I’ve talked quite a bit about Toronto Pearson International of late, and while there’s been plenty in the press about the delays in the airport, not every airline nor terminal is necessarily facing the same issues. Also, across the board, my own experiences have been more positive of late. For instance, take last month’s flight to the U.S.A. from Terminal 3 with Canadian airline Westjet.
Flight Number: WS3650
Airline: Westjet Encore
Route: Toronto (YYZ) to Nashville (BNA)
Aircraft Type: Bombadier Q400
Seat: 10B aisle 2-2
Flight Time: Just over 2 hours in the air
On Time? Half an hour late departure and arrival
Departing from Toronto Pearson
While every day is different, arriving a little more than two hours before my 9.45am flight in Terminal 3 gave me more than an hour to enjoy a breakfast wrap at Urban Crave, post U.S. customs (which you pass in Canada rather than on arrival in the USA) and security. I was through security and customs in about 45 minutes.
Certainly a preferable experience to Air Canada’s Terminal 1 – though if I’d had to drop a bag or check in in person, the extra time may have been very necessary – so still give yourself the time. You just may actually have time to breathe, unlike when flying to the USA out of T1, which always seems to end in a run to the gate. It’s also worth mentioning that flights a little earlier in the morning than my own can be subject to longer delays, especially through customs.
Westjet board by zones, though when they cram three flights into one reasonably small area – as they do at A6 with these smaller Bombadier Q400 jets – it can be a bit shambolic. Especially when there are delays (as there was here). But they always figure it out (and you will too).
Your Seat & Comfort on Board
In spite of being an older type of plane (propellers and all), the interior felt very fresh. I’m told these are the “next generation” Q400s. The seats were rigid and economical with no head cushion, but comfortable enough, with recline, and the lights and air worked well. It was a very comfortable ride.
The back of the seat in front of you is hard, with a small slot at the top for a laminated safety card and a single onboard menu showing the limited food items for sale, as well as details on purchasing alcoholic beverages. There’s a small basket at the bottom of the seat in front of you for your own goods, and a decent amount of room under the seat for your bag.
You won’t find any power at your seat, though in flight entertainment is available through the Westjet app. So make sure you download that before you take off.
In Flight Service
Coca-Cola beverages and tea/coffee are served complimentary, while alcoholic drinks or some of their limited food items come with a fee. Soft drinks are served with ice in a small plastic cup, with complimentary cookies of pretzels, and service was made about 20 minutes after take off.
Staff were helpful and pleasant – and did well to make sure our shoulders weren’t bashed by the passing cart.
For a smaller propeller plane on a 2 hour service, this is about as much as you can ask for in terms of comfort and experience. It was a smooth ride, there were limited dramas at Toronto Pearson and while we took off half an hour late, that’s about on par with any service out of Pearson these days – or most airports, really. Delays are all too common place at the moment and you should definitely be factoring that into any flight schedules you might be booking.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
For more details on flying with Westjet, and to book your next flight with the Canadian airline, head to Westjet.ca.
The author flew at his own expense.