Note: it is strongly recommended to double-check some of the finer details with the airline as some rules may have changed.
Last updated: October 31, 2017
Air Canada: 24 hour check in available with limited seat selection, front of the plane is mostly premium sitting, your Aeroplan status is helpful here. Complimentary meals are available on some international flights otherwise the food is available for purchase from Air Canada Café – dry, simple, overpriced sandwiches. Some planes have in-flight entertainment, usually you can find out by looking up your plane type. Cost of checked baggage varies based on destination, within Canada it’s $28.25. The flights do get frequently delayed.
Air France: 24 hour check in available with seat and meal selection (meals included on long flights). For checked baggage first one is complimentary, on-board single piece of hang baggage and personal item as usual. The meals on board are quite nice, vegan options are available and are pretty decent as well. Great selection of in-flight entertainment and they don’t charge for headphones if you happen to forget yours. Overall a pleasant expereince (thought things change quickly).
Air Transat: 24 hour check in available, seat selection costs extra. There are featured movies shown in flight but they are not personalized (there are retractable TVs every few rows). First checked bag included. Overall a pleasant experience. Overall, not the most pleasant flight.
American Airlines: 24 hour check in available with some options for seat selection, premium sitting at extra cost. In-flight entertainment selection is really good, a wide range of new films available. Checked baggage is $25+ depending on destination. Basic free beverage and in-flight cafe ($) on all flights.
KLM: 24 hour check in available with seat and meal selection. First checked baggage complimentary. Great selection of in-flight entertainment. This is so far my favourite airline – seats are comfortable, beverages are complimentary and meals are fantastic. We flew Amsterdam – Toronto non-stop and had full dinner, ice cream for dessert and fantastic breakfast, all nicely packaged in “tasty blue”.
TAP Air: Online check-in is offered 36 hours prior to departure, though the website is a bit painful to work with. Seat selection is not the best, anything that does not cost extra is far back, worth upgrading to a seat closer to the exit (~$50). Depending on where you purchased your tickets you might get first checked luggage free, but read the fine print: two of our tickets were purchased through FligthNetwork and luggage was included while the 3rd ticket, bought on Expedia, cost extra.
The planes are very old and uncomfortable. The in-seat TVs are old and grainy channels with double-jack headphones, so your fancy ones won’t work, but they do provide a pair. There is also no outlets (including USB) so charge your devices ahead of time. Return from Lisbon airport to Toronto was a nightmare: multiple security checks, everyone was called at once so boarding was chaos, furthest gate that included a shuttle bus so everyone had to carry their bags up the stairs to board.
On the more positive side, they do provide a blanket and a pillow. Meals are quite decent: dinner, complimentary wine and beer, and breakfast are served.
Porter Airlines: 24 hour check in available with seat selection. Complimentary coffee bar in the lounge and member lounges with free WiFi in airports Porter flies to. They also offer complimentary in-flight snacks and alcoholic beverages. Personalized in-flight entertainment. Checked baggage $ 27.50 +. Overall usually a pleasant experience. The underground path in Toronto is great.
Sata International: 24 hour check in available with seat selection. For longer flights on-board meals are quite good. Has a pretty complicated system for checked baggage, we ended up traveling with only carry on because the fee to check bags on our heavily discounted tickets was really high. Despite that the overall experience with the airline was pretty great.
United Airlines: this was by far the worst flight experience I ever had! 24 hour check in available, some seats are complimentary but they hardly ever show, in our case we tried to check in 24 hours before the flight and the only seats available were at the very back, we ended up paying for upgraded seats which were right behind first class (separated by a small curtain). Food is all for purchase. The seats are insanely uncomfortable on older planes. On return flight spent nearly 2 hours in line to just check in bags. We had a connecting flight with Air Canada so United made us pick up bags and wouldn’t give us boarding passes saying they had nothing to do with that flight so we had to go through security again, get our boarding passes with AC past that point and check in baggage all over again. First checked bag $25+.
WestJet: 24 hour check in available with seat selection. Hard to tell if there is in flight entertainment on your flight – some planes have it, some don’t, I once ended up on a YYZ-YVR flight with nothing to watch for over 5 hours. First checked bag $25.