Air Canada

Never flown Air Canada. Using our FF miles and fly Denver-Toronto-Rome. Advise? Good airline? Bad or good experiences? I have 24 hours to change my reservation -- GO!

Posted by Southam
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
908 posts

AC is comparable to other international carriers, generally efficient and helpful enough, if not exactly equal to a week at Club Med. The Toronto airport is big, and dominated by AC. One thing to note, just so it isn't a surprise: On your return trip you probably will go through US immigration in Toronto. AC has nothing to do with that, of course, but it does add a little time to the transfer between flights.

Posted by Paul
NYC area
1425 posts

Hi Ellen, We flew Air Canada once, from NJ to Munich with a stop in Toronto. Everything was fine, no complaints and we really didn't notice any real difference between AC and Lufthansa, Swiss Air and Air France.

Posted by Ellen
Centennial, CO, USA
1388 posts

United let me know that customs is in Toronto, that's great, have plenty of layover time, 2.5 hours. So happy to hear no problems with AC. We do like Lufthansa, but using my ff miles this was the best option for the route...
Really appreciate the responses!

Posted by Martine
Ottawa, Canada
565 posts

Flew Ottawa to London last August on AC, was pleasantly surprised. Was comparable to Air France or KLM, good food and service.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17713 posts

Ellen, I've used Air Canada quite a lot for trips to Europe, and flew the Toronto / Rome route a couple of years ago. As I recall, on that flight all the announcements were in English, French and Italian which was a bit unusual (Toronto has a large Italian immigrant population). This year I tried a WestJet / KLM combination just to compare the level of service, and also because the timing and flight connections fit my schedule better. I've had no problems with Air Canada so far and as I recall, they have an excellent safety record. Happy travels!

Posted by Glenn
Grand Falls-Windsor, NL, Canada
307 posts

I use AC as my primary carrier, and haven't had any issues ( most recent trip was Sept/Oct to/from London). And believe it or not, the meals on AC transatlantic flights are actually not bad at all( and still free!...so far ). Keep your reservation, you'll be fine...

Posted by Jeff
Bend, OR, United States
1145 posts

One thing to be aware of is that unless you book directly on the AC site you will not be able to do things like /change seats, monitor the flight status, and check on line. You have to do this by phone. I know because I am going through it after having booked the flight using United FF award.

Posted by Ellen
Centennial, CO, USA
1388 posts

Jeff, I do understand about seats, changing etc. Flown using FF miles a ton using United miles for Lufthansa. I've had to contact the airline directly to book seats, etc. Appreciate your reply. I will be calling AC directly to book our seats....

Posted by Andrea
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
432 posts

I like Air Canada and prefer them to the others (but generally go for lowest price to be honest). In fact I recently returned from China on AC, and they served four meals on the flights there and back. Way too much food!

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4859 posts

I did that exact same route last year, but I flew United first from Sacramento to Denver. No problems. One nice thing is that AC gives you a small bottle of wine with dinner. If you want more, all you have to do is ask. ;-) Are you returning from Barcelona?

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4751 posts

Just got back from my trip to Ohio and we flew Air Canada. Have nothing but praise for this airline. The seats seemed to have more space, especially for our legs and feet, than I have had on other flights. The seatback entertainment was great, with a very wide choice of movies. I know lots of people complain about airline food, but we actually liked our food. It was pretty tasty. One of the things I noticed was that on our flight back to Frankfurt from Toronto, the flight was delayed by about an hour and half. As we neared Frankfurt, announcements were made about all of the connecting flights, and that arrangements were already made for any of the passengers who were going to miss their next flight. I thought that was pretty nice, as had never heard of an airline taking care of all of this, even before you landed. Flying to Columbus is always a pain, as no flights from Europe land there, but the connecting flight from Toronto to Columbus was fast and easy. It was great having just an 8+ flight Frankfurt to Toronto, and a 7.5 hour flight back to Frankfurt. Will definitely use Air Canada again.

