Thursday, January 19, 2012

Some Good News about Airlines

At last I received a cheque from Continental Airlines ( reimbursing me for the cost I incurred last July for a hotel room when my connecting flight out of Cleveland was cancelled for mechanical reasons. It took more than four months, partly because it was hard to discover from the airline's Website what the proper procedure was to request a refund. Continental is in the process of merging with United Airlines, so this may also have had something to do with the delay. In any case, it is good to be aware that refunds in cases like these can take a long time.
My friend Margaret (yes, same first name) recently flew for the first time on Toronto-based Porter Airlines ( and reported a good experience. Her route took her from Montreal to Toronto's Island Airport, where she said facilities were good with free coffee and wi-fi, and on to Chicago's Midway Airport. Porter flies the Bombardier Q400 series turboprops, a short takeoff and landing plane. This is not the same STOL plane I remember that used to fly between Ottawa and Montreal, but a new quieter version. According to Margaret, the centre aisle is very narrow (fortunately she is slim and in very good shape) and there is limited on=board space for carry-on luggage. On the positive side, there was a free snack and free wine, beer, coffee and soft drinks.
Porter is growing quickly, and now offers service not just within Canada but to many U.S .destinations. In April of this year they will begin service to Washington DC. I'm not sure what Margaret paid for her trip, but the price must have been very competitive because she is one of those people who often crosses the U.S. border in search of cheap flights.
Earlier this week I had my second experience with West Jet ( on flights from Tampa to Montreal via Toronto. It was a very stormy day across the Ohio Valley and central Canada, but we made it with just about an hour's delay at Toronto. Service was good and even included free beer or wine on the second leg of the journey, but I wish some West Jet flight attendants would not confuse themselves with stand-up comedians. It's all right to be friendly and casual, but some of them take it too far and seem somewhat unprofessional.

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