5 Things To Look Out For When Flying These 3 Canadian Airlines, According To Recent Reviews
Knowledge is power! ✈️
To help you know what to keep an eye out for when travelling this year, we turned to trusty reviews from fellow passengers.
We trawled through the recent reviews of three major Canadian Airlines — Air Canada, Air Transat and WestJet — and there were some notable complaints that might impact how you go about your next flight.
These three airlines all recently made the cut for Skytrax's 2023 World Airline Awards, each ranking among the top 100 airlines around the globe. While five Canadian airlines made an appearance on the list, it was Air Canada, Air Transat, and WestJet that were the top players for the country.
Based on recent Tripadvisor and Skytrax customer reviews though, Canadians travelling this summer might have a couple of things to worry about.
Here are some issues to look out for if you're flying with any of these Canadian airlines anytime soon.
First on the list is the highest on the Skytrax ranking — Canada's go-to airline. Despite recent tales of missing baggage and vacations gone awry, the airline actually moved up on the ranking from last year.
It's not without its issues, though. With 29,287 reviews and a three-star rating on Tripadvisor, travellers had a lot to say about their experiences with the airline.
Recent reviews suggest that you should watch out for these issues.
Serious delays: A theme of the reviews was big-time delays. Travelling comes with risks, delays being one of them, but some customers were less-than-impressed when it came to Air Canada pushing their flights.
"The first flight was delayed [two] hours and we lost the international connection we had with them. After 'sleeping' in the airport not knowing anything about our rebooking or luggage, they rebooked us for the next flight at night at 11 p.m. No hotel voucher, of course," one unhappy traveller shared via Tripadvisor.
Complaints ranged from a few hours of delays to claims that travel with Air Canada was a "24 hour nightmare."
The best thing you can do travelling with any airline is to know your rights if you experience delays or cancellations.
The CTA says that when it comes to delays, the vouchers you're entitled to depend on the situation. You can get compensation if your flight is delayed or cancelled and it's under the airline's control (like staffing issues, for example).
However, if your flight is cancelled or delayed because of weather or something else out of the airline's control, you might have to fork out for your own hotel.
You might have to dish out on the plane: Depending on the Air Canada flight, you might not get a complimentary treat — or much of anything complimentary, for that matter.
One recent Tripadvisor reviewer said that they had a five-hour flight with "no snacks unless you paid," and the airline apparently "only offered [two] drinks."
On Skytrax reviews, Air Canada scored a two out of five when it came to the Food & Beverages category.
"In the four-plus hour flight, no blanket, no pillow, no food unless you paid for it, no media, no magazines. Only a two-beverage service," one reviewer said.
The Air Canada website says that there is a "complimentary meal service is offered on all direct non-stop international flights." On a North American flight with the airline though, a pillow and blanket kit and earphones will cost you extra.
"For flights under two hours, bar service with a bar snack will be offered," the airline website says.
So, make sure you know what type of complimentary items are included, and pack snacks if you have to!
It should also be said, there weren't only nay-sayers out there. "Love Air Canada. Direct flight to Toronto and to Montreal," one recent reviewer wrote.
The gist of it? With Air Canada, you'll want to do your research ahead of jumping on the plane.
Air Transat has scored 3.5 out of 5 on Tripadvisor, with 11,965 reviews, and there were an impressive amount of positive reviews over the past couple of months.
Still — you'll want to watch out for one red flag that some people warned about.
The food isn't five stars: Everyone knows you're not getting a gourmet meal on a plane, but some reviewers made a point to say that Air Transat food really isn't great.
In fact, one went so far as to say it's "poor quality and flavourless."
Another claimed that, although they had good service, the food quantities "were very minimal and definitely not enough for a 8h+ flight."
"Very poor food (almost inedible)," another reviewer wrote.
So, if you have a trip coming up, you might want to prep a sandwich or two, just to be prepared!
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Among the recent complaints were some shining recommendations though, including praise for the pleasant service, lack of delays, and efficient boarding process.
WestJet also has a respectable 3.5 rating on Tripadvisor, but had its own share of disgruntled customers as of late.
The drink options were criticized: One WestJet traveller wasn't impressed with the drink options on board. "[The airline] only serves beer and wine and will only give you 1-2 drinks max," they claimed.
"If you like a gin and tonic while you fly, don't choose WestJet," they added.
Another complained about not getting the entire bottle of pop when they asked for one, despite paying for an expensive plane ticket. "I paid $1,200 for the ticket and I only received [one] glass of beverage? How cheap can WestJet be?" they said.
"Your onboard food and beverage menu is based on your flight duration, aircraft type servicing your flight, and destination," the WestJet website says.
Basically, don't set your in-flight beverage expectations too high because, depending on your flight, you could be disappointed.
Cancellation chaos: Earlier this year WestJet upset a customer after offering him a bus ticket after a flight cancellation, and it seems like others are complaining about the airline's re-booking policies, too.
Another traveller wrote a Skytrax review saying after a delay and missed connection, WestJet booked separate flights for each of their four group members. "Now we are going separately at different times through multiples stops," the passenger said.
Moral of the story? Be prepared for the worst, and hope for the best!
In response to these reviews, WestJet told Narcity that a "detailed description" of all food and drink offerings can be found on the airline's website. It added that the Guest Support team works "diligently" to address customers impacted by delays or cancellations.
Narcity reached out to Air Canada and Air Transat for a response to these reviews, but did not hear back in time for publication. This story will be updated if a response is received.
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.