Air Canada

We had much opportunity to experience the new Air Canada this holiday season, flying up to Ontario for the holidays. The bad: the Air Canada call centre appears to have about 3 staff (or 1 million callers), as call wait times over the holidays were 15-25 minutes; the pilot missed the runway in Halifax, had to circle back, and ended up flying through very bumpy air for 30 minutes (much bard ensued); their Pearson Airport operation is under-staffed: things proceed fairly well under normal conditions, but they really need a “mobile strike force” to swoop into action when flights are cancelled or delayed. The good: the express check-in for e-ticket passengers is a wonder: well designed, quick to use, saves 15 or 20 minutes in line (question: why does it still take so long to check in manually?); we were upgraded to business class for the return flight because our original flight was cancelled: business class makes flying bearable (good meals, wide seats, friendly staff), but also makes the thought of the inevitable return to “hospitality” class unbearable. And, of course, there was our newfound ability to take advantage of pre-boarding for “passengers with small children or other requiring assistance.”