@WestJet: Stepping Up the Snack Game

On one of my recent flights out of Toronto I was presented with the opportunity to pay a nominal fee ($40 CAD) to upgrade to their Premium cabin. Having flown in that cabin in the past, I had a rough idea of what to expect… or so I thought.

Wine List

Shortly after being seated, we were presented with a list of wines available on today’s flight: something completely new for such a short flight (YYZ-LGA). From what I gathered from those seated around me, all the wines offered were excellent for flying (for those not aware, the pressurized cabin does affect the way things taste). It is clear that WestJet put quite a lot of thought into selecting them.

After making selections, we were surprised with not only the traditional “MadeGood” bars (they are to WestJet as Biscoff cookies are to Delta, and Stroopwafel are to United… …well, were.) but also a fairly large snack box.

While the caramel butter popcorn wasn’t really my thing, the cashews and dark chocolate were excellent. Overall, this was quite a nice surprise as I went into the flight expecting just a granola bar and glass of wine.

If you have the chance to buy an upgrade while flying WestJet, it’s definitely worth considering!

Delta’s A220 (CS100) – Interior and Routes

The Plane

The Bombardier CSeries 100 (now known as the Airbus A220) is a truly impressive piece of engineering from both an AvGeek perspective as well as from that of passenger comfort. With roughly a 3,400 statute mile range (depending on load, model, and speed), the A220 has the ability to cover the CONUS easily, and even flights to Canada, Latin America, and northern South America.

With a pair of geared turbofan engines, a lighter body, and integrated wingtips, there are considerable projected savings from both fuel and maintenance perspectives.

The Interior

Lucky, at One Mile at a Time, managed to score some interior shots of Delta’s first A220, and the cabin looks roomy. How often do you get to say that about a narrow-body aircraft?

Per Delta’s news release, the main cabin will feature the widest seats of Delta’s fleet, measuring at 18.6 inches. Furthermore, each seat will have seat-back entertainment (while American is removing theirs) and USB charging, and GoGo’s 2Ku WiFi. Add to all this full-sized overhead bins and a lavatory you can fit in, and it should make for an amazing passenger experience.

Though Delta hasn’t updated their fleet page to include a seat-map for the A220, SeatGuru has released a preview.

The Routes

Taking a look at the routes, it’s clear that Delta is taking the fight directly to competitors by offering flights between their hubs (SLC, DTW, MSP) and IAH and DFW.

Via Great Circle Mapper

Compared to the truly depressing impression that American’s 737-MAX has left on the masses, having a markedly more comfortable ride available should turn some heads. I can’t wait to see this plane replace regional jets in the future. Delta made a brilliant decision in being the first US carrier to fly this beauty!

Domestic #DeltaOne on a Boeing 777-200

Earlier this year I used one of my 2017 Upgrade Certificates to experience Delta One when flying from LAX to ATL, more recently, I was able to secure a similar upgrade from ATL to LAX. Unlike the Boeing 767 I experienced before, I had a chance to fly one of Delta’s longer-range Boeing 777s. In fact, with a little poking around, I was able to find out that the Boeing 777-200LR that took me from Atlanta to Los Angeles (DL546) was continuing on from Los Angeles to Sydney (DL41).

Via the Great Circle Mapper

The Plane

The Boeing 777-200LR (noted as “77B” on Delta’s website) has two Delta One cabins. The main Delta One cabin consists of 7 rows arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, with the second cabin consisting of 3 rows in the same configuration.

Delta’s B777-200LR Seatmap

As with the B764 I flew earlier this year from LAX to ATL, the B772 also had individual air-vents over the seats. Though they are not easily accessible due to the height of the cabin (such a first world problem!), they have impressive air flow and do a good job of maintaining comfort for the passengers.

The Seat

The seats on this flight were among the more comfortable that I have experienced of Delta’s lie-flat offerings. Not only was the massage function present and functional, there was much more privacy than what I had on the B764.

Overall Impression

I can’t speak highly enough of the Delta One experience on the triple-7. It offers a considerably more comfortable ride than the 767. As I was flying alone, the privacy of the herringbone configuration of the cabin was greatly appreciated. If you are flying with someone, I would suggest you fly the Airbus A330, instead, as the reverse-herringbone allows you to maintain a conversation if you sit in the middle section of the cabin.

Cheap Flights and Creative Routing

I was recently contacted by Amber from CreditDonkey regarding my post a few years ago regarding the mobile app OnTheFly and the ITA Matrix which it interfaces with. Amber reminded me that with both Thanksgiving and Christmas quickly approaching, it might be helpful to remind folks about these handy tools to navigate the complex task of finding cheap flights.

CreditDonkey recently posted a very friendly refresher article on using the ITA Matrix website to find the flight you want. The article goes on to explain how to use flags to designate a carrier, allow or disallow long layovers, even the airport changes (for cities like New York where there are multiple airports in relatively close proximity).

To give you an idea of just how powerful this application is, Google went out of their way to purchase it and use it as the underlying engine for their Google Flights website. Though Google Flights is much faster, and in many cases allows for direct booking of flights, there are certain features that are only available in the original application. The good news is that you can still access the ITA Matrix to get exactly what you want out of your travel.

Amber also pointed out that while you can’t book the flight you find from the ITA Matrix website, you can leverage tools like OTAs (Priceline, Kayak, Flight Network, and so on), or use BookWithMatrix. BookWithMatrix offers not only a website, but a handy browser add-on (I have used it with both Firefox and Chrome).

BookWithMatrix Options

What’s your preferred search option to find the flights you want at the prices you want?

Paris Trip Report – Louvre & Musée d’Orsay

Paris Trip Report – Arrival and Eiffel Tower Paris Trip Report – Notre-Dame de Paris, Catacombs Paris Trip Report – Louvre & Musée d’Orsay Paris Trip Report – Versailles Paris Trip Report – Departure

The Louvre

It should come as no surprise that the line at the Louvre was quite long. Thankfully, skip-the-line tickets are readily available and allow holders to pick a time to visit the museum. This allows the museum to control the flow of visitors and it is the same price as buying a ticket at the museum itself. There is no reason to not buy a ticket in advance, and every reason to do so! Nobody likes standing in lines when they could be seeing things, instead. To those not aware, the Louvre is actually three separate buildings that have been connected. This leads to a lot of “walking down stairs to walk up stairs”. Snag a map and plan your route ahead of time to avoid getting lost or not being able to see something you really want to see. Also be sure to check what areas are closed prior to your visit – this was a mistake we made, as we were unable to see a lot of French artists because the exhibits were closed for maintenance on the day of our visit.

Musée d’Orsay

Though the Louvre had a large number of informative exhibits, Musée d’Orsay was much more my speed. A large number of impressionist and post-impressionist works, as well as other styles, are on display there – including Van Gogh! Similarly, if you are interested in seeing Monet’s Water Lilies, you should make it a point to visit Musée de l’Orangerie – near the Louvre. It is definitely on my list for my next visit to Paris. Adding to the fun: it is much less crowded than the Louvre, making it easier to take time with pieces that you might be particularly interested in seeing. There is also a lot less shoving about and ample seating. All of these combine for a much more enjoyable visitor experience. This is by no means diminishing the contents of the Louvre; it is an amazing experience for those interested in its exhibits.