Starting June 16, Air Canada will bring back non-stop service from San Diego, CA (SAN) to Toronto-Pearson, Ontario, CA (YYZ).  Hooray!  This is exciting because it is a sign of San Diego’s expansion as more than a spoke destination from hubs for major airlines and an ad hoc Southwest hub.  Further, Air Canada offers personal in-flight TVs.  What other full-service airline offers that from San Diego?  None right now.  Here’s the run-down:

Context – Many other airlines (namely American, Continental, Delta, United, US Airways) already offer connecting service through their hubs.  Air Canada’s non-stop service will save travelers a lot of time.  It currently takes around 7 hours to get to YYZ from SAN and 7.5 to get back with connections.  Any non-stop will cut this time down.

Air Canada’s Offering – One daily non-stop on A319s, and did we mention the personal tvs?  The flight leaves SAN at 7:25 AM and arrives back in the Land of the North at 3:07 PM.  Early, but understandable.  The return trip leaves Toronto at 5:25 PM and arrives in San Diego at 7:25 PM.  These are great times.  I cannot state that enough.  Great departure time, and perfect arrival time.  Just enough time to get settled and get ready for your next day.  Travel times are also great: 4 hours 45 minutes to get to YYZ and 5 hours flat to get back to SAN.

Conclusions – Let’s look at the factors: Timing – Air Canada wins.  Yes, there is only one option, but the times are pretty darn good.  And who doesn’t want to save more than 2 hours?  Cost – Air Canada wins.  Yes, with one stop on Delta or Continental, I was able to find a $538 flight, which is cheaper than the date equivalent of Air Canada’s flight, which costs $557.  But with Air Canada, you get a free checked bag.  Can’t get that with Delta or Continental.  Add one bag each way on those airlines, and their flights are now $588.  And did you notice I said “Cost” and not “Price” for this section?  Yeah, I went there.  How much is your time worth?  How much is 4 hours of your time worth?  Let’s assume that you don’t check a bag and go for the Delta/Continental offering.  Is 4 hours of your life worth $4.75 an hour?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  It’s more.  So, in this case, Air Canada is the clear winner.

PS: Yesterday, I was really excited to hear the ATC radio for El Al flight 6, the non-stop from LAX-Tel Aviv.  It’s a REALLY long journey (14 hours to Israel, 15.5 on the way back), covering over 7,500 miles.  So long, in fact, that the return journey is the 25th longest current non-stop flight.  The longest is from Newark to Singapore taking nearly 19 hours.  Ouch.  Anyway, here are some pictures of the takeoff captured by a webcam.

(that’s it on the top)