Canada’s Air Transat Operates Its First Flights In 6 Months

After an uncertain flightless period lasting half a year, Canadian carrier Air Transat is finally back in the…

Canada’s Air Transat Operates Its First Flights In 6 Months

After an uncertain flightless period lasting half a year, Canadian carrier Air Transat is finally back in the skies. The return to service marks the beginning of a diverse summer program at the airline. This will see it serve a range of leisure destinations as far afield as Europe. It also plans to tap into increased domestic demand with additional internal flights.

Today will see three scheduled Air Transat flights take to the skies. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Returning to the skies

2021 has been a challenging year for Canadian carrier Air Transat. It started off well, with a proposed merger with flag carrier Air Canada receiving governmental approval in February. However, this hit an obstacle two months later, when the industry crisis forcing the airlines to cancel the merger in April. Travel restrictions have also impacted operations.

Indeed, Air Transat has also been unable to operate scheduled commercial flights for half a year. It had hoped to recommence these in June, but it is only today that the airline has returned to the skies. Its first post-suspension revenue-earning service connected Montréal with Punta Cana (Dominican Republic). Annick Guérard, its President and CEO, stated:

It is with great joy and excitement that we return to the skies after these long months of suspension. We are thrilled to finally reunite with our travellers and allow them to reconnect with their favourite destinations through our world-renowned travel experience.”

TS374 Flightpath
TS374 to Punta Cana was Air Transat’s first post-suspension scheduled service. Image:

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Today’s other services

While TS374 from Montréal to Punta Cana departed nearly half an hour late, forecasted an early arrival of 11:44 (STA 11:55) at the time of writing. The aircraft operating this service was an Airbus A321LR registered as C-GOIF. This next-generation narrowbody will also presumably be operating the return flight back to Montréal.

This service, numbered as TS375, is set to leave Punta Cana at 13:15 local time. It will touch back down in Canada at 17:45. Air Transat’s third and final flight of its first day back in the skies will be a domestic jaunt from Montréal to Vancouver. This reflects the airline’s plans to operate more internal services in response to increased domestic demand. It states that:

To meet the sustained demand from travelers wishing to uncover more of their Canada this summer, Air Transat offers an extensive program of domestic flights between Calgary, Montréal, Québec CityToronto, and Vancouver. This includes exclusive direct flights between Québec City and Vancouver, a first for the airline.”

Air Transat will target both domestic and international leisure travelers this summer. Photo: Getty Images

A busy summer ahead

All in all, Air Transat’s busy summer program will see the airline serve 24 routes 16 destinations. To support these plans, three more Airbus A321LRs will come onboard, bringing the carrier’s total fleet of these long-range narrowbodies to 10 aircraft.

In terms of destinations, Air Transat will supplement its domestic offering with extensive international coverage. The carrier will serve the neighboring US (Fort Lauderdale and Orlando), as well as various Central American holiday hotspots. Long-haul services are also returning, with Portugal (Lisbon and Porto) and the UK (London) on the cards.

What do you make of Air Transat’s return to the skies? Are you planning on flying with the Canadian carrier this summer? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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Alaska Airlines Brings Back More Meal Service

Alaska Airlines has announced that it is expanding inflight service offerings in all cabins. With hot options starting…

Alaska Airlines Brings Back More Meal Service

Alaska Airlines has announced that it is expanding inflight service offerings in all cabins. With hot options starting to come back in first class and expanded beverage options in economy, the airline is making it clear that it is not envisioning a post-pandemic world with fewer inflight offerings for customers.

Alaska Airlines is bringing back even more meal service. Photo: Getty Images

Alaska Airlines offering hot meals in first class

The Seattle-based carrier had spent much of the crisis cutting its inflight offerings in the name of public health and safety. In this endeavor, it was not alone, as airlines across the US suspended complimentary food and beverage offerings and only started to bring them back slowly through the crisis. Now, with the recovery in full swing, Alaska Airlines has started bringing back even more meal services.

Depending on the length of your flight, you will receive a different service. On mainline flights longer than 1,100 miles, Alaska Airlines offers expanded hot meal options in first class for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This includes new seasonal entrees like Guajillo Chile-Lime Salad with ancient grains, roasted broccoli and sweet potato with a roasted lemon crema, and Miso Marinated Code with sesame garlic farrow, sauteed yu choy, bell peppers, and shitake mushrooms in a sesame-miso butter sauce.

Alaska Miso Cod
Alaska Airlines’ Marinated Miso Cod entrée. Photo: Alaska Airlines

Full tray service is also back in first class. This includes Schoenewald porcelain and compostable linen and silverware. Note that this is only available on routes longer than 670 miles.

Todd Traynor-Corey, managing director of guest products at Alaska Airlines, stated the following on the resumptions:

“We’re excited to welcome our guests back on board and want them to have a great experience with us. We’ve put a lot of thought and planning into safely adding additional food and beverage service on our flights, while getting back to fresh and local menu items that our guests love.” 

Most of the routes fitting the bill for hot meal services have already seen those options return.

Alaska A320
Most routes have already seen meal service come back. Photo: Getty Images

Expanded choices and pre-ordering

Alaska Airlines is also offering more options for its economy class and extra-legroom economy class customers. All cabins will receive multiple cart services on flights longer than 1,100 miles, with a full selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Alaska Airlines also offers customers pre-ordering. Whether in the first class or economy class cabins, customers can pre-select meals from the mobile app anywhere from two weeks before a flight up to one hour prior to departure. This includes the option to pre-order a Fruit and Cheese Platter.

Fruit and cheese
Alaska Airlines is known for its fruit and cheese platter. Photo: Alaska Airlines

Shorter flights will also see more options for customers. On flights between 670 miles and 1,099 miles, Alaska Airlines focuses on offering customers a snack option. The carrier’s “picnic packs” can be pre-ordered up to one hour before departure and can also be purchased inflight with a credit card or other form of stored onboard payment.

Shedding pandemic-era food cuts

Much of 2020 was marked with incredibly scaled-back food service options. There was a time when getting water and a snack was a huge deal onboard an aircraft. Now, things are starting to change.

One of the big fears during 2020 was whether airlines would use the crisis to justify a broader scaling-back of inflight food and beverage offerings in the long run. It appeared that some airlines were actively considering it. However, since airlines started bringing back service, some of those concerns have been dashed.

Alaska Getty
Service may look different on flights operated by Alaska’s regional partners. Photo: Getty Images

Pre-pandemic, save for some of the most lucrative and exclusive routes, complimentary meal service in the domestic US was limited to premium cabins. Even on some longer routes to Alaska, Hawaii, and some transcontinental routes did not come with complimentary meals in economy. While it does not appear that airlines are planning to expand what they offered pre-crisis, it is at least a good sign that food options are coming back.

There is a competitive advantage for Alaska in this move as well. Other airlines have started bringing back hot meal service, or else are actively planning to bring it back, and Alaska does not want to lose out on customers – and thus revenue – to another airline that may offer more inflight service at the same price. In addition, Alaska is mainly a West Coast carrier. It does not have any mid-continent hubs, so connecting passengers coming from Raleigh, Atlanta, or San Antonio are flying into a hub like Seattle on a relatively long flight.

For example, a flight from Raleigh to Seattle usually takes around five hours more from takeoff to touchdown. On a route like this, offering a meal service is a requisite to be competitive.

Are you glad to see Alaska Airlines bring back more meal service? Let us know in the comments!

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