Airline Review: Air Canada

Air Canada is the world’s 15th largest and Canada’s largest full service airline and is a founder member of the Star Alliance


Air Canada: London Heathrow-Halifax, Nova Scotia – Economy Class


Booking was done for me so no need to use the website.


Check-in at Heathrow’s Terminal 3 was efficient, friendly and with plenty of staff so very little waiting time. Return leg check-in was at St John, New Brunswick for a flight connecting in Halifax. This too was very personal and friendly – flight only took 22 passengers.

At the airport

The wait in boarding lounge was a little too long.

On the plane

It is not often I give a second chance when a flight is bad. After all you do not get a second chance to make a first impression. However, the outward flight was so bad I did not feel I could review the airline on that flight alone. Perhaps it was an aberration?

Seats on board Air Canada
Not everything worked perfectly and service was poor

There was an absence of the usual “Welcome aboard sir”, just a cursory glance at the boarding card stub and directions to my seat. We went through all the usual pre-take off rituals which is when I noticed the seat back video screen was not working. An error message was displayed so I brought it to the attention of cabin crew who said they would reset it. Nothing happened and because they were preparing for take off I left it for a while. I mentioned it again once we were airborne and was told once again that they would reset it. Still nothing happened nor did any member of the crew return to check if it was working. Three times more I mentioned the malfunction and each time was told it would be reset even when I explained this had already, I assumed, been done. No one came back to check. There was no working video for the whole flight. These technical glitches happen but it is common courtesy to check back and at the very least apologise for the malfunction.

Inflight service for anything was slow. I have had some bad meals on airlines over the years but expected far more from Air Canada. The meal ranks as one of the worst I have ever seen. Apparently it was chicken. The main course was unidentifiable and looked like it had been covered in yellow plasticine.

The Halifax-London leg of the return flight was better, but not by much. The seat back video worked and the food was identifiable but service was so slow it was only a notch above lukewarm by the time I was served.

You only get one chance to make a first impression and Air Canada failed in that area; spectacularly on the outward flight, less so on the return leg.

Rating 4/10

I travelled with Air Canada as guest of Tourism New Brunswick. As always I maintain editorial control. Photographs courtesy Air Canada

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