I seem to spend my life travelling between the UK and Calgary, and as a result I think I’ve been on most of the airlines; British airways, Lufthansa, Air Canada, AirTransat…Finnair…
Of all of these there is only one clear winner for me. In terms of airline quality and value for money, Airtransat is head and shoulders above the competition.
Airtransat flies exclusively between the UK and Canada, and offers flights at seriously low rates. On the majority of airlines, I generally find myself paying between around £600 ($1060) and £800 ($1400) per return flight between London Gatwick and Calgary airport, although it seems to be cheaper if the outbound flight is from Canada. This week I flew to Calgary for £1 each way…(plus about £360 tax).. about $660 CAD total (for return flights) with Airtransat. Unfortunately Airtransat only flies between London Gatwick and Calgary once a week, so you may be limited by your dates, but if you can be flexible with your travel plans, you can definitely make a big saving by flying with them.
I’m generally a big fan of using flight comparison sites such as skyscanner.com or kayak.com to find cheap flights, but if you’re looking to fly between the UK and Canada and can be flexible, I would seriously recommend starting with canadianaffair.com (if you’re flying from the UK to Canada) or Canadianaffair.ca (if you’re flying from Canada). This site deals with Airtransat flights exclusively and can seriously save you big bucks if you book ahead!
Most of the Airtransat planes appear to be brand new and have excellent quality meals and the service is always with a smile. The film selection on the planes is also excellent and up to date and I was able to watch my selection on a pretty large screen with USB ports to charge my phone. AirTransat’s recent award for world’s best leisure airline certainly appears to be very well deserved.
About 3 weeks ago I flew with Air Canada, and the plane was pretty dated in comparison. There was a limited film selection and the meals were fairly unimpressive. Considering I paid approximately half the price for Airtransat, there was really no comparison at all.
If you use Canadianaffair then you certainly won’t be disappointed, and you’ll have plenty of cash left over for fish and chips and cream teas when you get to England.
Caveats; I’ve found that when booking Airtransat through Canadianaffair.com (leaving from Calgary), online checkin has never worked, and as a result I’ve always had to arrive a little earlier to check in.
I also recommend doing thorough research with both Canadianaffair as well as the travel comparison sites before making a decision, as prices do change drastically depending on the time of year!