Posted by Diane
Ottawa
1149 posts

There is one detail that does really annoy me with Air Canada, but if you're aware of the issue, you can easily prepare for it: safe, potable water. I need to drink a lot of water during long flights. Soda, acidic juices, tea/coffee, and alcohol just won't do for me. Air Canada only serves water from jugs of "tank" water {still on many of its flights} - not from water bottles. It's one of the few airlines that still tanks up its "potable" water (which is actually not so safe). I always buy my bottles of water before I board an Air Canada flight.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4751 posts

First of all, why would tap water not be safe? Canada is not a 3rd world country and neither are any of the countries in Europe. You can certainly drink the water. After we went through security, we actually filled up a couple of empty water bottles at the drinking fountains in Toronto. The word "potable" is your clue. It means safe to drink. Secondly, I saw them serving only water from bottles, and back in the galley, they kept bottles of water, where you could go pour a glass for yourself. I pretty much only drank water on my flights too, except for a couple of cups of tea, and some apple juice. I never saw those tanks you are talking about.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17713 posts

I definitely agree with Jo regarding the water on Air Canada flights. On the flights I've taken with them recently, I've only seen them serve bottled water. Even if they were using water from a "tank" during flights, I'm sure it would be obtained from a safe municipal water source.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7817 posts

Seriously the bottled water industry and really screwed with alot of peoples minds, its made them think they NEED bottled water, but what many may not even realize is that most of the time bottled water is just water from the municipal system , perhaps filtered for taste, but really, nothing special. The water on an Air Canada flight is safe and clean. Never heard of anyone ever getting sick from it, and I have been on quite a few AC flights. .Some people worry about the most minute things ..Water from Canada is not a thing to worry about.

Posted by Diane
Ottawa
1149 posts

First of all, not all of Air Canada's planes have a "potable" water tank that is used. The older planes do and the issue is with those. It's not the potability of the water going into the tank that is at issue, it is the cleanliness and safety of the tank holding the water and how the water is transferred to the tank. I became aware of the problem when I did get very sick from drinking the jugged water on an AC flight two years ago. Also watch closely the flight crew on these flights, they also avoid their own jugged water. If you still think that there is no problem at all with AC's water tanks for "potable" water, do two things: 1. Ask an AC flight crew member or someone who has worked maintenance for AC (has worked, because it is mostly no longer done in Canada, but outsourced to El Salvador). 2. Google guide to hygiene and sanitation in aviation 2009. Click on the PDF link and go to page 9 in the index. It is no coincidence that Health Canada was a major investigator into the health risks associated with "potable" water tanks on airplanes... Also remember that no one is left to monitor the safety of "potable" water tanks on Air Canada planes. Since you don't really know ahead of time which equipment you will have on your AC flight, my advice still stands: Be aware that there is indeed a health safety issue with jugged water served on Air Canada flights. This has no relation to the flights where bottled water is served, nor with the potability of Canada's drinking water supply itself. The last AC flight that I was on, in September, served jugged water.

Posted by melissa
Austin
799 posts

I understand the potable water tanks issue as it is the same with cruise ships, huge tanks( which were last disinfected when?). On my next to last cruise three friends became ill and they blamed drinking from the taps in their bathroom, even tho labeled potable.
Some people have very sensitive digestive systems.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7817 posts

Melissa your friends cannot trace that to the water but having taken 6 cruises I can tell you how very easy it is to get tummy troubles/sick from eating from those massive buffets, where even if staff do everything right your fellow 2000 ,3000, or more cruisers are constantly coughing on, touchinng or in general contaimanating the food on the 24 hr buffets. Its pretty gross .

Posted by melissa
Austin
799 posts

Actually, it still could be the water tanks as I also felt a bit off one or two days. Of course being sick could be caused with using the hand rail and then touching your eye or nose. However, we were on a small ship of 835 passengers and did not use the buffets which were mostly behind glass and individually served. That line has no buffets -serves everyone - for the first 48 hours after boarding so as to reduce the chance of contamination from passengers. After that, only the salad, the cheese plates and some desserts were on a long board. This was not norovirus, it was feeling very poorly,headaches, and needing rest and a little more plumbing than usual. No reason to disbelieve the other poster. While your experience was fine for you,and you thought the overeating and oversocializng was the cause, is entirely possible with whom you were observing. I'd guess it's causal due to the bacteri combined with more alcohol than the pax is used to consuming. I've been on 3 cruises in the 80's, and 11 since then,including a 15 day Baltic this May and a 15 day Black Sea last fall.One has no idea where the tanks are filled with water on a multiple country journey,
Now we are totally off-topic! Reminds me of multiple discussions of "clean water" in Mexico and Egypt in the 80's.