BMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 57 Posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
For my latest trip, I decided to fly the new A319 service from LHR to YYT that Air Canada started in April. I have friends who live in YYT, so this flight was an ideal choice for my visit. How was it? Read on....
Date: Friday 18 May 2007
Departure Apt: LHR
Arrival Apt: YYT
Aircraft: Airbus A319 (C-GITP)
Flight No: AC831
Sched Departure Time (Local): 22:40
Actual: 22:25 (22:45 Takeoff)
Sched Arrival Time (Local): 00:45
My first flight on Air Canada since April 2006, was taken last week. I was invited over to St. john's, Newfoundland to see some friends that I have known since my High School and College days. I have known one of them for 11 years now, and the other for 5 years. This was to be my 4th trip to Newfoundland since 2001 and I was looking forward to it very much.
My Trip to LHR was by train from my home town, to London, then the Heathrow Express to the airport. Arriving into LHR at 17:30, I made my way to the hell hole that is currently the under construction "T3". What a mess it is outside, but the artists impression of the finished product looks very good, so I guess its worth the hassle for now.
A quick check in at the Air Canada counters soon followed, where producing my "Star Alliance Gold" card gave me access to the empty "Executive Class" desk. I was assinged my "booked" seat - 14A in Economy Class.
Following this, I trekked upstairs to security, to find the entrance to the screening area empty! I joined a very short line at the security checkpoint, and walked thru it with no alarms ringing, and nothing in my carry on gave cause for concern either.
The next bit was new to me, I passed to a new "secondary" screening area, where you have to remove shoes for X-Ray. I put them thru the scanner with no problems, then proceeded to passport control to have my documents examined.
Terminal 3 Departures....
It was time to make my way to "The London lounge" (shared by AC and SK) where I could relax until my flight. I showed my FF Card at the entrance, and I was "swiped" in to the lounge by the helpful attendant. I was directed upstairs because it was "less busy" and indeed it was, quiet that is!
The "London Lounge"
I helped myself to food and drink, and sat by the windows watching aircraft go by, while also using the lounge PC's from time to time, to chat on MSN.
My aircraft (C-GITP) arrived at 20:45 - it was actually booked into LHR at 21:30 - so I was indeed impressed! The air Canada website showed that the inbound flight (AC830) had made it over the Atlantic in about 4hr 15 mins. At that moment, it felt kinda strange to watch an AC A319 taxying by at LHR
The gate was shown on the departures screen at about 21:20, s I bid farewell to the lounge staff, and walked for what seemed like an age, to gate 40 (340). I approached the gate staff, and had my passport examined, before proceeding to the "podium" at the gate. The staff there looked at my boarding pass then took it off me for a few mins, typed something on the computer then printed me a new boarding pass.
When the new document was handed to me, I nearly had a heart attack, as I had been upgraded to J class (Executive class) . From what I gathered after boarding was completed, the flight seemed to be full in Economy, so maybe it was overbooked? Who knows, I didn't bother asking, but I thanked the kind sir at the gate anyways My new seat was now 3F.
Boarding commenced on time, well slightly early actually, and was completed by 22:15. Pushback commenced at 22:25 and a taxi to runway 27R followed. On our way to the runway, I could see pilots from various aircraft looking at us, some pointing at our aircraft. I wonder what was going thru their minds??
A fairly long takeoff run at 22:45 saw us head out towards Wales, then over Ireland and onwards to the dark, lonely Atlantic.
The service commenced about 10 mins after takeoff, which for us in J comprised of a nut dish, with choice of drinks, while we waited for the meal to be prepared. Tonight we would be served a "cold plate", consisting of chicken, vegetables, a fruit dish and cheese selection.
View From My Seat....
The A319s that do the transatlantic runs have already been fitted with Air Canada's new AVOD system, which was a pleasure to use. It givesyou the choice of many movies, videos, games, music and radio, all available to watch as and when you please
I took the time to watch "The Hunt For Red October", then listened to my favourite albums by Coldplay, Snow Patrol and Evanescence.
The Cabin after "lights out"....
The flight eventually took 5hrs and 18 minutes to reach St John's (5hrs 40mins gate to gate), and landing was preceeded by muffins and drinks, about 1 hour before descent into YYT.
We commenced our descent at 00:20 local time, and all went well until we commenced our final approach. Only a few hundred feet from the runway (I found this out when talking to an F/A during deplaning) we suddenly hit a bank of thick fog, and I felt the engines shoot to full power - this was my first ever "Go Around".
The captain came online and tolds us we "had to go around, but will be landing shortly" and indeed we circled for about 10 mins before successfully landing on runway 29 during our second attempt.
We arrived at the gate only 5 mins after scheduled, and deplaned shortly afterwards. After quickly passing thru immigration, I had my bags searched by customs, during which my carryon was hand searched, due to the 'large amount of wiring' on the X-Ray screen that the customs officer was looking at - my camera equipment, power leads for my chargers, etc
I then made my way outside where it was 2 degrees centigrade, and quicky made my way to my hotel, for a good nights sleep (well, until about 10am)
I have to say that this was a truly excellent flight, and the service provided by the crew was impeccable - no flaws at all. The A319 with the new interior looks fantastic. Air Canada, I applaud you..!!
BMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 57
Reply 1, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Date: Wednesday 23 May 2007
Departure Apt: YYT
Arrival Apt: LHR
Aircraft: Airbus A319 (C-GITP)
Flight No: AC830
Sched Departure Time (Local): 12:55
Sched Arrival Time (Local): 21:25
I arrived to YYT airport at about 10:20, slightly later than I had planned, but this didn't really bother me too much. I approached the Air Canada Check in, and again joined the "Executive Class" line, by showing my FF card. I was assigned my booked seat - 14F - and my bags were taken away on the conveyor belt.
I made my way upstairs to security, then to the Executive Class lounge, which is next to the Observation Deck (which IS open and you can use it - and take pictures too!). I spotted an Embraer on the ramp, so snapped a pic.
My gate (2) was currently empty, as the aircraft was coming in from either Halifax, Montrel or Toronto, I can't remembr which, and wasn't scheduled to arrive until 11:35.
Gate 2 at YYT....
While sat in the lounge, I heard a loud propeller aircraft taxying around the airport, and turned around in my seat to see a USCG C130
My aircraft arrived, slightly late, at 11:45,and parked at the gate as booked. To my amazement, it was the plane I had flown in on, a few days earlier
I went downstairs at 12:15 and boarding commenced shortly afterwards at 12:25. I was the 2nd person on the aircraft, and as there was no one else on the bridge behind me, I joked with the cabin crew that I was the only passenger left for the flight, to which they said "Be quick, and lets close the doors and leave then", to which we all laughed
Sitting in my seat, I realised I was the only person on my row (14 D, E, F) with a pillow, and wondered why this was. After stowing my carryon, the flight attendant nearest to me asked if I would like a blanket, which I declined but said thank you anyway
Boarding was completed after only 10 minutes, and my earlier pillow question was answered - only "booked" seats had pillows, all the rest that werent being used didn't require one of course! I therefore had 3 seats to myself
Seats Next to me....
We taxied for takeoff after a Westjet aircraft passed us to park at gate 1. Takeoff from runway 11 was very quick, because it turned out we had only about 80 people on the aircraft today, a light load for this trip.
Cabin service soon followed, which was drinks to start, then a hot meal, for which I chose the Beef option (the other was Thai Chicken).
During the meal I listened to music on the AVOD, and took pictures of our progress. In fact, I only listened to music on this flight, mainly the XM radio channels.
After 3 hours, we reached land again, and I knew we would be landing in roughly 80 minutes, a fact confirmed by the FA's during the snack service which was offered at this point, comprising of a bag of peppercorn chips and a drink.
Somewhere over Scotland
The flight landed at LHR on time, on runway 27R, well slightly early in fact, at about 21:10 (booked 21:30). We arrived at the gate a few minutes later, parking next to an AC B767-300, bound for YYZ. The boeing looked huge compared to our aircraft
Deplaning was quick due to the light load, and I made my way to immigration. As per usual, I waited nearly 30 minutes to see a member of staff for my passport to be checked - T3 is very bad when it comes to this.
The crew excelled again, and were always willing to share a joke with the passengers, mostly down to the purser and his great sense of humour.
Well done Air Canada for making this trip a truly enjoyable one. This has to be the best pair of flights on a north American carrier I have ever taken - thank you!
Hope you liked the report, and as usual comments are welcome......
Musapapaya From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1118 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Great report, thanks for sharing! It is great you enjoyed AC's service, especially on A 319 transalantic, really something special! No wonder why pilots at LHR are looking at your aircraft, might be they are wondering what it is!
Thepilot From Canada, joined Jan 2010, 5 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Great report, Lee, thank you for sharing! I really want to go to Newfoundland, and would also like to fly the A319 transatlantic. Looks much nicer than my CO 757-200 from OSL-EWR. 9 hours! Ace job, I love reading trip reports like this.
Ayubogg From UK - Scotland, joined Mar 2007, 218 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
I absolutely ejoyed your TR thoroughly. I always wondered about small aircraft flying trans-atlantic flights and when I read the title to your report I could not resist. Now I want to fly AC really bad. I think it's admirable that they equipped their A319's with PTV's WITH AVOD. It seems like a fun flight and it's mindboggling that you can go from Canada to Europe now in little over four and a half hours. Seems fictional but I guess not.
Jfidler From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 384 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Great report. You mentioned you have a Star Alliance Gold card and you were upgraded to J on the outbound flight. Is your *G card with AC, or some other *A member? I'm wondering if they give upgrade preference to AC members (at both gold and silver levels) and then look for *G members on other *A member airline programmes.
I've been in the London Lounge a few times when flying SK. Great lounge.
LAXspotter From India, joined Jan 2007, 3650 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Quoting Cgagn (Reply 9): A319s are used on domestic flights within Canada that are longer
YYT-LHR is about 2,010 NM. There are flights btwn SFO and LAX to PHL with A321 aircraft which are longer routes than YYT-LHR, altho i wonder this A319 obviously has ETOPS correct? Does the 737-700 or 738 have ETOPS ratings?
Quite interesting to hear about this report
"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel" Samuel Johnson
TurkishWings From Turkey, joined May 2006, 1456 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Great reports.. Thanks for sharing.. It is very wise of AC to use A319 on this flight. It's incredibly short for a transatlantic flight and it makes a lot of sense... What makes more sense is the departure time at LHR. I think it's timed perfectly because this way you do not have to worry about sleeping on the plane which most probably would not be as easy as it would be on a widebody aircraft...
TK has some B737-800 longer than 5 hours (IST-KHI, IST-TAS, IST-FRU, IST-ALA etc) so this flight is actually short