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Friday 30 May 2014

Discomfort 777

 After a pleasant flight of two and a half hours to Toronto from Charlottetown, we had to rush to get the flight to Munich, which wasn't a problem. To begin, I don't go economy class on a long haul flight expecting to sleep very much. However, the Boeing 777-300ER in service for this flight to Munich, had the most uncomfortable seats ever constructed which also feel like cheap vinyl, though cloth covered, creating heat between you and the seat. In economy, there are nine seats across. In the middle seat my arms were uncomfortably positioned forward for the whole trip. Sardines have it easier. As someone with back problems, the discomfort could not be fixed with a pill, numbness and pain in both arms and neck. (My back has been fine recently.) The seat itself was hard and this plane has a barrier between your foot compartment and the seat ahead. That means that you can't stretch out like you could when there was a bar there. I never recall touching the feet of the person ahead of me when the bar was there. Now you are restricted. I was glad I'm only five feet five inches tall.

The head rest at the top of the seat back was bow shaped, curved outwards. It forced your head to the middle of the bow position, making shifting in the seat for a change of position difficult. This forced you to maintain the same position for the duration of the flight.

The volume on the media device I had didn't work. That wasn't much help for passing the endless eight plus hours.  The dinner meal was regular Air Canada fare but breakfast was a piece of thawed sweet bread, like carrot cake, which was damp. (A new low in dining, even for this airline.)

The economy cabin was full and the flight attendants took a long time serving and clearing dinner; understandable because of the number of people and the limited aisle space. This meant that the cabin wasn't darkened until about four hours into the flight. Breakfast service was one and a half hours later. Luckily the passenger ahead of me didn't recline his seat. If he had, I may have screamed. Sitting there, I could imagine someone losing it and becoming agitated, in some ways understandable under the circumstances. Across the aisle a small child cried. No wonder.

This ticket was expensive; many of us cannot afford to travel first class. Air Canada, you are disrespecting your passengers. Like cattle on feed lots we are shuffled into your pens, fed slop and forced to adjust to the greatest discomfort possible. Thankfully the flight was only eight hours. There wasn't enough pain medication to get me through much more. You can do better, Air Canada, and we, the traveling masses, deserve better. If I can avoid you in the future for these longer flights, I will. Is there better service out there? There was at one time, even for Air Canada. We've hit an all time low.

Writing about it is good therapy.

Post script:  the Lufthansa flight to Madrid, following the terrible Air Canada long haul flight was much more comfortable, with leg room for stretching and regular headrests. The two hour flight was much more pleasant.

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