One can't argue AC hasn't improved. But I think service levels, for the most part (and I'm basing it on an average of my personal experiences), vary depending on where the service is based. YYZ AC staff, I find, are superior to the YVR ones. On the ground, AC service at YVR is horrendous: disorganized, unhelpful, and sometimes down right rude. I've never had a good experience approaching a gate agent. YYZ is not much better in this case I find. A bit, but not by much. I guess this is why I don't see the need for airlines to have their own ground crew services. I'm sure contractors can deliver a service quality much higher than what is achieved right now. On the air, aside from the excellent in-flight product AC has (superior to North American and European carriers, AF-KL, UA, CO, US, AA, and BA included), ACs service has also improved a lot. But I find YYZ-based flight attendants, for the most part, are really nice. Ones from YVR handling PEK and HKG are a bit more rude (haven't experienced NRT or ICN yet). YUL ones, at least the ones that fly to CDG, aren't that great. Actually, I had a time where the flight attendant handling my aisle didn't speak a word of English. I understand that it's a CDG-bound flight, originating from French Canada, and I understand a basic level of French, but seriously on a national carrier and on an international route, I find it unacceptable and a bit disrespectful. Now that I think about it, I think I should sue AC in-light of the recent incidents where AC didn't provide service in French haha.
I value in-flight product over service since I don't ask for much service anyway, so I love AC until they've downgraded all their transpacific fares to Tango from Tango+. That's a 50% mileage reduction! And they've kept it at the same price! It's only a matter of time that this happens to the Europe routes (while there are Tango fares available for transatlantic flights, Tango+ it's often cheaper, though I'm sure this won't last). This alone, along with a lot of devaluations within the past year, is enough for me to fly with UA+CO and other Star Alliance carriers than AC.
Originally Posted by twoNeurons
Could you elaborate on this? I mean, if you're flying out of Vancouver, you are essentially on a US domestic flight to any US Airport, correct? Does SFO have a leg up over other airports somehow?
Excuse my ignorance on this.
If I had to transfer through SFO, and I actually choose to fly down to the states sometimes for extra mileage, I would prefer to do it at SFO. For one, they are one of the best airports in the States (at least that's from my personal experiences). But TSA doesn't operate the security there: it regulates private firms that handle the security, and the security there is much less... errr... annoying than the TSA counterparts in many American airports.