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Air Canada Rouge, trip review.

Discussion in 'Trip Experiences' started by David, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. David

    David Hangar Bronze Member II

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    Well having not done my research properly I found myself "rouged" after booking air Canada flights from Manchester to Las Vegas via Toronto.
    This is a true account of my day.

    As this route is seasonal the first 2016 flight was due to leave Manchester on 3rd June, my flight was the second which was to leave on Sunday the 5th at 12.45 BST, the flight was scheduled to take 7hrs 55mins to Toronto with a 5hr layover in Toronto then 4hrs to Vegas arriving at 22.50 local.

    On waking at 7am I checked on flightradar24 to see the inbound flights progress over the pond and was greated with the dreaded red dot and the word cancelled flashing!

    After checking the online arrivals board for MAN I found the flight was in fact delayed by 3hrs and not cancelled. With this info we decided to stay home for another couple of hours rather than sit at the airport.

    Check in was nearly a disaster. I had pre booked our seats months earlier (1A & 1C) in premium economy so we were directed to use the business class check-in desk and told we where seated on opposite sides of the aircraft but not to worry as this can be sorted and after a few minutes we were handed our boarding passes for both legs of our flight. With the mix up with our seats for the first leg I checked the boarding passes for the second leg to Vegas only to find we had 3 boarding passes for the flight to Toronto and only one for the flight to Vegas, I didn't think my wife would be too impressed being stuck in Toronto whilst I spent 12 days in Vegas so I had to go back to the desk and sort this out.
    We made our way to the gate and watched our plane arrive.
    image.jpeg

    Even though this 767-300ER is nearly 2 decades old it is a beautiful bird.
    The cabin is configured with 2 classes, premium economy and coach, with 24 premium seats in a 2-2-2 configuration and 256 coach in 2-3-2 layout.
    The premium seats were very good having a central cocktail tray and plenty of recline.
    Prior to take off we were offered a Canadian news paper with water and juice. The cabin crew were young but very nice and friendly.
    Once airborne we were given a complimentary iPad, as there are no seat back screens, to connect to "Player" the on board entertainment system. These are available to rent for coach pax at $10 CAD.
    The cabin crew then came round to take our meal order as we had been given the menu when we first boarded.
    image.jpeg
    When the food came it was really good, piping hot, fresh and served on china.

    image.jpeg
    After speaking to the flight attendant I learned the reason for the delay. The out bound flight from Toronto developed a fault an hour into its flight to Man and although not serious enough to declare an emergency it was deemed better to return to Toronto than start the crossing over the pond. A replacement aircraft was flown in from Miami, hence the three hour delay.
    From our point of view the delay meant we only had 2 hours at Toronto instead of 5 which was good but most of the other pax had already missed there connections again though the flight attendants spoke to everyone and advised them which flights they had been rebooked on.
    On landing we we were directed to US border control which was really quiet (Sunday evening) which meant we would be treated as domestic pax on arrival at Vegas.
    The next stop for us was the air Canada maple leaf lounge which I have to say was not up to much, it seemed to be a bit tired and in need of some tlc, but we didn't have too long till we had to find our gate so it was not really an issue.
    On reaching the gate we were informed of a last minute aircraft change from the planned 767-300ER to a Airbus A321-211(WL) C-FJQH which turned out to be nearly new (first flight Dec 15).
    (Photo from my seat into cockpit prior to takeoff)
    image.jpeg
    After reading Rouge only used second or third hand aircraft this was a beautiful new gleaming Airbus.
    This flight was smooth and uneventful with the same food and great service as before.
    In conclusion I enjoyed my air Canada rouge experience especially;
    Priority check in
    2 checked bags per pax (32kgs each)
    Priority boarding
    Excellent food and drinks
    Great cabin crew
    Lounge access
    Comfort pack (on return red eye).
    The cost for the 2 of us £2200 sterling return.
    I know there are some horror stories out there about rouge flights but I would definitely use them again.
     
  2. Lord Leighton

    Lord Leighton Hangar Gold Member I

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    Good to hear! Thanks.
     
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  3. Flytdeck

    Flytdeck Hangar Bronze Member VI

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    Just don't ask the pilots and flight attendants about their "Rouge" pay and working conditions compared to the mainline.

    DO ask the Ministry of Transport about the fatigue reports.
     
  4. Lord Leighton

    Lord Leighton Hangar Gold Member I

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    I'm sure this is true in other Airlines also. The latest Fly Dubai crash in Russia is a testament. The main point by David's trip experience based on a pax point of view is, he was pleasantly surprised!
    To your point FD, there is an old adage in the USA. If you actually saw what goes on in a lot of restaurant kitchens, you'd never eat there again.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  5. Flytdeck

    Flytdeck Hangar Bronze Member VI

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    It is good to hear a favourable travel review, no matter what airline. It shows there are a few bright points in the "rack 'em and stack 'em" method of passenger transport. Hope that some of the hard work this requires of the crews results in some benefits though is seems that the benefits are usually directed elsewhere.
     
