Additional thoughts about flying Air Canada: the attitude that pervades the in-flight customer service culture at Air Canada is “we are here to protect you from the plane, and to protect the plane from you.” In-flight service is offered as more of a time-consuming distraction, and something for the flight attendants to use to fill up the empty time.
On other airlines in our recent experience — Japan Airlines and Thai Airlines — the attitude is rather different: “we realize that flying is stressful and difficult; we will do what we can to make it less so.”
The one hour flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in Thailand on Thai is roughly equivalent, in time and spirit, to the Air Canada flight from Halifax to Boston. The Thai flight provides hot towels, drink service, a very pleasant boxed lunch, and a service of bracing green tea, and costs about $80. The Air Canada flight offers drink service and pretzels and costs about $600.
With Air Canada as an effective monopoly, I don’t hold out great hopes for any dramatic improvement in service in the near future. Unfortunately they are essentially the only airline flying from Charlottetown, so it’s almost guaranteed that one has to fly them several times a year.