Review of Air Canada Rouge flight Toronto Havana in Economy

Airline Air Canada Rouge
Flight AC1876
Class Economy
Seat --
Aircraft Airbus A319
Flight time 03:35
Take-off 29 Feb 20, 20:10
Arrival at 29 Feb 20, 23:45
RV   #116 out of 116 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 31 reviews
loukas
By SILVER 2932
Published on 1st May 2020

Hi,

Welcome to the third flight of this new series covering my late winter getaway to Cuba with stopovers in Munich, Germany and Toronto, Canada. The whole trip consisted of the following 6 flights operated by Lufthansa, Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge:

28.02.2020 - LH1613 - WAW-MUC
29.02.2020 - AC847 - MUC-YYZ
29.02.2020 - AC1876 - YYZ-HAV - you are here!
14.03.2020 - AC1877 - HAV-YYZ
14.03.2020 - LH471 - YYZ-FRA
15.03.2020 - LH1348 - FRA-WAW

but as the last flight has eventually been cancelled due to covid-19 pandemia and closing of Polish borders on the 15th of March, we've been offered a flight to Berlin instead:

15.03.2020 - LH178 - FRA-TXL


THE FLIGHT


There's not much to do in YYZ during a 5 hour stopover. It's still not enough for a resonable trip to the city and far too much to stay at the airport. After multiple visits to the shops full of maple syrup we already knew what to buy on the way back and spent most of the time reading. I managed to make some outside pictures before it got dark but there were not many good spotting places.


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Time ran slow an I was more and more sleepy considering the fact that it was +6 hours in Europe and I was already quite tired after 8 hours flight. When our boarding was announced it was already completely dark outside.


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While getting on board of this AC Rouge A319 I suddenly remembered the words of my friend that just 2 years ago went to Cuba via YYZ: "I think they send the oldest aircraft they have in their fleet to Havana on purpose, so you can already get used to what you gonna see there". Oh yes, this A319 seemed ancient, its interior had this special yellow colour that says: worn out. I checked later that this particular A319 with registration C-FYJG was delivered to Air Canada in 1997, so it was "only" 23 years old.


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To make things worse it was dirty as if nobody had cleaned it after the previous flight. This window shade was a perfect example of how it felt inside:


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Legroom was terrible for a flight supposed to last 3 hours and I really didn't know if I was more tired or angry to fly in these conditions.


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Our neighbour outside was this A330 heading to Copenhagen


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There was only one but very important factor that saved this flight from being one of the worst in my life from the very beginning: cabin crew. One girl and two young boys, so nice and friendly that they couldn't be friendlier. All the announcements made in English, French and Spanish were so funny and all the interactions with this crew made me forget that this aircraft was such a nightmare. After a long wait we finally took off with a night view of Toronto suburbs along the lake.


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The seat pocket had usual stuff in it


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The safety card should say: A319 OAD - old and dirty


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It's hard to do anything interesting on an evening flight when in your country it's almost morning and your bed is still far away. I tried to sleep but I couldn't, I tried to read but I couldn't. It was funny to be overflying USA from the very north to the very south - I have never been there and now I was 10 km above and it looked like any other land. Flying along the west coast of Flordia - we are getting close!


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After a very rough descent (for a split second I really thought something was wrong as we were going down so rapidly that it looked like an emergency) I was able to spot the lights of Havana and it made me feel better. After a while we were already there, parked next to Aeromexico 737 and Iberia A332 departing to MAD.


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After a long wait for the luggage and a rather quick passport check we entered a completely new dimension of reality named Cuba. View of the terminal 3 from the arrivals level (it's hard to believe that there are 5 terminals in HAV, but, as the official webiste of the airport says: "Havana Airport Terminal 3 shares its international status with Terminal 2 and it is, in fact, the only accomplishing international standards".) Hard to imagine how the other terminals look like!


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Our prebooked taxi that was sent to pick us up by our hotel. Yes, we are in a completely different world!


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HAVANA


After a crazy ride with a vehicle beeing in my opinion more than 50 years old, we arrived to our hotel located in the Centro district and fell asleep immidiately. It was next day in the morning when I discovered how the city that I always wanted to see really looks like.
There was a huge Cuban flag hanged in the patio of our small hotel:


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But the real Cuba was outside, on the streets of central Havana



While Centro is the most natural part of the Cuban capital, renovated Habana Vieja looks like a completely different city, especially the Capitolio district.



It's the most touristic part of Havana, with colorful cabiolets and places, like the cathedral square, with a very European look.



There are many places described in most guidebooks as iconic but they don't have much to do with real Cuba. One of them is Hemingway's Floridita when you can have his favourite daiquiri.


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We made a trip with a double decker to see the city a little bit, the Malecon, Plaza de la Revolucion with faces of Che and Camillo Cienfuegos, huge empty roads with old cars that are still in use.



By the way: have you ever seen this one? In Cuba it's called "Polaquito" as this Fiat 126p comes from my country where it was produced from the 1970-ties till the end of the 20th century. This car that always looked like a toy used to be a family car during communism in Poland and while it is very rare now in my country it is still very popular in Cuba!


