Friday, May 19, 2006

Airline potpourri

I find myself again in the departure lounge of the Orlando airport on my way back to Toronto, this time via Charlotte. I won’t be in Toronto long though. On Sunday I’m on the road again, off to Seattle for Microsoft’s WinHEC conference.

I’ve been doing a lot of traveling of late, and with all the bad things you hear about air travel I thought I’d share a few of the things I like that the different airlines do.

Air Canada

I’ve flown on their new Embraer regional jets a few times in the last little while. Since I covered the Bombardier/Embraer feud in the late 1990s I was prepared not to like them, but I much prefer it to Bombardier’s regional jets, which I found compact and confining. The E-75 is quite spacious and comfortable. And I really like the in-seat video on demand for us plebes on coach class. It’s a bit finicky and they don’t have the news on it yet, but a movie or an episode of The Office really helps pass the time.

United Airlines

Their snack pack offerings are my favorite so far. And I really like the “in the cockpit” feature on the audio system. It lets you listen in to the cockpit’s communications with air traffic control and the tower. It’s fun to hear what’s going on.

US Airways

Flew US Air down here for one leg and I’m waiting to board them now for the flight back. Was an older Airbus coming down and minimalist service, including no movie or inflight entertainment, but they did cycle through questions from the board game Cranium on the TV screens. Was a fun way to pass the time as I listened to MP3s.

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Red Tory said...

Wow! Talk about small mercies.

Years ago, I used to fly Windsor to Toronto and Air Ontario (I think it was) used to sometimes stick us on these truly horrible Folker regional jets. They were so tiny, you couldn’t even stand erect, but had to bend your head going down the aisle. It felt like you were stuck in a cigar tube. The seating was, um, Spartan, to say the least. Goodness knows whoever thought those planes were a good idea.

Best airline I’ve ever flown: Midwest Airlines. Great food, wonderful service, large comfy leather seats and free champagne!

ottlib said...

As a licenced pilot I have never been a good passenger. When I am in a plane I like to be in control. I guess I need to feel I am in control of my own destiny when I am in the air.

Of course, I do not have any training or experience flying anything more than a sailplane so I would not be able to fly those big commercial airliners. Which means my desire to be in control is completely irrational. Oh well, what can you do.

I like the idea of being able to tap into the ATC radio traffic. That would be cool.