Flying on the Airbus A310

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.

AirTransat 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:  38000 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)


Copyright © 2011 Ben Wang.  All Rights Reserved.


  1. This plane seems to be in great shape -- so much nicer than the AA RJ series I used to fly between San Jose and San Diego or LA. Why retire planes in such good shape? Are they really past their number of hours on the airframe?

    The best part of the story here is the $9 ticket that actually cost $200 :)



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