Over There (in the UK)

May 7, 2004 at 9 AM

Writers in the Sky

I really enjoy the “Ask the Pilot” column in Salon. Pilot Patrick Smith talks shop, revealing many secrets of the mysterious airline industry, while amusing readers with both recognizable and bizarre anecdotes.

(Note: Salon articles are subscription-based these days, but you can always get a “day pass” by watching an ad. For anyone that has watched TV, ever, this shouldn’t be a big deal. The writing is worth it.)

This week’s column discusses readers’ votes for favourite airline. (The winner? Traditional favourite, Singapore Airlines)

Now there’s an award no one will ever give to Air Canada. It’s not the worst airline, mind you (admit it, folks, it’s improved lately), but I’ve never been wowed by Air Canada. My most recent experience was a four hour delay for a flight because someone forgot to turn on the bathroom heaters and the toilets were frozen. (This was in February, here in Montreal). Bad luck, really, and they managed to do a decent job once we did take off. On the way back, we were bumped up to business class, so I guess it balances out. However, that’s probably only because my travelling companion has “elite” status in Air Canada’s frequent flyer program, and is therefore treated like royalty. In fact, I was rather chagrined to learn, a few weeks later, that she was offered 5,000 bonus miles for her troubles in a follow-up apology letter, while I was offered the same polite apology with a pocketful of not much.

No, Air Canada is a bit like Canada itself. Sort of decent. Occasionally charming. Predictably inoffensive. Once in awhile, downright annoying.

What’s your best or worst flying experience?


Coming back from SF on the first flight after 9/11 and having the security folk frisk me and touch me in the “I don’t want to talk about it” … and my flight ‘might or might not’ have US Marshals who ‘might or might not’ detain me for any reason necessary only to be seated next to a kid in the forces scared to death about war, sobbing the whole way to New Orleans while I hugged and coo’ed - the flight attendant who ‘kept it comin’ and me, getting off the flight, lit like a fucking Christmas tree, praying to God that this whole war nonsense was NOT coming while my then just beginning to date boyfriend, watching me getting off the plane holding hands with the kid was convinced I was already having another guy and me, getting home, falling into bed, and wishing I was dead after drinking like a fish from 7am Pacific time to 5pm Central time.

— eves | May. 7, 2004 — 5 PM

I’ve never had a terrible flight. But one time my dad was on a plane where someone, evidently unacustomed to Western toilets, crapped all over the bathroom (except for in the toilet, it seems) near the beginning of a long flight. Unfortunately, the smell permeated the entire plane without exception. He describes it as one of the most malodourous experiences of his life.

— Eric G | May. 13, 2004 — 12 PM

Previously: CD Rot

Subsequently: The Many Wars of the Worlds

May 2004
the Archives

In Earshot

I only really read it for Canucks coverage, but even still it’s nice that The Vancouver Sun finally redesigned its hideously awful website to look like it was designed this century.

On pizza box art

Web 2.Origami

Welcome to Obama, Japan

The Toronto Star shows where and how the seats changed in the 2008 election

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In Frame

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