Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Return to Bone-Chilling Cold

Flew back to Montreal yesterday on Air Canada (www.aircanada.com) after spending some time in Florida. The flights were fine, with decent leg room even in economy. I was allowed to take my largish carry-on aboard, something I could not do on my flights down on U.S. Air (www.usairways.com.)
I presume the reason must be that the Airbuses used by Air Canada are more spacious that the equipment used by U.S. Air and other American-based carriers, particularly for the flights to and from Montreal. Whereas Montreal to Toronto is a major route for Air Canada, Montreal to Newark, Washington, etc. gets relatively little traffic and hence smaller planes.
Flying in January when winter storms are likely, I think it's smarter to fly through Toronto where they are used to dealing with heavy dumps of snow than through someplace like Washington or Atlanta where any snowfall can cause paralysis.
In this case I lucked out, with no snowstorms in either Montreal or Toronto but extreme cold in both cities. The only difficulty with this routing is changing planes in Toronto. I stayed in the same terminal, Terminal 1, but still had to go through security again. And my booking barely gave me time to make it through immigration when it was not crowded, through security and to my next gate on time. And I was travelling without checked baggage. I doubt I would have made it with baggage. There was no time to stop for food, so I got home a little hungry.
Travelling without checking a bag has pluses and minuses. It is certainly nice not to have to pay extra and wait around for a bag, but a heavy carry-on can be inconvenient too. I wasn't able to lift my bag (which weighed about 30 lbs.) into the overhead compartment on the first flight (luckily, a taller person helped me,) and on the second flight I had to put the bag under an adjacent seat because it didn't fit under the seat in front of me.
All in all, though, I must applaud Air Canada for providing decent baggage room and good, professional cabin service.
Here in Montreal today it is -27 C., or about -17 Fahrenheit. Luckily, there is little or no wind. Anyhow, it's good to be home.

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