Flight Review: Air Transat Airbus A330 Economy

Today’s trip report covers Air Transat flight TS951 from Calgary (YYC) to Vancouver (YVR). This flight is the second half of a stopover, as the Airbus A330 arrived from London Gatwick. Normally only a 90-minute flight served by smaller Embraer regional jets, Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s, this is perhaps the only opportunity to fly a widebody aircraft between the two cities.

At gate B37 of Calgary International Airport. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Getting to the gate

Getting to the gate was an easy and simple process. Right in the middle of a holiday weekend, the airport was surprisingly quiet and there was zero wait at airport security. Getting through took less than three minutes.

My travel companion and I made our way to the Chinook lounge (that will be reviewed later!) and waited for the flight. Shortly after settling in to the lounge we could see on the flight information screens that there was a delay with our flight. This meant an extra 80 minutes waiting for our flight.

Advance boarding is available for Club Class, Option Plus and Eco Flex tickets. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
The flight began in London, made this stop in Calgary and continued on to Vancouver. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

The plane met us at Gate B37. An Airbus A330, the aircraft had just come from London Gatwick. I believe all passengers must disembark and go through customs. Some passengers disembark in Calgary and those continuing on to Vancouver must go through customs and immigration before getting back on the plane (someone correct me if I’m wrong!).

What this means is that, for travelers like us, we have the opportunity to catch some empty seats on the Calgary to Vancouver part of the journey and enjoy the comfort of a widebody  aircraft on a very short-haul flight.

No complaints about the livery. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
Another shot of the A330. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

As mentioned above, the plane had a late arrival, due to a late departure from London. Looking at the aircraft’s history, it seems to have an unfortunate history of delays…

In addition to flying passengers from London to both Calgary and Vancouver, this seems like a re-positioning opportunity as the plane later flew a Vancouver to Paris flight. Also notice the continuous issue of delays.

Recent history for C-GUBF. Photo: FlightRadar24.com
Airbus A330 – Registration C-GUBF. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Boarding the aircraft

Boarding was straightforward and is done by groups/zones. We were Group 5 but it was called quite shortly after the boarding process started.

Stepping on to the A330. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

As you can see, economy class is a 3-3-3 configuration. Seats are a vinyl/leather and are quite modern and slim.

Boarding the plane. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
Comfortable seats. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Being a widebody plane, overhead baggage space was ample. However, since the flight had some transatlantic passengers on it, there were some larger suitcases to fit in as well.

A widebody aircraft for a short-haul flight usually means more overhead locker space! Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

In-flight entertainment

The in-flight entertainment system was fantastic; much better than on an old Air France A330. With Air Transat being a leisure carrier, they seem to fit somewhere between a legacy carrier and a budget airline. What that means here is a great entertainment system but you have to buy your own earphones – or bring some yourself.

The IFE was fast and responsive. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
A great entertainment selection. Headphones cost extra. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
The IFE had a flight-tracking/flight information module. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

The flight itself

The aircraft windows were quite dirty so unfortunately getting a nice shot of the Rocky Mountain range was a little more challenging. Near the back of the plane the seating narrows down to a 2-3-2 configuration which makes it ideal for couples or anyone who wants a window seat but doesn’t want to climb over two people to get to the lavatory.

Wishing the windows could be a little cleaner for photos. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Seating and legroom was fantastic and I had no problems at all stretching out and making myself comfortable, even at six feet tall.

At six feet tall, the legroom was quite sufficient! Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
The mood lighting was a nice touch. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

I don’t know if the runway approach changes with time of day or shifts with the wind, but we definitely missed out on a great view of Calgary being on the left side of the plane. People on the right side had the best views the whole way through – even seeing the city of Vancouver. We definitely missed out being on the left side.

Departing Calgary. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Food and beverage

I was caught off guard by beverage service on the flight. No snacks were handed out, but passengers could choose from juices and soft drinks as well as coffee and tea. For food there was an in-flight menu in the seatback pocket which allowed passengers to pay for food. Thinking about my Air Transat flight from Glasgow to Vancouver, I recall meals are provided for international flights.

Complimentary drinks were a part of the flight. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
Food was available for purchase using the Bistro menu located in the seat pocket. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
A sample page of the menu. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

The views

There were some great views of the rugged Canadian landscape. Again, if you’re flying from east to west I would highly recommend getting yourself a seat on the right side of the aircraft. The Rockies are much better on that side.

Fantastic views while going over the Rocky Mountains. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
The Rocky Mountains below. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Conclusion

Overall the flight itself was pleasant. Again, it’s a real treat to fly a widebody aircraft on a route that’s pretty much exclusively narrowbody aircraft. With the larger aircraft comes more leg room, more toilets, and overall more space. On this route, Westjet uses their fleet of 737s while Air Canada has a mix of Embraer regional jets and Airbus A320s.

Flight attendants were pleasant to deal with and having beverage service was nice, even if not totally necessary for such a short flight.

However, a delay of over 80 minutes kind of ruined our day/evening. Some passengers had onward flights with Harbour Air to Vancouver Island and had to miss them without compensation. If that piece could just be fixed then the flight would be a 10/10!

1 comment
  1. Yes, you are correct regarding customs and immigration. Just like most countries it is done at first POE, Calgary to Vancouver is considered a domestic flight.

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