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Another picturesque street of Havana


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The next day we took an organized trip to the beautiful Valley of Vinales known mostly for its tobacco plantations.


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Tobacco is not a plant for me as I've never smoked and I hate the smell of cigarettes but it was nice to see how it is grown and processed.



I tried a real Cuban cigar but I didn't change my mind: smoking is not for me!


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Even if you don't smoke, Vinales is worth visiting for its stunning landscapes.



Many thanks for reading! To be continued soon!

See more

Verdict

Air Canada Rouge

3.9/10
Cabin0.5
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi2.0
Meal/catering3.0

Toronto - YYZ

8.4/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services6.5
Cleanliness9.0

Havana - HAV

2.8/10
Efficiency3.0
Access1.5
Services4.0
Cleanliness2.5

Conclusion

AC Rouge has one of the oldest and most neglected fleets in the western world. This A319 was old and dirty as hell. But it also has amazing cabin crew that can help you survive even the worst flight. It was nice to be offered free drinks on a LCC, a small snack on a 3 hour flight would also be an asset. In my opinion offering flights operated by Rouge included in one ticket with AC is not the best solution.

Related

5 Comments

  • Comment 553235 by
    Pilpintu SILVER 707 Comments

    Hola, polaquito Lukasz!! XDDDDD

    Who would have imagined you'd meet another Pole in those distant, tropical latitudes! And such a little one! That speaks very well of Polish industry standards. That car must have been made to last!

    the oldest aircraft they have in their fleet to Havana on purpose

    Shameful! Absolutely shameful and disgusting! Looks like this fight was operated by Andes Líneas Aéreas!!

    The safety card should say: A319 OAD - old and dirty

    Well, it says "319M". The M must stand for "mugroso" (filthy)

    Our prebooked taxi

    God! I'm not much of a car lover, but that one is a beauty!! In fact, I fell in love with that pink Chevvy in another photo. I really hope all those beauties will be preserved once the restrictions are lifted (if ever!)

    the streets of central Havana

    Something tells me that this area will be very trendy some day. It reminds me of Montevideo's Ciudad Vieja, which must have looked much like this, and now is full of art galleries, restaurants and very expensive boutiques!

    the beautiful Valley of Vinales

    I'm speechless, Those are really beautiful sights! I have a present for you. Something you won't find in your keyboard: an ñ. You'll need it for Viñales, which is "a place with viñas (vineyards)". You must know that Ñ represents the same sound as gn in French, and it can make a big difference. There's a lot of difference, for example, between "feliz año nuevo" (happy new year) and "feliz ano nuevo (happy new anus). Well unless you're one of those cheeky Incas!! XD But it's weird that I can't see a single viña in that valley! Only tobacco!

    That was an amazing tourism bonus to compensate for a crappy flying experience. I would have filed a complaint in your place! But I still can't decide if I ever want to visit Cuba. Tickets are quite cheap from Chile, but the tropical weather doesn't suit me well at all. I'll have to think it over. This report, anyway, is quite convincing!!

    Thank you very much for sharing, polaquito!!! hahahahah I love that.

    • Comment 553294 by
      loukas SILVER AUTHOR 342 Comments

      Hola Nelson! Haha, you made my day with "feliz ano nuevo" :)))) It's only my laziness not to use "ñ". By the way, we have it in Polish to but we write it "ń" and pronunce it the same way the "ñ" is pronounced in Spanish. Cuba is a very nice and strange country, I don't know when, but it is going to change some day, so don't wait too long. I don't like cars too but I fell in love with all the old automobiles in Cuba - they are simply beautiful and full of old charm! Gracias por su visita!

  • Comment 553300 by
    fiftytwo GOLD 919 Comments

    Czesc lukasz

    thanks for the report and the bonus

    i also saw this maluch car in cuba , and also many many polish who are tourists and some live there

    in my case i stopped in mex , cause i was flying with AM . Their b738was much better than the a319 of AC rouge

    i might think about AC to go to central america if i switch to a star alliance FFP rather than skyteam

  • Comment 553764 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5318 Comments

    HI Loukas, thanks for sharing this next leg in your adventure!

    Oh yes, this A319 seemed ancient, its interior had this special yellow colour that says: worn out.

    Yuck, so I guess they didn't bother updating the side walls when they installed the rouge cabins a few years ago. Always a same to see the yellowed, ageing plastic. GIves an impression of dirtiness.

    The safety card should say: A319 OAD - old and dirty

    ??? Love it!

    Sounds like a really great cabin crew made up for the sad condition of the cabin! Thanks for the lovely tourist bonus of Cuba!
    Wow, $6 for a Daiquiri...that's not cheap! And here I thought Cuba was affordable.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 553859 by
      loukas SILVER AUTHOR 342 Comments

      Hi Kevin! No, Cuba is not cheap at all. La Floridita is very expensive as a 'Hemingway place' but in general it's not cheap and easy to be a tourist in Havana. Local people live with 30 USD per month and a foreigner needs to pay many times more for everything (unless you go to a local bakery or caffeteria and buy a loaf of bread for 0,25 USD or a "let's call it pizza" for 1 USD). Thanks for stopping by!

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