Subject: RE: overnight flight expectations

When I fly home to Sydney (Austraila), I usually take Canadian Airlines (to Honolulu) and then QANTAS (to Sydney) or (this year) I took Air Canada to L.A. and then Air New Zealand to Sydney.

In previous years QANTAS used to hand out a little package with slippers, sleeping mask, comb, toothbrush &toothpaste. Last year they didn't hand out anything although on the flight from Perth to Sydney I noticed that some seat pockets had them. That flight originated in South Africa so they do still hand them out on some flights. However, the service on QANTAS is excellent. I try not to drink much on planes (I usually sleep) but wine is free with meals.

This year when I flew to Aust., I flew Air Canada to L.A. and then had the overnight flight from L.A. to Sydney with Air New Zealand (15 hours). Nothing was handed out, in fact, I had to ask for a sleeping mask! Service wasn't bad on the flight, not as good as QANTAS (which is hard to beat) but certainly not bad. The only thing we complained about was that when we were leaving Sydney we had to go outside (in the drizzle) and then climb up the stairs to get onto the 747. We were a bit damp and not amused. For some reason the plane didn't taxi up to the usual walkway.

Many years ago when I flew VARIG from Miami to Manaus (in the Amazon) they handed out little freebies on that flight and the booze was free. The service was excellent.

On overnight flights to Europe the only time I've ever received anything in the way of toilettries was when I was upgraded to Business Class. What a difference! This was with Air Canada. Wine with meals is free. KLM/British Airways - nothing was handed out. I didn't mind KLM (to Schipol airport) and wouldn't hesitate to fly with them again.

As far as service goes, VARIG was excellent as is QANTAS. Air Canada has improved a lot over the years and it's now a pleasure to fly with them. As far as British Airways goes, well .... I've flown with them twice to Heathrow and quite frankly I think their service stinks.

In all the above cases, I've never had to pay to see a movie. On charters (to Vegas, etc), yes, you pay, that is why a lot of people bring their own ear sets.

Although I've only flown Lufthansa within Europe (during the day), there service has always been great and even on a short flight they were handing out sandwiches and tea/coffee. On short flights in North America you never get that - it's usually peanuts or pretzels and tea/coffee.

Re meals - no complaints. They are usually pretty good though I stay away from eggs for breakfast, they tend to taste like cardboard.

Next year when I fly home I have enough points to go business class all the way. Yippee - what a delight that will be and I fully intend to savour every minute of it!

Marty in Toronto