Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Predicting Trouble On Air Canada Rouge

I am headed to Europe in a couple of weeks, actually 18 days to be exact, but who's counting. I love to travel, to explore and re-explore, both the known and unknown. This trip includes stops in London, Paris, Milan, Florence, Santorini and Athens. It will be an amazing adventure. I am prepared already for the potential difficulties of this trip, including things like no washroom access or cobbled streets. I am ready for the challenges of wheelchair access in these older European cities.

While I am ready for the ground portion of the trip, it is the air portion that worries me. On the ground, if one way doesn't work there are always other ways. If you can't get into a restaurant or shop, there are always other restaurants or shops nearby. On the other hand, flight choices at a reasonable cost are limited, and once you are on the plane you are a prisoner until they let you off.

Fortunately a great many planes these days have on-board wheelchairs and accessible toilets. However my life's experience is that what some describe as accessible is anything but. Add to that the challenge of space on an airplane and I doubt that there will be wheelchair access to the lavatory. I am already considering my alternatives, including having my urine jug with me at all times, or possibly looking into a catheter of some sort for when I am on a long haul flight.

Our route will take us from Calgary to Toronto and then Toronto to London. We are doing most of Europe by train except for the leg from Rome to Santorini, another airline experiment, but one that will only last 90 minutes. I can probably handle that; I already have on other flights. On the longer haul flights, Air Canada assures me there will be washroom access. To be honest, I don't really believe them. These flights are only five or six hours in length, so I think I can manage. I've even paid the extra for "premium seating" so I can have a bit of extra legroom.

It's the flight from Athens to Toronto, our homeward bound leg, that worries me. It is an 11 hour marathon aboard Air Canada Rouge, an Air Canada brand already beset with bad press and poor reviews. I've paid for "premium seating" on this flight too; I'm not expecting much. Premium seating on AC Rouge is the same as regular seating on almost any other airline. They jam the passengers in on these flights, declaring it a "vacationers airline", as if people on vacation don't want or deserve comfort. The food service is less than regular Air Canada flights and they probably charge more for a glass of wine on board.

If there is going to be a problem, I predict it will be on the Air Canada Rouge flight.


  1. I'm dealing with the same problem on our trip to Montreal a 6 hour flight and I am good for 3 hours at most. At least i still have my legs and Ray to help.

  2. Richard -

    Enjoy the trip. I've been to a couple of those places (a LONG time ago) and my feeble memory recalls them as beautiful. I know you enjoy good food, so hopefully the wheelchair access issues you are certain to encounter will only make it inconvenient, not impossible, to enjoy the great cuisine. And hopefully, the inconvenience itself will be minor.