aal151heavy From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 93 posts, RR: 5 Posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 10320 times:
The Airbus A310 is a twin-engine medium to long range wide-body aircraft built in the 1980s and 1990s as a shortened version of Airbus’ first aircraft, the A300. Throughout years of service with world’s major airlines, such as Lufthansa, Singapore, and Pan Am, I never got to fly in an A310. As time progressed, the 255 A310s built slowly transitioned to secondary airlines, cargo carriers, and various Air Forces around the world. Short of sending myself in a FedEx package, or flying on an exotic airline such as Ariana Afghan, Biman Bangladesh, or MIAT Mongolian (see full list of current A310 operators), there was one last easy way for me to log an A310. An airline in Canada called Air Transat was still operating an 11-strong fleet of A310s. With Air Transat retiring these ‘buses in 2013, I had to start looking at flying it soon.
Air Transat is the airline arm of a tour operator in Canada. They operate their aircraft in a configuration commonly known as “tour” or “charter” configuration, where seat width and pitch are narrower than the standard configuration in order to accommodate more passengers. Standard coach configuration on a wide-bodied Airbus is 8-abreast (in a 2-4-2 arrangement), but Air Transat has their ‘bus in a 9-abreast, 3-3-3 configuration. The benefit of flying on a tour airline is the seats are often inexpensive and incredible deals can be found during low demand periods.
A like-minded airline enthusiast friend came across such a deal on a flight from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale in early December. The fare was $9 plus tax! Without knowing what the future held for the A310 at Air Transat, we pulled the trigger and bought tickets. Thus begins my A310 adventure.
Although the fare was only $9, there was $167 in taxes. I also paid the $15 seat selection fee (didn't want to take chances on getting a bad seat). The grand total was CAD $191, all in.
Air Transat Airbus A310-304
Registration C-GFAT (msn 545, fin number 301)
Built in 1992 for Emirates as A6-EKG. Acquired by Air Transat in 2000.
Flight TS 538, Toronto to Ft. Lauderdale
Scheduled Departure: 7:45 am
Pushback: 7:41 am (4 minutes early)
Takeoff: 7:56 am (YYZ Runway 23)
Cruising Altitude: 38,000 feet
Landed: 10:34 am (FLL Runway 9L)
Scheduled Arrival: 10:55 am
At gate: 10:58 am (3 minutes late – held for open gate)
The pitch is actually quite generous for a charter airline, so the Lord giveth / Lord taketh away etc. The 3-3-3 is a bit tight if you're next to a fattie, otherwise it's OK. You will make contact with your neighbour at some point but it's not too awful. Aisles are narrower too.
Well the planes are clean and feel quite fresh (esp given their actual age), you get a hot meal and a snack, and they fly on routes alongside mainliners eg London to Toronto, you're up there with British Airways, Air Canada, Air-India et al. So I would say it doesn't feel too budget-y. Often it's the nature of the passengers that gives the game away, but the punters on Air Transat across the Atlantic seem like the same kind of punters you get on BA. So no, not too budget-y.
Btw if you're really worried about comfort, they often sell "Club Transat" upgrades at check-in for peanuts, their sleeper seat (2-3-2 on the A310) business class service. Ask when you get to the counter. That's real value!
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
I did it. Booked it tonight. GLA- Toronto return for just shy of £290. Can't wait. Guess the A310 really will get the boot now 787's and A350's are the in-thing.
Quoting cedarjet (Reply 6): The pitch is actually quite generous for a charter airline,
I am used to Ryanair!
Quoting cedarjet (Reply 6): you get a hot meal and a snack, and they fly on routes alongside mainliners eg London to Toronto, you're up there with British Airways, Air Canada, Air-India et al.
I suppose. I mean, that sounds really decent considering frugal offers already on the EU - N.A runs. But I have heard dreaded stories about the meal!
Quoting cedarjet (Reply 6): Btw if you're really worried about comfort, they often sell "Club Transat" upgrades at check-in for peanuts, their sleeper seat (2-3-2 on the A310) business class service. Ask when you get to the counter. That's real value!
Actually... I don't know why I am being quite such a premadonna, as I am used to sleeping rough and day long squished bus journeys in random corners of the world. I guess my question was about sacrificing comfort for price... but Air Transat are cheaper by a long run. £290 compared to £530 legacy. I will book into a lounge as a treat for that saving!
aal151heavy From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 93 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 6586 times:
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5): Do you think a 7 hour flight might be a bit too much stress!? How was the general comfort of seat, and where the FA polite to you??? I.e. how much did it feel like being on a budget airline!
Cool trip report once more, and I enjoyed the look of the A310
If you fly on a lightly loaded flight (at least the seat next to you empty), then there is plenty of room. Like someone else pointed out, Air Transat's legroom/pitch is quite generous, what is lacking is the side-to-side elbow space. If you like window, just don't pick the last row of 3s where the sidewall curves into your shoulder space. There is really no way to gauge by looking at the seatmap for your flight on the loads, because not necessarily everyone will pay the extra $$$ to pre-reserve their seat.
The flight attendants were nice and service was efficient. On my short flight, the food and drink cart came by only once, though a drink tray was set up in the rear galley for refills.
I certainly did not get the budget airline feel (much to my pleasant surprise). Being a lightly loaded flight and having the entire row to myself helped a lot too.
fly2yyz From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 1028 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 6036 times:
Its well worth the money to pay for your seat selection.
Row 4 (ABC HJK) is where economy begins so theres more leg room but you're view of the screen is a bit blocked.
Row 14 (ABC DEF HJK) is the emergency exit is. During take off and landing or any turbulence you'll have a cabin crew member in front of you at the B and J seats (middles).
Row 24 is there the aircraft begins to taper so the ABC and HJK seats become AB and JK.
All three of these rows have the table tray in the armrest thus lowering actual seat width.
Row 26 AB and JK are the seats with good width and legroom you may wanna aim for these seats for more comfort if you fancy being premadonna haha
Hmm its approximately 25 or 26 quid to prebook these seats at row 26 AB JK aft... otherwise it ranges from I think 12-15 quid. Have a great trip! And don't forget the trip report!
9w748capt From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 510 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (2 years 2 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 4629 times:
Really loved your photo album. The shot of your a/c from the viewing lot was particularly eye-catching. Must have been nice to ride on a "classic". The 3-3-3 config looks mighty cozy though - how did you find the legroom? Probably adequate for a 3ish hour flight but still! I remember flying on the 310 with OK back when they still flew EWR-PRG; it was a nice, comfortable ride. Thanks for sharing!