Woohoo: Air Canada
If I were to be completely practical, I’d say that all airlines are pretty much crap. But instead of wallowing in my first-world problems, I thought I’d take a moment to snapshot the fleeting happy moments in life, to sift through the negativity and pull out those golden nuggets, to pluck the ripe from the rotten.
In this case, I’m talking about that sweet contract Air Canada has with Cineplex Odeon, which allows passengers to play ‘still in cinema’ films from touch screens on the back of the passenger’s seat in front of them. Let’s be honest: this personal in-flight entertainment has pretty much revolutionized the commercial airplane experience, and has left the Canadian corporation flipping the smug bird at most of the other travel options out there.
Personally, I view this free in-flight entertainment as a reward for all the stress a passenger encounters while going through customs and baggage checks. Sure, Air Canada just might lose track of that huge suitcase with all of your personal belongings for an indefinite period of time, but as long as your 14-hour flight has films that you don’t have to spend $25 at the cinema to see, then it’s not as much of a big deal, right?
Boohoo: United Airlines
United States airlines have a lot of catching up to do. Either that or they’re simply extorting passengers’ pocket-cash for all its worth. I took a flight to Texas last week and was surprised to find that there are no touch-screens emblazoned on the seats of United Airlines airplanes. I’m sorry to say this, but I’m now going to bitch about my first-world problems.
In place of a touch screen was a simple blue sticker that flashed a wifi symbol and asked me to pay $8 to connect to their Web service in order to access in-flight entertainment on my personal digital device. Other United flights I took during the trip had no wifi access altogether. I’m sorry, United Airlines, but Canada has set the bar pretty darn high. As your valued passenger I expect free, easily accessible in-flight entertainment, and to deprive me of this is to hang your head in shame while crushing your skull under the corporate weight of your “friendly hat,” Canada.
United Airlines, call me a pretentious ass, but if you’re also going to lose all my luggage and then smack me in the face with a boring flight, then you’ve lost all my respect. I guess I could pull out a novel, but really — who reads books these days?