Spotlight on Travel – Mike Cohen

I have travelled by air twice in the past year, both times with Air Canada.

Prior to that my most recent experience was with Allegiant Airlines out of Plattsburgh. It is interesting to note that even though I have been flying since I was young, the industry seems to be changing so rapidly that if you are idle for a few months you really need to go the airline’s website for a fact finding check and ask others for their advice.

Here are some subjects to keep in mind.

Aeroplan Points:

Over the last few months I have in fact received a number of telephone calls and emails from readers. One complained that Air Canada’s Aeroplan system wiped out some 15 years of frequent flyer points. I told her that if you do not use your Aeroplan card at least once a year, even at Esso when you pump in some gas, then you will lose all of your points. I called Aeroplan to plead her case. Aeroplan insists they sent her two letters, warning that her card within a certain time period or it would expire. She maintains those letters never arrived. What did the Aeroplan agent tell me? “I would recommend that she take this up with Canada Post,” she replied. “Our policy states that once we send the letter out, we have undertaken our responsibility.” Aeroplan does have a website (www.aeroplan.com) which allows you to keep track of your account. Sign on.

Self-Check:

Print out all of your departure information and when you get to the airport find the self- check in counter and follow the easy instructions to print out your own boarding pass and luggage stickers. It saves a lot of time.

Snacks:

Pack or buy snacks. The only freebies on this flight are soft drinks, juices or water. They charge for sandwiches, depending upon availability. Do not buy any waters before you do the security check. They will be confiscated.

Baggage:

You are permitted two bags each and they must each be a certain maximum weight and specific size. If they go over you will be handed an extra charge. So if you pack to leave and figure you only need three bags between the two of you, bring an extra suitcase. It is more than likely you will have more stuff on the way back.

Earplugs:

Some Air Canada flights offer a fantastic service- television and movies on demand. There are plenty of options to choose from, including top-notch films which were very recently in the theatre. And any Dollar store type earphones will work in their outlets. Make sure to bring a pair with. Otherwise Air Canada will sell you one for $3.

Taxi or Limo:

After an influx of large flights you might find the wait for a taxi very long at Trudeau Airport. Some taxi drivers have even been known to be picky about whom they take and where. If you figure a cab ride will cost about $40, spend an extra $10 and take a limo where the wait is minimal and the comfort superb.

Mike Cohen’s email address is info@mikecohen.ca. Log on to his travel advice column at www.sandboxworld.com/travel

Photo: Brian Losito

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