Friday, 4 May 2018

Air Transat: Improved Doesn't Mean Better

Last year, Air Transat purchased 10 new A310 Airbuses to upgrade their fleet of aircraft. However, these wider bodied jets do nothing to improve the passenger experience. 

The airbus is also higher inside, which means that unless you carry a step ladder as your carry on, getting your luggage into the overhead bins is nothing short of an athletic endeavour. All allowable 22 pounds is to be swung up over your head and *gently* placed in the bin. You then need to put stilts on to grab the compartment door to close the bin. Taking the luggage back out of the overhead compartment is a serious injury waiting to happen to the person on the aisle seat. 

As usual, I chose a window seat. After years of being knocked and bumped while in an aisle seat, I prefer to go with less hazards and more general comfort. Except in an Air Transat Airbus. The seats are precisely 16 inches wide. Their trays are 12 inches wide by 9 inches deep. Not nearly enough room for the food tray and to be able to manouver around that. My bun, extra cutlery and butter slid down the side of the seat never to be seen again. Because the elbow room from armrest to armrest is about 14 inches wide, eating is a task to be mastered. ALL activity must be done at midline, with elbows pressed tightly against one's sides. Picture eating while wearing a straight jacket that has only the hands exposed. 

The upgrades also did not include the menu. Air Transat is notorious for disgusting, unappealing, unpalatable food. It astounds me the amount of food that gets thrown out. Were it not for the fact that it has been picked over as people attempt to find something of quality or even that is recognizable on their trays, the left over food from 346 passengers times the number of flights per day may well be the answer to ending global hunger. Not to worry, though, as always, Air Transat plies the free wine as though it were flowing from a fountain. 

And while the fleet might have been upgraded, it has not been updated. There is an app that passengers are encouraged to download which allows streaming of movies, tv shows, games and kids activities. However, there are no charging ports on the plane. And since streaming chews up battery power, I'm not sure how that is supposed to work. Compare the lack of charging ports on the new aircraft with not only charging ports but the option of purchasing access to the internet (for a small charge) on both Air Canada and WestJet and one has to wonder why choose Air Transat? Certainly it isn't because the customer experience is better. Or that the flights are cheaper. Maybe it really does come down to the free wine. 


  1. Great! I chose Air Transat because I wanted non-stop and was kind of looking forward to a 'new' plane. The GF meal last year was disgustingly gross but then so was the regular meal offered to seat mates. Will bring my own food. Good thing my carry on will tuck under the seat. Thanks for the heads up on what to expect...or not! Maybe a softer landing than last year might be an improvement on the whole flight experience. I live in hope!

  2. I work for Jazz, an Air Canada-affiliated airline in Windsor, Ontario. Having flown many, many different airlines, both national and international, I have learned that charter airlines like Air Transat aren’t ‘worth’ the money one seemingly saves. Both AC and Westjet fly to Scotland, are priced competitively, and offer more frequency than a charter. They also offer more protection for cancelled flights, with AC having the unique ability to rebook you on other airlines if the need arises, free of charge.
    To me, the comfort and reliability of scheduled airlines should be part of a travel budget from the beginning.