Maureen Marriner flies Air Canada from Montreal to Vancouver.

The plane:

Airbus A321-200.

Class: Economy. Although, if we're to call it as it really was, I'd describe it as "Goat Class".


Flight time: 5 hours.

My seat: 26F. Right-hand window of a 3x3.

Fellow passengers: Difficult to tell but mostly Canadians, many of whom had large bags.

It was an afternoon flight but many passengers quickly fell asleep. The man beside me did not hog the armrest with his arm, or even his elbow, he took it over with his stomach.

Before we took off he asked the man to his left whether he slept on flights because he may be disturbed as the first man needed to use the bathroom a lot on flights. Then, before the flight had left the runway, my neighbour fell asleep and snored, loudly. He did not wake when his tray table fell open on to his stomach.

How full: Packed. Boarding was slow, as in sometimes full-stop. X number of passengers, x seats, x bags — how hard can it be?

Entertainment: An excellent En Route magazine and there were movies. There were, however, no headphones. Got headphones when the flight attendant took pity on me and said I could have them (usually $3) for free. Movies were preceded by ads. Any movie, any genre, I just wanted to lock out the snoring.

The Service: Multi-lingual.


Food and drink: An announcement said there would be food and beverage service and passengers could pay by credit card. Passengers should consult the menu in the seat pocket. There was no menu.

The toilets: Luckily, I did not have to find out as it would have meant levering out my neighbour.

Luggage: Checked luggage was fine. While waiting in the departure lounge an announcement warned that they may not be able to fit in all the cabin baggage and passengers were asked to voluntarily have their carry-on checked to their final destination at no charge. Great for me because I was seated on my own and would have had to manhandle a bag that fitted the maximum allowable size and weight to the limit.

Airport experience: I was seated alone because my husband was seated behind and on the other side of the plane. When we had checked in they said we could have rung the airline earlier and requested and paid extra for seats together but the plane was full. We could ask in the departure lounge. We did. So did at least another six couples. Some got lucky; we did not. We had arrived early, however, and enjoyed a couple of merlots and two buckets of iced water while we watched mute screens of gridiron football and World Series poker.

The bottomline: It was a bus service.