Affordable Travel Guide to Air Canada

Still a Major Global Airline Despite Inherent Service Issues

Air Canada

Here is the short version of Air Canada’s history… Once upon a time there were two major airlines that serviced Canada: Air Canada and Canadian Pacific Airlines (later just Canadian Airlines). Then a savvy Canuck by the name of Max Ward came up with Wardair, an airline that treated passengers as royalty with a staff that may have been trained in stand-up comedy, gourmet meals and free drinks! It was so exceptional and so wonderful that Canadian Airlines bought Wardair, and absorbed at least some of its amazing customer service. Then Air Canada, which had been a crown corporation, privatized and bought Canadian Airlines, and so there is no competition (international; more about regionally later), and Air Canada manages to embarrass most Canadians with its consistently late arrivals, bitter employees and awful service record.

Just prior to the writing of this article, Air Canada refused to transfer a purchased ticket from a husband to his wife because she did not have the same surname. After lecturing the airline about this not being the 1950s, and the whole scene blowing up on the internet, Sir Canada relented. But this is typical. And so not typical of the polite society that is Canada and Canadians. Onward.

Bearing in mind that Canada is both a bi-lingual country (English and French), the airline accordingly offers service in both tongues, and it is a very large nation with a Pacific to Atlantic coast width of 9,306 km (5,780 miles), so even domestic flights (say from Vancouver to Halifax) are regarded as long-haul. As such, it’s fleet reflects the latter of these facts.

The airline’s fleet totals 358 aircraft, split between the three major flying styles they offer, as follows:

  • Air Canada domestic long-haul and international flights operate with mostly Boeing 777 and Airbus 300 and 320 aircraft, and a new Boeing 787 is on the way, coming into use in March of 2014.
  • Air Canada Jazz domestic and regional flights within Canada engages a collection of Bombardier (from the Canadian province of Québec) planes, including the CRJ 705 and 200, the comfortable and roomy Q400 (the same aircraft used by Porter Airlines in Canada and the U.S.A.) and the Dash 8 (previously made by Dehavilland); there are all turbo-prop planes.
  • Air Canada Rouge vacation-based, charter-style aircraft, including Boeing 767s and Airbus 319s; these went into service for the newest division of Air Canada in July of 2013.

Like most major international carriers, Air Canada has a loyalty rewards program, couched in the Aeroplan system, vacation packages, and cargo services. It serves 178 destinations around the world, and has been in operation since 1936. While it occasionally wins airline awards, it perplexes most Canadians, and the arrival of WestJet, and more recently Porter Airlines, serving more short-haul destinations within Canada and the U.S.A. has finally given “AC” a bit of competition.

For more information on Air Canada, their website is at www.aircanada.com. Here you can find flight details, information about cancelled and delayed flights (common not only with Air Canada in particular, but throughout Canada in the winter months), vacation packages and destinations such as North America, South America, Europe, China, Australia, India and the Middle East. The cultural diversity of Canada’s population ensures its airline serves a wide variety of destinations.

Hopefully, Air Canada will work its way through its issues to become the pride of Canada, and more Canadians will patronize this, the largest airline in Canada, and one of the major players in the international air travel business.

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