guarantee that the majority of people if asked, would have chosen to have no movie.

Third problem with the movie was that nobody noticed when it ended and the started to replay. I eventually got up to use the facilities, and mentioned it to one of the cabin crew.

They served breakfast, a tomato omelete, with sausage and a roll and orange juice and a fruit cup. Not bad, but not great. Enough to put in your stomach so that we didn't have to get anything else when we landed.

And then we landed, exactly 15 minutes ahead of schedule, just like they had told us. It was a good flight, and other than the movie, we had no complaints. And even the movie issue is a pretty minor complaint, but I think it's something they should look into getting rid of for an overnight flight. Like I said, everybody was trying to sleep anyhow.

For us, flying is all about value for the money. The Sunwing staff were friendly and cheerful every step of the way, and we wouldn't hesitate to fly with www.sunwing.ca again. By the way, if you are flying out of Canada, these guys have some GREAT deals sometimes. As I write this, they have an all inclusive deal to Cuba for only $369, tax included. Wow!


  1. yeah you had a good flight and your both there safe and sound!!! Enjoy

  2. Well I have to say, that sounded like a not so bad flight to me as well. I have to sheepishly admit that we do tend to fly first class if we're flying overseas, or at least we have been for the last few years, which is a whole other experience. No worries about someone coming and taking the seat next to you, they'd get punted out pretty quick. (the nerve!)

    We could scrimp on that whole first class deal, since my wife's company simply plops money in our bank account and we could do our "home leave" on a tramp steamer if we wanted to, but we still come out ahead with the more expensive arrangement.
    Anywhere within Europe of course, it makes no sense to fly anything other than economy, since 'first class' only means sitting up at the front of the plane. (all the while feeling kinda goofy)
    Then my only concern is whether my knees are touching the seat in front of me. Fly Niki comes to mind. Thankfully that was only an hour and a half flight, but man I was boxed in!

    I agree about the movie silliness. I rarely watch a film when I fly. Unless they have noise cancelling headphones, which REALLY work, btw. Otherwise I find it hard to hear over the din of the aircraft, and then end up having to press the earpieces into my ears the whole time.

    Remember, when crossing the road..look right first!

  3. Sounds like not too bad of a flight, too bad about the headphones. Its really not fun when you can't understand the words. But now you are in England, let the adventures begin!

  4. It's amazing how rude some people are. But overall it sounds like you had a great flight. Not much sleep but a good flight. Maybe you can recuperate now that you're on land again. I liked Bob's comment - look right first. That would be really hard for me to remember.

  5. Good to know about Sunwing, thanks. I was just wondering what Ruth was able to eat on the flight. Did you ask for a gluten free meal. I have several friends traveling and wondering if you can expect to get GF meals or if they should load up on snacks to take.

    1. They do not provide gluten free meals on the flight so the best suggestion is to bring your own snacks when possible. With the breakfast I was able to eat the omelet, fried potatoes, have the juice and the fruit salad cup as well as have coffee or tea. So there are somethings that you could eat with no problem.

    2. They have gluten free meals, lactose free and vegan! You just tell them when you book! If you're already booked let the attendants know on your outbound and they fill out a form so you have food on your way home!

    3. At the time of this flight, Sunwing did not offer gluten free meals. We had tried calling them before hand to arrange for a gluten free meal but we told that the only other meal option that they had at the time was a vegetarian one. I guess this must be something new within the last two years or so.

  6. I flew to India from California last year. I will never complain about a flight under 10 hours again.

  7. Sounds like a great start to your new adventure!

  8. It sounds tome like you had a wonderful flight experience, champagne, wine, snacks and breakfast, all included in that wonderful low price. Amazing! Movies on overnight flites are standard,, I doubt that will ever change.

  9. What would really suck is if they had charged you for those headphones. Glad you had a decent flight. I use to enjoy flying but anymore it seems like more hassle than its worth.

  10. We always try to bring a couple of miniatures each, under 3 oz, so we can have some extra cocktails. Seems to work most of the time. Used to be, you could board a bottle of liquor or wine with your name on the bottle and they had to serve you from it. I'm sure those regs have changed. We always take our own food in case they don't serve or we don't like. Anything over 4 hours and I need to be

    Did they have inflight internet? American had it on a flight I took last year. Just curious.

    Have fun you guys, and post lots of pics. I love the pub pics, I think I would turn into a Susan Boyle and I don't like karaoke. But a few beers and I'll belt out a tune.

  11. WOW compared with US Airlines of all stripes that was a luxury flight. Champagne and food - don't think I've ever had the former and can hardly remember the days of the latter.

  12. Now I understand why you had to check you luggage in, the only other way round this is to wear a travel vest with all your heavy gear. They are actually very practical as you never have to unpack it, just hand it up and use the stuff out of the numerous pockets.
    Actually think you were lucky to have any sort of movie on a budget airline, many don't even have screens. However I do enjoy the scheduled flights with many movie choices and you can watch whenever you want, in fight even though we are tight wads we don't mind paying a bit extra to fly scheduled for that feature.


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