“Well begun is half done.” So the saying goes – and here’s to hoping that it holds true.
It didn’t actually seem to begin well. After pushing buttons, scanning my SAS EBG card in the kiosk thing (as a Dane, using “kiosk” for an automat is a little odd – kiosks are small stores where you go to buy magazines or chewing gum), pushing buttons, scanning my passport, etc., the kiosk (!) came back and told me to go see an agent as it couldn’t process my request for printing a boarding card.
The lady at the counter also had an issue. She called to a colleague two desks down asking why – and that lady had the answer: Because I was getting an ugrade was why. So, shortly after that I were idling in the SAS Business lounge with a newly minted boarding card for “Executive First / Super Affaires”.
Whatever the reason, an upgrade from economy to business always is nice (understatement of the day). I have tried to think hard – I believe this is only the third time in my 20+ years flying history that it has happened. And one was on a flight KUL-SIN, which is only in the air for something like 20 minutes, so that hardly counts.
Somewhere in the back of my cynical mind, I can’t help wondering whether this upgrade was “just” a courtesy to an alliance gold member (and if it helped someone else getting a seat in economy all the better) or if it was due to some system remembering my name and this story. I’ll have to say that if it should be, then I am duly impressed with Air Canada’s CRM system! But in any case, over the delicious warm, salted almonds I have decided that AC has taken a major step towards evening the score 🙂
So, the flight. The AC Airbus 330-300 has a “herring bone” layout of the forward cabin, with each seat being in its own little cocoon. The seat can be arranged in all sorts of positions, including flat sleeper (I believe – I tend not to sleep flying west), by a multi-button wee panel. There is a wavy-line button that I couldn’t quite figure out – it does back massage…
Electronically, each seat comes with a Sennheisser Noise Guard headset, hardwired into the panel (makes sense from a cost saving point of view, I’d say) as well as a headset mini-jack plug for your own ear muffs, a US/Europe two-prong 110V/60Hz power outlet and a USB powered outlet that can charge iPhones but not iPads. The entertainment system screen swings out from a recess in the cocoon wall – and, typically me, that is as much as I can tell you about it as I didn’t watch any of it.
The menus were handed out and an Air Canada cabin crew lady came around to take choices. The starter was an assortment of fish – salmon, halibut and a prawn, with a nice tomato salad of sorts. Main course: chicken with jasmin rice, a nice sauce and some greenery, then cheeses and finally I opted for fresh fruit. Two small glasses of wine – a very nice Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and an Argentinian Malbec.
Next: read a bit, slept a bit – something I normally don’t when flying West, but I had a lingering headache from yesterday and this seemed the best way to tackle it head on (pun intended). So, as a side effect of that, I can confirm that the seat converts to a flat and horizontal sleeper.
Being upgraded like that, I certainly have no complaints this time around – even if the guys at the yoke picked a bumpy route at times 😉 This was an altogether nice experience – nice seat, efficient and friendly crew, surely one that I score a win for Air Canada. And as I said previously, that makes it 1-1.
(written largely en route; posted from the AC business lounge in YYZ)