The monitor in front of me says I am flying at 525 MPH and at an altitude of 37109 ft. Now this is a bit disconcerting as every 5 minutes the monitor has different figures. Shouldn’t the plane be flying at the same speed and altitude on autopilot?
I’m flying to Toronto on WestJet, usually it’s Air Canada because I have a history with Air Canada but I have had great experiences with WestJet in the past and hey it wasn’t the price but rather the timing was better for this trip to Toronto and I had no choice in it.
What an experience, I get to the airport with my wife and we’ve already booked our seat online and confirmed our bags. In line, a kind WestJet woman tells us we should get our boarding pass from the kiosk – fine- it only takes ten minutes but had we waited in line it would have been 5 minutes by the courteous ticket agent. No problem we’ve arrived 120 minutes prior to departure.
We go through the security barriers and then to our departure gate. Now I’m not sure what you do at the departure gate 2 hours before the flight but I often like to find a bar and have a leisurely cocktail. No such luck. I’m flying the redeye. Options- hmmm, the Maple Leaf lounge for frequent flyers and VIP’s is feet away. As I stroll in they announce they are closed -time -9pm. A courteous coffee monger at Starbuck’s suggest we go out the baggage area and terminal because the bars are open to 11 there, She knows because she and her buddies like to smoke and hang out there during their breaks..
We find a very quiet (read dull and empty) bar called Stanley’s and order beverages. The young 35 year old bartender informs us we need to show identification. It’s policy after all. We are obviously in our 50’s, Ouch I say, my wife who is a very young 50 thinks its kewl. Ahhh.
We have a drink (read one here) and head back through security. Now it has been very quiet all night and we see the same security personnel. I’m a little obvious with an oil skin coat and a cowboy hat but they don’t remember us and we go through the same thing we had an hour earlier.
We now get to the gate, ahh the Starbucks is open but as my wife gets to the till they announce they are closed to the 5 people behind her- ouch customer service fails again. The attendant at the gate simultaneously announces the boarding call for our 5 hour flight to Toronto. Aisles 10 to 12 can board now. Minutes later she announces the rest can board so the hoards approach the gate ID and boarding passes in hand. The reason people board in order is to allow for orderly seating so imagine 40 people standing behind the person in seat 12D trying to load an oversize carryon in the overhead bin.
We’re seated now. It’s 12:00 and I must have fallen asleep on the plane during takeoff because I have missed the beverage trolley. Oh no, I’m on holiday and want a drink when I fly. I get a Flight Attendant’s attention (I liked it when they were stewardesses). She tells me I can’t have a double scotch but I can pay for 2 and she will disperse them to me when appropriate. Ok, a drink is a drink!
I settle back with my Johnny Walker Black mini-drink and decide to watch one of the 5 proffered movie selections. Wait- its $6 dollars. I thought we only had to pay for drinks on this airline. I had flown on Air Canada a couple months earlier and they were very accommodating with cheaper drinks, friendlier service and free movies.
I put my credit card into the unit in front of me and try numerous times to access the movie, a Flight Attendant comes over and tells me I must order the movie within 15 minutes of the start of the flight- oh no!
The WestJet carnival hucksterism sales of junk food reminded me of the commercials where they say the employees are also the owners, ahh that’s why the service sucked! Ok, I stand corrected as I am writing this in my leather albeit cramped seat the beverage service comes by again. Quick I say to my wife order a drink too so I won’t have to wait an indeterminable time for another drink.
There were some good points. The flight was smooth; the same length as other airlines and the wonderful safety display at the beginning was equally boring. The food was wonderful as we brought a nice Osso Buco with a wonderful wine sauce coupled with baked potatoes au gratin for our midnight repast… I noticed my fellow travelers had a choice of chips albeit regular and/or salt and vinegar.
We seem to be descending; I must hide the bones from my meal in the barf bag and do a mental preparation for the search for my baggage once we land. Thank God I painted the Olympic rings in five colours on my suitcase; I’ll either have my bag or be arrested or sued by VANOC for using the Olympic symbols. Wait,Â can I write off this trip if I promote the Olympic?