D and I decided that Air Transat wouldn't be our first choice next time we are flight searching. The service was great. It has nothing to do with that. Even the food was decent.
We thought a direct flight to Venice would be great but the plane seats in our case was so hard, our behinds went numb which made it hard to sleep comfortably on the way there.
On the way home, we ended up on a plane without seat back displays so the in flight entertainment was horrible. So we felt trapped for the 9 hrs plus. Thank goodness for iPods and travel journals.
We like our travel miles and with Air Transat, you don't get anything outside of what your credit card gives. Had we gone our usual route and flew KLM/Air France/Delta, I would be a smidgen away from a free North American flight.
Overall our charter experience was better than I imagined or have been told about. Price wise it wasn't that much less than a "regular" airline. The real potential benefit was the direct flight scheduling. I think with the right planes, it would have been much better.
We also notice that there were a very high proportion of first time travellers in our group who were on tour packages. Perhaps charter airlines and their respective agencies make their money this way.
Because of this, there was higher than normal travel giddiness, confusion and a corresponding lack of travel etiquette relating to allowing people in rows ahead to exit before you, knowing what to do at xray screenings...(mind you, I walked through forgetting to take the sunglasses off my head and even the security check gal didn't notice during the pat down).
The amount of luggage people brought were staggering. As online check is only available at certain hubs (not Venice), we had to line up to check in 3 hrs prior and the line was crazy. I haven't had to do that in ages and haven't missed it one bit.
So between the plane and check in experiences, the charter route is low on the list of flight options. I actually don't mind connections because you can stretch your legs, get a meal/drink, do some shopping. It just adds a few hours to the travel day so we have to pick flights earlier in order to arrive at the time we want.