  6. Flytdeck

    Flytdeck Hangar Bronze Member VI

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    Got a bit grumpy there and forgot to say how much I enjoyed the review and the great pictures. Thanks.
     
  7. David

    David Hangar Bronze Member II

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    Thank you
     
  8. David

    David Hangar Bronze Member II

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    I new you would get it!
     
  9. Californiadreamin'

    Californiadreamin' New Hangar Member

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    Nice report. I also was pleased with ACr, even in the back (I stand 177cm and weigh 105kg.)

    Note, in case you fly Air Canada or AC rouge again, be aware of the distinction:
    -AC: Three cabins on overseas aircraft: Business, Premium Economy, and Economy class. Narrowbody aircraft offer Business and Economy class. AC offers some extra-legroom seats sold as PREFERRED in most Economy cabins.
    -ACr: Two cabins on all aircraft: Premium rouge and rouge (economy). The rouge cabin includes some extra-legroom seats sold as rouge Plus.
    Neither AC nor ACr uses the term "coach".
    .
    FLEET DETAILS: http://www.aircanada.com/en/about/fleet/index.html
     
  10. Lord Leighton

    Lord Leighton Hangar Gold Member I

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    FD, I could ask the 'Ministry of Labour' (if there is such a thing) in Qatar about the working conditions reported by the imported 'indentured (enslaved) servants' who actually escaped without their confiscated passports, after working for the mainline citizens of Qatar if that's what you mean. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
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  11. David

    David Hangar Bronze Member II

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    Just for clarification, the 2 flights across the pond were classed as premium economy and the 2 flights to and from Vegas as business class although they were same aircraft and same seats as per the photo below. image.jpeg
     
  12. Shawn White

    Shawn White Hangar Silver Member I

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    I really like the seating layout on 767's. 2-3-2 is so much better than having a 4th or 5th seat in the middle like many 777's do. Air Canada's colors look pretty great also:)
     
  13. Art Troutman393

    Art Troutman393 Hangar Bronze Member V

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    I'd like to welcome California Dreamin' aboard Airnation! It looks like you're up to speed out of the gate! We encourage you to stay fully involved. Some of our newbe's tend to be rather spotty in that regard. I've yet to fly on any Canadian airline. But I have fond memories interacting with Air Canada engineers during my Lockheed Connie days.
     
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  14. Flytdeck

    Flytdeck Hangar Bronze Member VI

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    Had just finished a coffee chat with a couple of "Rouge Refugees". The big benefit in their minds was that they were able to be promoted earlier than if they remained with the mainline giving them the opportunity to move offshore. Interestingly, they all said their net pay more than doubled AND they had better working conditions. I get the same story from Australians on leave from Qantas in various of the ME carriers though their benefits and working regulations are much better than Rouge.

    Blue collar labour is a problem in the ME though it compares with illegal workers in the USA. They fall under the category of economic refugees and are exploited; a topic in a different forum I believe.
     
  15. Lord Leighton

    Lord Leighton Hangar Gold Member I

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    Yeah, I read about that in another forum, but the US doesn't advertise for refugees to come to work here and Qatar doesn't accept 'refugees' that don't have passports that I'm aware of. The US, Canada, and Europe does. I'm sure the 'Rouge refugees' could find better pay in China as well, but there are trade offs everywhere and a lot of people complain no matter how well they don't realize they have it. I'd much rather make less pay and have my family live in Canada, than double the pay and have my family live in China myself. Everyone has their priorities it seems. Sand boxes can be fun for a little while too, but I wouldn't want to live in one, lest the cats might try to cover me up. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016
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  16. Flytdeck

    Flytdeck Hangar Bronze Member VI

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    Lots of cats in the Middle East so your would have competition. There are ex-pat communities that feed (and neuter) the wild ones and, if possible, have them adopted. Unfortunately the transient nature of ME jobs means a lot of people just "boot" their pet before leaving. Sad.

    There is tight control in the ME countries when it comes to labour. They are recruited by firms that take a large commission then ship them into the area, very similar how many arrive in America yet here it is legitimate. Not sure the advertising thing really makes a difference as many illegal immigrants seem to find unadvertised "work". The individuals are still economic refugees, only one arrives without a passport while the other has their passport removed on arrival with little opportunity to leave until their contract is finished. Not an easy life in either location.

    The "Rouge Refugees" (back on thread... sort of) elected for the Middle East rather than China even though the pay was less. There are many benefits here that surprise those who maintain the image of a "sandbox". Not for everyone, but many are living very productive lives with their families.
     

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